Adapted from Ellen Stumbo's blog at ellenstumbo.com. Ellen is a pastor's wife and she writes about finding beauty in brokenness with gritty honesty and openness. She is passionate about sharing the real—sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly—aspects of faith, parenting, special needs, and adoption. She has been published in Focus on the Family, LifeWay, MomSense, Not Alone, and Mamapedia among others.
Life can be hard. Broken relationships, unemployment, loss, grief, illness. As I parent two children with special needs, there are seasons in life where the health concerns, the doctor appointments, the therapy sessions, the delays, the sensory issues or the lack of understanding from friends and family overwhelm me.
Some days, it might even feel as if I’m coming undone.
It was hard when my daughter was born with Down syndrome. I knew that dealing with her diagnosis and medical issues was more than I could handle. My husband reminded me that if we could handle it on our own, we wouldn’t need God. So I asked Him to step in, because the seams holding me together were thin and worn out.
And He did. God stepped in and filled my heart with a new layer of love, acceptance, joy and peace.
I often have to ask God to step in, and each time He works a little bit more in my heart. Each time, I understand better what it means to love. I understand better the value of life and the pleasure that we bring to God simply by being and all the things that really matter. And I experience Him make things beautiful out of my brokenness.
So there is no giving up. Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace.
"These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever" (2 Cor. 4:17, MSG).
Maybe things won’t get easier as I care for my kids with special needs or as I struggle as a pastor’s wife or as I hurt over broken relationships. But one thing I do know for sure: God is making a new life in me. And each day I experience His grace. These hard times are indeed small potatoes, because God is good, and He is preparing a feast. Yes, indeed, there is far more than meets the eye as I do life. God is working in my heart, from the inside out.
So I will continue to ask God to step in and help me out when life feels overwhelming. I won’t give up because I know He is present, ready to extend His grace again and again. He is walking by my side.
And I dream of the day that He says to me, “Well done,” and I will sit down at the feast with Him and with my children, whose bodies will be fully restored. These seemingly hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times.