Too easy

Self-diagnosed, I feel the beginning stages of arthritis every time I ring out a rag or twist off a canning jar ring. I tell the engineer, "I'm going to have arthritis just like grandma and I haven't worked near as hard as she did in her life. Pathetic!"
For years, I've been thinking it: My life is too easy; I feel too incredibly blessed. Mostly, these thoughts come to me as I think about the lives of my grandmothers. How different my life is compared to theirs. I garden because I love the feel of the earth in my hands and the flavorful benefits; they gardened out of necessity because it put food on the table for the year to come. One grandma worked outside the home to make ends meet; the five years I worked outside the home, it was to feel a sense a normalcy and self-worth. The other grandma farmed alongside her husband because there was no other way to get the work done and a harvest reaped; I pack a lunch for the engineer to take to work. She sewed everything; I like Kohl's and while leaving sewing in the hobby category.
James Dobson has said that hard times create emotional and physical toughness. The opposite is also true; ease and abundance create weakness. It is possible that God may in fact allow adversity to make us stronger (When God Doesn't Make Sense, 1993, pg. 150).
Going through a trial in my own life right now, an opportunity to trust God even though I do not understand, I "almost kinda" wish my past was harder. I remember just having purchased a fixer-upper, Taco John's 6-pack and a pound in my hand, a one-year old and two-year old sitting with me at the picnic table left behind by the previous owners, thinking, This is impossible. There is too much to accomplish. I can't do this! Fast forward a year, house in operating order and the engineer is traveling 12-weeks straight, maybe seeing the girls and I for 12 or at most, 24-hours a week, thinking, I hate my life. I can't be a single mom. It's too taxing. A few years later: our basement flooding and working like gangbusters to move everything upstairs with no clue how high the waters will rise, God, I can't go on. I don't have the strength. I'm overwhelmed. Looking back, I see that those times made me stronger. I came through those adversities stronger physically, emotionally and spiritually. And I "almost kinda" wish I had more rough times. (But who seriously wishes for those out-loud?)
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
All joy? As I wrestle through my own trial, I need to think, "joy"? So I choose not to shrink back. To thank God for this opportunity to grow in faith and trust in God's divine interruption of my life in order to make me complete, lacking nothing. Will you welcome the rough roads? I think it's easier when I take a step back and envision what it will look like to have grown. To consider how God might strengthen me. Yes, maybe my life is easier than Grandma's, but God uses opportunities for growth that are perfectly designed for my bent. I choose to trust Him with all joy.

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