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Hard Stuff Make Soft Hearts

Girls hiking in their skirts with their guns = exercised feminine rights 

I used to hate hiking. But then I used to hate a lot of things.

I had been wanting to see Alexa's baby (Alexa is the girl on the far left) and I hadn't actually yet met Keziah (the third girl to the right). I really needed a break from writing and cleaning, and for me that means hanging out with friends. But I don't really like shopping (spending money is stressful, y'all) and I like to be active. So I decided to kill three birds with a stone — I planned a girls' hike up near where Alexa and Keziah lived so I could meet Alexa's baby and meet Keziah.

Best "mutli-tasking" idea I've ever had!

We had a fabulous Sabbath (most of us keep Saturday sabbath) of hiking, fellowship, and fun!

When I finally went home I was refreshed and inspired. Great conversations had happened. We encouraged each other, discussed what was on our hearts, and grew. It's hard to explain these sort of experiences, but they are what add spice to my life.

Keziah and I both talked about relationships as that was a lot on our minds and hearts at the moment. I shared with her a lot of the things I'd been going through after I'd had a relationship end very poorly. I was a bit surprised I was able to share so much about it — I've had a hard time talking about all of this, even on my blog, sharing with only a couple of my good friends. But somehow we talked.

She asked me if I'd regretted anything.

I paused.

I'd somewhat thought about this before.

Did I regret giving my heart away? If I had known how it all would have ended would I have kept getting to know him? Do I wish I'd never met him or any of his family? 

Whenever I asked myself these questions I'd never wanted to answer them before. Parts of me have always wanted to die or scream or something. Just to make it all go away. The memories. The pain. The feelings.

But then . . . I've changed so much. For the better. I'm so much stronger now. Confidence and knowledge and satisfaction I've never known were possible are now mine. I don't want to give up the joy and peace I've won.

So, do I regret it?

"I  . . . hate that it had to happen, but I don't regret any of it," 

I answered, realizing this truth for the first time myself.

I breathed the words out as if they were the final stepping stone in my discovery of the cure that has saved me.

More peace. More joy. All of it flooded down on me and I wanted to laugh, to dance, to thank God for every hardship He's ever given me. Because how else would I be able to feel so whole? Without the darkness, how else would I know what light really looks like?

No, I regret nothing. I love where God has brought me, no matter the hardships on the path.

When I was little I used to pray for every person to be saved, even the devil. When I was young I loved everyone and I knew that everyone loved me. And so I couldn't understand why everyone else didn't love all people. Why the devil was so hateful.

I wanted everything to be perfect. No hardships and no hate.

But then I grew older. I experienced betrayal, and misunderstandings, and hateful people. Friends turned into enemies in the blink of a tear. Instead of words of affirmation, taunting insults were poured onto me.

My prayers disappeared for a time and I saw the world for what it was: colorless and full of stupid idiots.

Through all this I felt my heart hardening. I knew bitterness would steal all my childish innocence. I felt it stripping away my love for life and people.

Somehow God stayed with me. Somehow He gave me strength to fight, to force myself to keep loving. To never regret, to keep looking forward. I found things to do with my hands. I found things to put in my ears. I found people to love.

And I started praying again, this time for "Strength to love everyone. For a heart that wants to do right."

There was nothing wrong with my first prayer. But it lacked the maturity of experience and longing. It lacked knowledge.

In the darkness, I discovered that hard stuff make soft hearts. 



The seasons weren't one long stretch of hardships. I did have times of temporary happiness. But not even any of that can compare to the peace that finally came upon me early last spring, 2018. Peace that melted my heart so that all the bitterness bled away and all I could feel is joyful satisfaction.

Does that mean life is always easy and I'm OK with everything that's ever happened? That I never have hard times and always want to dance and shout, "I love life because I know all the secrets to smiling!"

NO!

There are times when I'm so exhausted. When people are too frustrating. When I just wish I didn't have anything to do — and certain people were back in my past. Sometimes I still look back and ask, "Why?"

But those times don't haunt me anymore. They don't control my NOW, my tomorrows. The hard times no longer define me, but continue to soften me.

What about you? Does your season in life feel unbearable or have you found peace? If you are still struggling, don't give up! God is there for you, and so am I — never hesitate in emailing me and asking for comfort. 
And remember this, it's OK to hate what has happened to us. But don't regret any of it. You are you because of all of the hard things. It's the color splashed on the canvas, the spark that ignites your understanding of love. 

Comments

  1. We aren't promised an easy life. We aren't promised wealth and happiness. We are promised that whatever happens is for our good and for God's glory, and He will be with us. He won't give us anything more than what we can endure. I'm glad to hear that you can find peace and light even in darker times. :)

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  2. Keturah, you are so right! Nice job explaining it. And you need to come visit again!!

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Tammy! I suppose I do need to come up again sometime soon ;)

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  3. Great post, Keturah! I look back at many of the hard times I've had and sometimes wonder what my life would be like now without them. Who I would be. How would I have gotten to where I am without those hard things? I think God knew what He was doing.

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    1. Thanks, Katie! I wonder those exact same things! It makes me think of a book I just finished by Brandon Sanderson called Mistborn. They could burn a metal that allowed them to see alternate versions of themselves. It would be interesting to know what life would be like if everything went as we wanted - but you are right, God knows what He's doing :)

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  4. I love that you learned from your struggles. God uses all of it, and you became a better person because of it.

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    1. It's definitely hard choosing to learn, but so worth it - and scary to think that life will be full of this until God thinks I'm ready to be done learning on Earth ;0

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  5. I think if I had the choice, looking back, to go through the things I’ve had to go through, I couldn’t choose to do it. Yet, I’m thankful for the things I’ve learned through difficult experiences, and thankful I never had to choose whether to go through them or not.

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    1. I don't think anyone would choose hard stuff - that's why we hate it. But we can learn to accept that it had to happen, and not regret it, and be content in where the hard things have lead us.

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  6. That was so beautifully said, Keturah. It blessed me to read this. For everyone going through trials and hard times, there is always hope and a peace that you can find in the Lord; He will be there for you. Those bleak periods do pass.

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    1. Thank you, Keziah! Yes, that's all so true. Hopefully we can meet up again sometime soon!

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  7. I love the title and I love this post. <3 Sometimes I feel sad over losing people, but then I realized how much I learned.

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    1. Want to know a secret? I've had this title in my mind since Spring waiting for the perfect post to accompany it ;D I always feel sad over losing people. I hate it. But I do love that God doesn't leave us and helps us heal as we grieve.

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  8. You're so right. Beautiful post <3

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  9. This post was just... so profound and beautiful, I don't even have the words. Just... thank you for talking about this. For being honest. There are some things in my life that I recognize where they've brought me, but I can't say I've reached the point where I don't regret any of it. I understand that they've made me who I am, but I guess I'm still kind of wishing it could've been easier? I don't know. Anyways, thank you for talking about this! It really reminds me to hope when I read your joy now and recognize how much it took to get there.

    Keep being honest and amazing!


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbosityreviews.com

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    1. Oh, thank you so much, Alexa! Your words are encouraging. Finding joy that lasts is a never ending process, but finding the path makes it so much easier. I hope your journey gives you peace soon - but I know how hard it can be. Sometimes it's just so hard not to regret. Thanks again :)

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