Choices, Faith

Choices: Walking Through Hard Times

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Every time I read these words, they speak to my heart. I love the contrast of weeping and joy. 

Let’s face it. We all will walk through times of weeping. Of pain. Of hardship. We have a choice on how we walk through those difficult seasons of life.

When I read this psalm recently, something pinged that I had never seen before. We sow seeds, even in times of weeping. I usually view hard seasons as a time where I’m stuck. Not doing much beyond trying to get through a day without falling to pieces. 

I realized though, that it’s the how I get through my hard days—the places where my thoughts dwell—that sow seeds. Where my heart is focused is going to sow seeds that will be reaped later on. 

If my thoughts are focused on myself. On the why’s of the circumstances…

If I dwell on the hurt the situation is causing me . . . 

Then I will sow seeds of negativity and bitterness. 

If I water them with tears of self-pity or self-centeredness, then I am fertilizing those seeds in a way that will reap a painful harvest later on.

Each day, as those seeds burrow into the soil of my heart, they gradually shoot out roots that spread into my heart, my thoughts, my perceptions. 

In time, shoots of bitterness will begin to sprout. My words will be directed by my thoughts . . . which are directed by my heart. 

Bitterness, anger, self-focus will be the sheaves I reap in time. 

And this leaves no room for God to work.

Or, in the hard seasons, I can focus on the Lord. On His word. On the truths I know about who He is. 

This doesn’t make the weeping seasons go away. But, it does plant seeds of another kind in my heart. 

When I seek God rather than myself…

When I choose to believe God is who He says He is, even on the most difficult of days…

When I walk in the truths I have learned in the light, clinging to those rather than to uncertainty…

Seeds are planted that will reap a harvest in time.

Those seeds will settle into the soil of my heart and eventually take root. They will produce shoots of joy, of faithfulness, of a deeper walk with God. Of a kinder perception regarding the situations I face. 

This is the harvest I want to reap. These are the sheaves I want to carry with me when the storms of that season fade into history. 

So, yes, we all face difficult seasons. But that’s just what they are. A season. Some seasons of hard last longer than others . . . but they each have a beginning point and an ending time. 

We rarely choose our storms, but we can always choose how we walk through them. 

I want to walk through them in a way that allows me to harvest sheaves of beauty, that reflect Jesus to the world around me. 

What about you? How do you keep your focus on the Lord when you walk through hard seasons? What is a Bible verse that helps you stay grounded in the Lord?

Click to Tweet: We rarely choose our storms, but we can always choose how we walk through them.

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, and Holley Gerth

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26 thoughts on “Choices: Walking Through Hard Times”

    1. Andrew, your comment made me smile. It’s natural to have the hurt, the anger, and even the bitterness, but the key is not to stay mired in those emotions. We have to decide if we’re going to let the fertilizer of life brighten us or just make us stink. 😉

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  1. Jeanne, hi! It still amazes me how sorrow and joy can mingle freely in the same cup. You’d think it’d be one or the other, but the Fruit of the Spirit don’t vanish even when our worlds fall apart. The love, the joy, the peace, all of it still remain.

    What a gift, what hope!

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    1. I agree, Linda. I have trouble comprehending how God mingles joy and sorrow together in our lives. I’m so thankful He can do this, and that He walks with us through both. I like what you said about how the Fruit of the Spirit don’t vanish, even when our worlds fall apart. So true. Thanks for sharing your wisdom here!

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  2. Jeremiah 29:11 and Roman’s 8:28 are some verses that help me stay grounded. Thanks very much for this reminder, Jeanne. Blessings to you.

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    1. Sarah, how fun to know you’re a gardener. This is my first year gardening since I was a girl, and I’m using an elevated garden. It’s been great. We’re just now harvesting some of the produce from our labor. There are many metaphors for our faith. I love how God uses growing things as a big part of describing faith and our relationship with Him.

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  3. I had never really thought about what that verse about “sowing in tears” meant before, but I loved your reflections here. I have seen some people turn away from God in hard times and others whose faith was strengthened by them. It’s so true that our choice about where to focus makes a big difference.

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    1. Thank you, Lesley. Every single time I read through the psalms, this passage stands out to me. This time through, God really got me thinking about how we sow those tears. I want to sow well and turn toward the Lord, not away from Him. I always love when you stop by. Thanks, friend!

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  4. This is all lovely, Jeanne … the analogy as well as your gardening efforts (I’m so impressed!). The Psalms (I can’t choose just one verse) really help keep me grounded in hard seasons. Lately I’ve been reading through Isaiah in my Bible reading and there are so many wonderful truths about God there too. I guess that’s what also helps … remembering who He is and how He has promised to work in my life, rather than focusing solely on whatever the hard things are (though I do enough of that too). 🙂

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    1. Lois, there are so many psalms that offer truth, grace, and peace aren’t there? And some of my go-to verses are in Isaiah. Yes, we need to remember Who God is and how He keeps His promises. I am too quick to focus on my own “hard” and forget to choose to fix my eyes on God. He’s giving me practice on this, though… 😉 Thanks for visiting!

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  5. Hard seasons come and go but what helps me is knowing that the time in the messy is never wasted. God is still using us and pruning us if we let Him. He is working for us 24/7 so planting seeds of kindness and gratitude will produce bigger and better fruit. Beautiful post today!

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    1. So true, Mary. God never wastes a thing, does He? I love your thoughts about how God works continually. And isn’t it great that we can choose the kinds of seeds we plant? Thanks so much for stopping by, friend!

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  6. When I walk through hard seasons, Proverbs 3:5 helps get me through: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

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  7. This is good stuff, Jeanne. We rarely choose our storms… I’ve lived this. It’s hard to stay focused on God when times are hard. I remember standing on my porch watching the rain. I asked God, Why do I like watching storms so much?
    He said, It’s because they remind you of me.
    How’s that, God?
    You might get wet, but you’ll never be swept away.
    I try to hold onto that when times are darkest. Thanks for the post!

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    1. Chip, we’ve walked through some storms recently too. Keeping my eyes focused on God in the beginnings of the trial is often the most challenging time for me to do. It takes time and reminders and a change in my mindset. I love that conversation you and God had about storms. Thank you for sharing that!

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  8. I’m not a farmer or a gardener. I don’t even grow a healthy houseplant. But I love all the references and illustrations of planting, growing, sowing and reaping in the Bible. They “make sense” even to me….and I can apply them to even my suburban-girl heart!:)

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    1. God’s illustrations help us to understand the truths God wants to teach us, don’t they, Jennifer? I had to grin at your “suburban-girl heart” reference. Because that basically describes me. 😉 Have a beautiful Sunday!

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