Kia Stephens candidly shares perspective from the unedited pages of her Christian experience. As a wife, mother, and a woman who has tasted disappointment she connects with a broad range of readers. Today she is sharing how she is presently learning to abide at the place where her faith intersects with the hard things in life. It’s a grace to welcome Kia to the farm’s front porch today…
The time on the dashboard read 8 o‘clock as my car reached the driveway.
I was tired.
The kids were hungry and I still had to have a much needed phone conversation.
It was one that couldn’t be avoided any longer.
In fact, it was an overdue chat with my father’s insurance company: hashing out details for primary care providers, co-pays and home health. I imagined I would be taking the wheel for my parent’s medical well-being at some point, I just didn’t think it would be at 39.
Life, however, had other plans.
I am the only daughter of my Haitian born father and helping him navigate the American Healthcare system is necessary.
So I made the call and began a journey I was not, nor am I presently, prepared for. It took over an hour to have this three-way chat between the insurance representative, my father and me.
When it was done I wept, not knowing it was the first of many more tears.
This journey requires me to schedule appointments and follow up with doctors out of state while juggling responsibilities for my family of four.
Most days I feel emotional, fatigued, and inadequate.
It can be hard to be diligent in the difficult, faithful while unseen, and brave in the unknown.
This is especially true when you find yourself not at the starting point or finish line of life’s unexpected twists, but somewhere in the middle. Marked by fatigue, this is the place you want to quit but somehow muster the stamina to endure.
I have watched many people arrive here.
My colleague did when her husband died suddenly.
My neighbor did when she lost not one, but two children at birth.
My friend did when she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at age 35.
Hard things dawn everyone’s doorstep at some point. Unannounced and abrupt, they sashay in as if invited. Sometimes coming in our childhood when we are most vulnerable. Other times making a grand entrance in adulthood, shattering every ideal we had about how life should be. Sometimes they stay indefinitely.
No one is immune. Everyone, at some point will encounter adversity.
Initially, we may be in shock: dismayed by trouble’s audacity. We might even battle with bouts of anger. In time, discouragement may set in – blurring and preventing us from seeing life through a balanced lens.
Have you ever been there?
Are you there now?
Given the year we’ve had, I’m assuming the answer to one or both of these questions might be yes.
Just this year we’ve experienced political unrest, catastrophic natural disasters, public scandal, and unbearable racial tension. When we factor in our personal challenges these realities are enough to superglue us to a pit of pessimism and hopelessness.
I am tempted to rent a uhaul, pack up all my stuff, and take up residence in this spot but something inside me is discontent with despair: telling me, sometimes screaming – if need be – “We cannot stay here!”
I am convinced it’s hope; she is relentless: often pursuing us when we don’t pursue her.
Her pursuit gently nudges us to pry ourselves from the makeshift shelter we’ve erected and venture a little further to the place where hard things intersect with our faith. Here, amid the confusion and emotional wreckage, we wrestle with reality and the God who defies it.
Peace happens once we accept God’s sovereignty in light of our inability to control the outcome.
We can’t control outcomes.
I am learning this as I grapple with 39: finding myself dealing with compounding hard things. Maybe you do too. God’s peace, however, offers us comfort in the unresolved circumstances of our lives. It is not a comfort that dismisses pain, rather it is One that says, “Come. Rest. Weep. Abide”.
In doing so, we taste a little of what the apostle Paul prayed for the Roman church in Romans 15:13 (NIV), “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Paul reminds us that hope originates with God. This hope is not rooted in perfect circumstances or our ideals.
On the contrary, this hope is rooted in Christ, His sacrifice for us, and the promise of being united with Him one day when all hard things cease.
As much as I want a life void of difficulties, Christianity is not challenge-free.
Christ, Himself endured incredible trials while depending on His heavenly Father for the strength to finish His assignment here on earth.
He demonstrated what faith should look like.
As we trust God, He fills us with joy and peace until we overflow with hope.
The trusting proceeds the filling.
When hard things strike, although our natural response is to fix it or flee, God gives us the choice to trust Him with the outcome.
In doing so, we learn how to abide and rest at the place where hard things intersect with our faith.
Unexplainable peace is found here.
Kia Stephens is a wife and homeschooling mama of two who is passionate about helping women know God as Father. For this reason, she created The Father Swap Blog to be a source of encouragement, healing, and practical wisdom for women dealing with the effects of a physically or emotionally absent father. Each week through practical and biblically sound teaching she encourages women to exchange father wounds for the love of God the Father.
For more encouragement and to learn more about Kia’s ebooks, Hope for the Woman With Father Wounds and Forgiveness Hacks: 5 Strategies to Help You Forgive.