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Life is the pits or it can be. I am greatly blessed, because the pit is a place I am familiar with, it’s comfortable and they all know me here. That’s because I’ve been tossed in the pit so many times, I’ve actually made friends down here. I think they have a coffee cup with my name on it and I imagine the angels say, oh, it’s just her again.

When God is all you have, you do learn that God is all you need. When all is lost, when there is nothing left, when you are just wrung out and hung up to dry, there He is, right where He’s always been. “I must decrease so he can increase,” words spoken by John the Baptist when Christ came, but words that also teach us that when we make ourselves smaller, we make room for Him to become bigger in our lives.

You fall headfirst into the pit enough times and you learn that powerlessness does not necessarily have to equate despair, it can be more like a child just closing her eyes and slipping her hand into her Father’s. I am small and helpless and completely dependent. Weaker vessels, “weaker” meaning precious and valuable and needing to be handled with care.

I have the strength of a faith born in the bottom of the pit. Forged by fire, over and over again. I know how to praise His name when the world has just lined up against you, when you are down for the count, surrounded on all sides by your enemies, and no, things are not going to get better, in fact, they are likely to get far worse. When life is the pits, God still reigns, God is still on the throne. I will praise His name from the bottom of the pit, even when despair is all I can see. It is just ingrained in my soul now.

Bit of a moral conundrum for me, I wanted so badly to gift my own children with that same kind of faith, and to encourage and nurture it in my husband. The dilemma being, the only way I could ever hope to share it with them, would have been to just toss them in the pit. The only way out of the fire is right through it. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, the moral conundrum being, there’s just no way to forge that kind of faith without great suffering.

My kids were kind of sheltered, even my husband, I’ve done what most good wives and moms try to do, I’ve done what I could to make them all comfortable, to keep suffering away from them as much as possible, knowing full well I could never keep it all at bay forever.

There was no other option available, it was the right decision, but I’m keenly aware that my kids don’t have my strength and resilience, that they don’t have my faith, that even my sweet husband suffers greatly trying to learn how to lean into faith on the fly, so to speak. While I can almost glibly quip, “We’re in the pit, praise His name!” those I care about the most are just left confused, asking, “Where are we and why is this happening?”

It is in those moments that I regret not being able to gift them with the kind of strength that God gave me, and I realize that falling in the pit actually serves a vital purpose. I understand that pain and suffering in His hands will always bring forth priceless fruits.

There’s a parable Jesus tells about ten virgins, five foolish and five wise, all waiting for the Bridegroom. The five foolish ones have brought no oil for their lamps, and while they are out trying to buy some, the Bridegroom shows up and “those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.” It is a parable that speaks to the finality of the end times, but it also speaks to the importance of having your own lamp full when your personal world comes crashing down all around you.

I have been blessed in ways I could not bless my own children and sometimes I regret that because those I love have no idea how to break, how to shatter into a million pieces and to trust that God will hold your heart in His hands.

I cannot hand them my oil and it’s the hardest thing ever.