What to do with your hard things


Photo credit: My brother, Alan Johnson

One morning, I sat on the couch and had coffee with my Hope girl. Well, she had some creamer, with a little bit of coffee in it.

I asked her if there’s anything she’s been thinking about lately. She only just had ten things.

Ten very big, heavy things, that made her cry into her coffee cup.

Ten things that she’s been carrying around in that little tender heart of hers–things that made her feel scared and afraid. Some of those things that had created anxiety in her chest, were words I had said out loud to my friends, about my own fears. I didn’t realize she was quietly listening. We forget that us grown-ups can process out loud and then be fine. But, kids absorb and worry. There were some words I had rashly and flippantly spoken, that I had to apologize for.

So, we put our coffee cups down on the coffee table and I held her and reassured her as best as I could. Because sometimes it just helps to be held, you know? To know that someone much bigger and stronger than you is going to take care of it. And that someone who loves you, more than anyone else in the world does, is just gonna let you sit and rest your sweet head against their chest.

Then, we took our hard, scary things to Jesus. I’m trying to teach my babes that God is not too busy to be unconcerned about our worries and fears and pain. He’s not a God far off. He’s a God that says, “Come close. Tell me your troubles. I’ll sit here a spell and just hold you till you’re calm again.”

Jesus is a tender God. He says things like,

“Hey. Lovey. Don’t worry about your life. But, take all the things that make you scared and worried and afraid, and throw them over here to Me and I’ll carry them for you. And notice the things around you that are good and beautiful–those are all gifts from Me to you to help you feel loved. And don’t forget to ask Me for what You need.” (see Matthew 6:25-34)

And that’s really what all the little girls and all the grown up women and the little boys and even the strongest men, need. Because we all carry burdensome things.

We need to know that the God who once carried a heavy splinted cross on His back, on account of us, still wants to carry whatever loads we are willing to bring to Him.

We need reminded, again and again, that Jesus is with us, today, in the dirt. And He isn’t silent, but is surprisingly articulate in His universe.

He speaks to us through sand and pebbles and little particles of dust floating around in the shafts of light. His Presence transforms all the ordinary into sacred and beautiful.

So, we sit down and have a quiet coffee morning with God. Or we talk to Him in the car, on the way to work. Or just wherever we are, we bring Him our five or ten or fifty things. And we find in Him that one promise, ringing true, even for us. Like rubber meeting road:

“And God’s peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. The peace that God gives is so great that we cannot understand it.” (Philippians 4:7)

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