You Get to Choose how You React to the Hard

Often we head north and go camping one last time before summer on Mother’s Day weekend.


This morning we couldn’t help but overhear a super awkward interaction. Across the way, a mother and her three kids were trying to pack up. I had noticed them before and even admired her for tackling a camping trip by herself. They weren’t babies, the oldest was probably 12, but still, that’s a lot. Suddenly, she was mad and everybody knew it.


I don’t know their story, but I could make some assumptions. For whatever reason, she was a single mom, camping on Mother’s Day, even though they didn’t seem to know the ends and outs. Was she resentful to not have a husband to help?  Was she bitter that the burden of responsibility was all on her on the day she was supposed to be celebrated and pampered?  Maybe? I think we all can imagine how quickly our mind would go there when reality bulldozed expectations.


I almost went down to offer to help when she shifted from frustrated to one by one, {loudly} shaming each kid. They slumped and shrunk back as she went on a rampage shifting from packing to throwing things in the car. Quietly the oldest son took the mess she made with the tent and rolled it up. It was so sad. And such a hard moment to be a part of:  because I have been her. I have yelled at my kids in frustration. I have thrown a fit. I forget to be the grown up. I have resented the circumstances of my blessings.


As I tried to figure out if offering to help would be the right thing, my phone dinged with the sweetest text. One of my best friends wrote “Happy Mother’s to an amazing mama friend!! I hope you feel extra loved today!” 


So sweet, especially from her. She is the friend I woke up specifically praying for today. Mother’s Day is so hard for people who desperately long to be mothers. As I typed out a response, the mother across the way yelled yet again and the Lord whispered this connecting  truth:  “you get to choose how you react to the hard.”  Both of these women struggled with unmet dreams and expectations today.  One chose to be an encourager. One chose to be resentful.


Holidays that are meant to celebrate can easily backfire when we look around and let comparison be the thief of joy. There are good things available to all of us. There are hard things as well.  We create some of our hard and some we are stuck with. Some we can change and some we have to walk out.


Today I want to celebrate those of you who let the Lord overflow the fruit of His spirit despite the very valid reasons you have to choose bitterness and resentment. It is beautiful and inspiring.

I see you.

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