If God had given me a word this year, I think it would have been "adjust". When I asked Him for a word a year ago, I heard "hope" in nearly every Bible verse. And at the start of this year, I've sought "joy". But as the summer is winding down and so much has changed this year, I find myself constantly learning to adjust to new situations, new circumstances. Sometimes adjusting is just plain hard!
I think of my mom who talked to me the other day and used that very word. "I'm adjusting," she said. And the changes for her have been big ones as she made the decision this year to stop driving. And truly, since my dad died in 2011, she's had to adjust to widowhood, to a major water problem in her apartment which caused her to move for several months, and again this year to new health problems.
But despite everything she encourages me with her positive, "I'm adjusting," or "I'll get through it".
I hope I keep that legacy because this year has been one of constant adjustment for me too. Every day seems to bring a new challenge. And this year held a wedding, a graduation, travel, visiting kids, a sick pet, loss of family members, deadlines, leaking bathrooms, and well...life! I'm sure my list doesn't begin to match those with real problems. Mine are just normal fare.
Though I will say the hardest for me are the spiritual battles and prayers that remind me how helpless I am, as well as, the physical challenges. Pain is a great equalizer, I think, and until a person's body experiences it in a significant way, I don't know if they can truly know compassion for those who suffer.
As a mom, I'm also finding this transition to having adult kids interesting and again, an adjustment. How do I act? How often do I call? How involved can I be without interfering? And the best one? How do I become the perfect mother-in-law? :)
There is a song I absolutely love that gives me comfort during life's little "adjustments." Laura Story sings it (and I believe she wrote it too) - called Blessings. There is a phrase in that song that says, "when friends betray us, when darkness seems to win, we know, the pain reminds this heart that this is not, this is not our home." (Sometimes pain is not physical but at a heart level.) Listen to the whole song here.
And yet...things don't end here. Pain on this earth, whether physical or emotional, can seem like an unbroken circle, and it can leave a person feeling rather hopeless - like if this is all there is, we might as well, eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die!
But the good thing about bad things, about pain, is that it does remind us that this is all temporary. God created us for something much, much better. Eternity.
Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3:10-14 these words,
"I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him."
And that is why we adjust to life's adversity. God has given us all good things to enjoy and He has placed eternity in our hearts so that we will fear Him. Someday, He will right the wrongs. But right now, in this time and place, He asks us to trust Him. To remember that this is not our home.
So we learn to set our hearts on Him. We will get through it by His grace. It's how we adjust.