One of Chip’s favourite singers is Carrie Newcomer. A song I particularly like that she wrote is called You Can Do This Hard Thing, which describes 3 crises in a person’s life, in which she is encouraged and strengthened to keep at it, to not give in. There have been many times in my life when the words to that song could have applied, but one particular time comes to mind right now…
It was November and we were making plans for our new family tradition of having friends over for a big Thanksgiving Dinner in our home. We would enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving foods and would do some sort of activity in which we would give thanks. It started small when our kids were small, with our family and a few missionary and Kenyan friends. It kept growing as the years passed, as it was hard leaving friends off our list. We still keep this tradition, to date, with our children grown and on their own, only missing when we are out of the country or when COVID brought gatherings to a halt.
This particular Thanksgiving when the kids were still little, we had made all the preparations, had bought a big turkey, and were eagerly looking forward to this big annual event, when Chip came down with a serious stomach ailment the night before! Oh dear, what to do? Something important to understand at this juncture, is that I was always a very shy person, what you would call ‘painfully shy’. I relied heavily on Chip to play the gracious host, welcoming everyone and engaging in small talk pleasantries, while I worked happily in the kitchen, where I didn’t have to come up with topics of conversation. Now, I was faced with the very real possibility of having to pull this event off by myself – horrors! We discussed whether we should cancel the event, but everything was all ready and people had prepared their side dishes they were bringing. It was simply too late to cancel the whole thing. I would have to play the part of the gracious hostess. (You can do this hard thing!)
People began arriving and I put on my best smile and welcomed them, explaining where Chip was and why. Occasionally, we could hear him upstairs, groaning. Each time, I winced, still wondering if I should cancel. In the end, though people were genuinely sad about Chip’s gastronomical woes, they also all had a good time. We ate, we talked, and we gave thanks for all God’s blessings to us. We spent some time in prayer for Chip and people left a bit early in consideration for him (and probably for me too, as they likely surmised I was rather anxious to attend to my patient upstairs). I did it…I did that hard thing!
But I’m sure I did not do it alone. Numerous have been the times when I was sure I would not be able to do this or that. I’d pray, and in the end, would find the strength and/or courage to do what had to be done. I am convinced that when we ask God for help, He gives it. He never promised us an easy life or a life free from problems and heartaches. But He did promise to be with us (Matthew 28:20), to give us wisdom when we don’t know what to do (James 1:5), and the strength to do what we need to do (Psalm 28:7). Do you have a problem? Is there a difficult task you have been dreading? Do you feel stuck? Ask your Heavenly Father for His help. With His help, you can do this hard thing!