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When all the choices are hard

I am seeing so much pain right now. Not just the "big news" of war, torture, genocide. So many families - really good families, trying so hard to raise their kids in the faith - are facing enormous issues right now. Addiction issues, mental health issues, teens who are bound and determined to be rebellious in really hurtful and damaging ways...

We always have choices. We always have good choices. But we don't always have easy choices.

There are so many times as a parent when I've wanted to throw my hands up and say, "Done! I am done parenting. I'm buying a camper and driving across America with the dog. I'll send postcards." And I don't mean that as a fantasy or a funny anecdote: I've planned that damn trip so many times I can't tell you.

What do we do when all the choices are hard? We choose the best one, just like always. And we pray. Pray harder than ever before, because the choice is hard, and the consequences are hard and life will take a hard left-hand turn and we'll end up somewhere we never imagined. It won't be a bad place - because we made a good choice. It was a hard choice, but a good one. But that hard left turn means the car will overheat, the kids will be cranky and we'll max out the credit card.

Then, after a lot of prayer, we'll look up and see that the place we ended up is...okay. Nice, actually. A good place. Because we made a good/hard choice. Eh, we'll still have bills and kids to deal with and a car to fix, but things will be better. Different but better.

Because we did two things: we made that good, hard choice and we prayed. Everything else is up to God.

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?

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