I’m telling you, this woman straight up just hands out hope — because Chrystal Evans Hurst knows what it’s like to feel like she was the only one — the only woman who felt lost in the middle of her life. She thought no one else struggled like she did to move forward through the messy stuff. She thought everyone else had something she didn’t have that made life a little easier for them to navigate. But what’s she’s found is that we all have some degree of hard in our lives and that the keys to moving forward are available to everyone. This women is a fierce encourager of others and will have you laughing and crying as she holds your hands and shines a light on real living. If you’ve lost sight of the girl you wanted to be or never had a vision for the girl you wanted to become, Chrystal comes alongside you and offers a toolbox filled with practical encouragement to help you honor the “the gift of you” in this world. It’s a grace to welcome Chrystal to the farm’s front porch today…
Outside, I looked cool, calm, and collected.
Inside, I was experiencing a full-blown panic attack.
My husband and I sat on the same side of the table, facing the financial advisor and his assistant. We’d been married for fifteen years and had decided that now was a good time to get some professional direction in planning for our future.
Between that decision and the date of the appointment, my husband had lost his job.
A loyal, hard worker, he had experienced many health challenges over the years and finally found himself no longer able to maintain the workload that had formed the foundation of our financial stability.
As I sat there looking at the whiteboard where the financial advisor had carefully laid out a plan, all I saw was a big negative number. A negative number that I felt responsible for.
That moment was not the first time I’d been faced with hard circumstances, an insurmountable challenge, or a seemingly impossible situation.
Teenage pregnancy. Single parenting. Marriage. Blended family. Illness. A special needs child. Broken bones. And it goes on and on.
Hard has an interesting way of finding me.
As a result, I’ve gotten good at pushing through things in my life. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still feel the pressure.
On this day, the panic attack was controlled, tempered, and stuffed. I felt it threaten to rise up and make itself known in my face, in the tone of my voice, or in the words I used to communicate my thoughts.
But I pushed through, sitting stoically in the financial advisor’s office.
And then there was the long quiet ride home.
The rest of the evening was normal. I was robotic, almost. Go home. Check. Fix dinner. Check. Read to kids, then pray with kids, then put kids to bed. Check.
I stayed in motion so I wouldn’t have to stop and face the barrier that had presented itself earlier that afternoon.
But, as evening came, eventually I had to slow down. There was no more energy to keep the hard thoughts from coming.
So I prayed.
I asked God what in the world He was doing and how He expected me to handle the hard. My questions quickly digressed into a rant of anger — anger at God.
My anger melted into an emotional flood.
I tried to fight it, but the day’s strength had been squashed under the weight of the unknown.
The tears started, and they wouldn’t stop. Everything that had been bottled up forced its way to the surface. I cried uncontrollably—water poured out of my eyes, a wail escaped my lips, and I doubled over, powerless to stand up straight.
I entered a full-blown ugly cry.
And I cried out to God. I told Him, as if He didn’t know, what had happened and how I felt.
I told Him I couldn’t take one more step in this life that felt straight uphill. I huffed and puffed through staccato sentences, trying to explain my state of emotional and mental disarray.
There was no quick fix.
But as I emptied my anger and cried out to Him, I sensed a peace that passes all understanding wash over me.
I believed deep down that He heard me. And I decided to keep putting one foot in front of the other, doing what I could to move forward one step at a time.
It’s been awhile since that particular ugly cry.
Things haven’t been easy, but God has been faithful. Our needs have been met. God has provided.
But I’ll never forget the weight of the unknown and feeling of being buried. And because I haven’t forgotten, I know you may need someone to encourage you this very day.
Maybe you’re facing your own kind of hard. Maybe you’re are overwhelmed, emotionally fraught, far from life expectations, or deeply disappointed. Maybe you’re struggling with money, marriage, singleness, mental or physical health. Maybe you’re worn out from mothering your kids or struggling with infertility. Your hard might be addiction, grief, paralyzing fear, or anxiety because you can’t figure out what comes next.
May I offer you a little hope?
Where you are today is not where you have to be forever.You may not want to embrace where you are, but it is so important to embrace Whose you are.
While you can’t control everything in your life, you can do at least one thing: every day you can choose to live and honor the gift of you in this world. There will never be another person who will grace the face of this earth who is like you.
You have the opportunity to choose every day to honor the loveliness that you uniquely bring to the world, even if the world doesn’t seem to be holding up its end of the bargain to bring the lovely to you.
If you believe you are defined only by your disappointments and disasters, you will abdicate your role in this world, the role that only you can play.
But if you choose to embrace your journey—even the parts that disappoint you, challenge you, or make you double over from the emotional weight of it all—you can one day look back and see your hard as a part of your life and not the definition of your life.
Believe that all you see is not all there is.
Your life, my friend, does not have to be a sad sum of your hard or your heavy.
Your darkest moments are only a moment in time.
I would love to offer a simple answer or a quick fix, but here’s the truth. Life can be hard. Moving forward can take time. But here’s the bottom line, and I believe this with all of my heart:
You are worth the effort.
Choose to fight for your life.
Every day. Get up. Keeping going.
Your one step forward today won’t necessarily eliminate all problems or pressure, but your journey is a process.
Choose to honor the gift of you — even if you have tears in your eyes, cries from your lips, or heaviness in your heart.
Choose to believe your life is worth the effort.
You’re still here. You’re still alive.
So you’re still worth the work of the rescue.
Chrystal Evans Hurst is writer, speaker, and worship leader in addition to serving as the chief executive operating officer in her home as a wife, mother of five and grandmother to one. She blogs and podcasts regularly at Chrystal’s Chronicles where she poignantly reflects her thoughts about her faith and day-to- day experiences. She is a self-proclaimed ”geek”; and bibliovore, who is actively seeking help for her addiction to Starbucks, sweet tea,and chocolate chip cookies.
Chrystal co-authored a blueprint in Kingdom Woman for what being a Godly woman looks like with her father, Dr. Tony Evans. In She’s Still There, Chrystal shares more of her personal story. What’s a woman to do if her life is not taking shape the way that she thought that it would? What happens when she looks at herself in the mirror, lingering just a little longer than usual and realizes that she no longer recognizes the person staring back at her? What does she do when she sees that, somehow, her life has drifted away from all her original hopes, dreams, or plans? Whether your life has been derailed because of your own drifts, detours, or collisions caused by others, Chrystal will show you what it means to fight for your life. This book is a LIFELINE: It’s a book of “me toos”, reminders of the hoped for, and challenges for the path ahead—to find direction, purpose, and true satisfaction.
In addition to the book, there is also a She’s Still There six-session DVD and study guide available.
[ Our humble thanks to Zondervan for their partnership in today’s devotion ]