All my perfectly laid plans and routines had finally fallen into place. I was thriving in the zone of productivity and pursuit, my heart ready and energized to be and do more. It was wonderful, perfect even. I had time for all the things I wanted to do. I had the energy to make time for more. But all my perfectly laid plans are no match for the greater plans thrown my way, and I soon found myself in a whirlwind of exhaustion, defeat, and misery.

I watched the little signs of my failure as a wife and mother collect in piles of clutter scattered around our house. I stared at the many ways I couldn’t help, the many ways my strength was failing, and the many ways I allowed myself to succumb to my misery. I was no match for the task at hand. But in a single moment, I found myself freed from the chains I had been slowly placing on myself. My worth has and never will be defined by success, accomplishments, or productivity. 

It’s terribly freeing to accept such mercy. To accept help and admit weakness. To release the failures and focus on love. My cluttered house does not make for an unhappy family because they are loved in all the other ways I can love them right now. My lack of productivity in spiritual pursuits does not make for an unhappy God because he is happy to meet me in my weakness. And my own unhappiness is released with a breath of fresh air in the realization that my little efforts are enough, and those around me love me beyond what I can give them in return.

There is one thing that I rest all my hope on, and that is that when we are suffering God is closer than ever. When we are struggling our families step up to fill the gaps. When we are unable to give as much as before true love shows its face in the form of mercy and compassion. And I relish the opportunity to step back and rediscover my worth in the very weakness of my being. That is why there is joy in suffering – not because we enjoy suffering but because our weakness reminds us of His love.

I vow to step out of my misery. To release the chains of expectation I’ve placed on myself. And to let God and those around me love me through all my weakness. I have found that it’s no good to grow saddened and disheartened in a season of difficulty but instead, find a way to offer it up in acceptance of God’s will. 

You ask me whether I am in good spirits. How could I not be, so long as my trust in God gives me strength. We must always be cheerful. Sadness should be banished from all Christian souls. For suffering is a far different thing from sadness, which is the worst disease of all. It is almost always caused by lack of Faith. But the purpose for which we have been created shows us the path along which we should go, perhaps strewn with many thorns, but not a sad path. Even in the midst of intense suffering it is one of joy.

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

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  1. You are perfect in God‘s eyes, just the way you are. We all set expectations unrealistically at times, but it is impossible to meet all of them. Happiness comes from the hugs and kisses and encouragement from those you love and who love you. It is easy to get discouraged at times, but you just reminded all of us as you reminded yourself — God loves you and his mercy is never ending. He only expects from you what you are able to give an any day.

    Love you!

  2. I love your thoughts on family and dear friends. They rise up and become stronger when the other is in need of it. And you will do the same when their time of weakness or vulnerability catches them off guard. It is a wise soul that can allow and accept the mercy and love:) We are all much more comfortable relying on our selves with the “I got it” attitude. In any suffering we encounter, there is great merit and opportunity. I admire you seeing the glimpses of joy in it all:)

  3. 2 Corinthians 12:9 is one of Tim and I’s favorite verses. Being a perfectionist and a competitorall my life, this lesson took me a long time to accept. Your beautiful post is an excellent application of Paul’s teaching and I am grateful to have come across it this Friday morning.

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