What is a woman to do in the face of overwhelming hardship, when joy is gone and bitterness of soul has come?

A few weeks ago, my husband came to me and gently asked, “What is going on with you?!”  I had been crying a lot and generally feeling sad as I went about my day.  It was something I noticed too, because typically I’m that annoying person who ALWAYS looks on the bright side of things, loves life, has a smile on my face and an ooey, gooey, sweet, “Good morning!” for everyone in my path.

But, now I wasn’t feeling ooey, gooey, sweet.

After thinking about it for a bit, I figured out my sadness was due to a few things; the least of them being hormones and a minor stressful situation with hubby.  A slightly greater reason was the fact that my baby was headed to kindergarten, leaving me to face a new season of life and relearning who I am other than a mom.  But the greatest cause was the fact that in about two weeks span, God brought to my attention every day that sometimes, life just stinks!  Life is hard!  Life’s SO NOT FAIR!  I received phone calls and emails from loved ones stricken with grief and anguish over a situation in their life:  marriage, cancer, addictions, life-threatening illness, kid’s rebellion, loss of job, mental illness, house fire, aging/dying loved ones.

I was not handling it well.  I struggled to find answers and encouragement for my loved ones facing such pain.  What is a Godly woman to do in the face of overwhelming hardship, when joy is gone and bitterness of soul has come?

My answer came today through the beautiful Biblical account of a woman named, Hannah.  For years, she carried the burden of infertility and so desperately wanted a baby boy.  To make matters worse, her husband took a second wife, Peninnah, who could bear him a son (and many more children).  Peninnah was a jealous, mean woman who relentlessly provoked Hannah and mocked her barrenness.  The story says this went on year after year until Hannah wept and would not eat.  Hannah was in such anguish and despair that she’s described as weeping much and was in “bitterness of soul.”  She must have felt like she couldn’t bear her burden much longer and that God had forgotten her.

So what did this woman do in the face of overwhelming hardship and despair?  The Bible says, she prayed to the Lord!  Pray??!!  Such a simple answer, yet SO hard.

Yet year after year, Hannah faithfully prayed, pouring her soul out to God and trusting Him to grant her the desire of her heart.  In fact, she so completely cast her burden that when she was done praying, “she went her way and ate something and her face was no longer downcast.”  After many years,  God gave her the beautiful gift of a son.  She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”

What trial, hardship, difficulty, weakness, persecution, insult are you facing today?  Pray, my friend.  I know sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough.  But God is enough.  Drop to your knees in complete submission and dependence on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of your faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning it’s shame, and is now seated on the throne at the right hand of God.  May the peace of God which transcends all understanding guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.  Love you, sweet friend.

Anna Frye is a speaker, author, television host and founder of the Chosen and Crowned tribe. She invites moms and wives to celebrate imperfect progress fueled by the grace of a perfect God. She helps women bravely talk about the messy places of life, instead of hiding shamefully under them. She believes that lasting beauty comes when women courageously surrender their ashes to God and allow him to do something mind-blowingly amazing with them. If this resonates with you, then you belong with the Chosen and Crowned tribe. Connect at www.ChosenAndCrowned.com/blog

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