Life throws us tough stuff sometimes, doesn’t it?

A few months ago I was chatting with my brother about the difficulties of life. We decided there is a phrase that sums up a lot of tough situations:

I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know it would be this hard.

Can you relate? Perhaps parenting, marriage or a job situation? Heck, even day to day things like taking care of the house and cars that keeps breaking in all the wrong, expensive places?

My husband and I parent children with challenges. These children have been through trauma at a young age, and trauma changes the brain in significant ways. (Read more about our life here: Understanding Kids With Trauma History and What I Wish You Could See About My “Bad” Kids)

Life at our house is never boring. I know people use that phrase all the time, but I mean it in both the best and worst of ways. This summer was especially difficult. One of our kids spent time in and out of the hospital, and we received extensive in-home assistance, too, just trying to keep life put together on the most basic level.

During one of the toughest days, one of my sweeties was upstairs raging. I heard the wall kicked and pounded. (My husband has become an expert in repairing holes punched through dry wall.) I heard a string of expletives.

“I hate you, Mom! You’re the worst mom ever! Shut up! *&^%# Go away and leave me alone forever! $%^& I hate you! I hate you!”

On and on this went for what felt like an hour. The door to his room was shut, but I could hear him in there screaming and trashing things.

The rest of our family tends to scatter into their hiding places when this happens. It’s sad to say this is part of our normal, but when you live with someone with mental health issues, strange things become typical.

I’ve long since given up worrying about if the neighbors hear, and what they might think. We’ve told them about our issues, and hopefully they understand.

So, when my sweetie paused for breath, the house was curiously silent.

I faintly heard the neighbor’s dog bark in the distance.

“Shut up, dog! Shut up, you stupid dog! Shut uuuuuppp!!!”

I heard my son scream this from his room.

How to Have Hope on a Hard Day|The Holy Mess

Maybe it was the adrenaline energy of the moment, but I burst out laughing. “That poor dog,” I thought to myself, “what did he do?”

My husband and I have had a good laugh about this many times since then. When life seems to be getting too difficult to handle, we look at each other and say, “Shut up, dog!”

This lightens the immediate moment, but something has shifted for me since that day, too.

What did the dog do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

What did I do to deserve my child’s anger and rage? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

It just is. Here we are.

I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know it would be this hard.

There are many Bible verses I could share with you about God’s encouragement for your tough times. (Here are some if you need those today.) All of that wisdom is absolutely true.

I don’t have answers wrapped for you in a pretty bow. I don’t know why bad things happen to you, or why they happen to me. We live in a sinful world, and sometimes we get yelled at when we don’t deserve it.

Today, I’ll say I’m here with you. If you are feeling incredibly lonely, know you aren’t alone.

God is good, and He loves you. He has good planned for your life.

If you feel like sometimes there is a disconnect in that, I can relate. There are things of this world you will simply not understand.

Sometimes you gotta say, “Shut up, dog!” Then trust that something better is coming.

I knew it would be hard, but I didn't know it would be this hard|The Holy Mess