Hard Things {Thankful Thursday – Vol 2}

I caught a glimpse of her on the trampoline as I wiped the dining room table clean. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her long blonde hair dancing wildly in each gust of wind. I turned to watch her and my heart fell. She wasn’t jumping or rolling or dancing the way she usually does. She was sitting, legs crossed, back to the wind. Just sitting. No smile crossed her lips. Instead, she scowled unblinkingly across the yard.

This little girl of mine is always feeling something big. Whether it’s ecstatic joy or the darkest sadness, she doesn’t ever seem to just . . .be. So when something hard comes along, I know to expect big feelings. And big tears.

And sometimes I just don’t understand that.

See, while she’s out in the wind, leaning into her feelings, acknowledging her own hurt, I’m inside furiously wiping counters and tables, straightening pillows and making beds. Desperately avoiding the hurt and the tears. I used to be really good at this. My husband and sister like to point out all the times I didn’t cry when I should’ve. I’m been called the Ice Queen.

So maybe it’s the fact that I’m over 30 now and my body is just done with it, or maybe I’m just tired of holding it all in, but I put my towel down and walked out into the wind and sat next to my daughter. We scowled at the yard together while our hair whipped our faces and we cried together and we told each other how this hard thing is just the worst. And then we bounced. And we laughed.

We felt our way through yesterday. We let ourselves cry and yell and then smile and laugh.

Today, as hard as this is to write and as much as it doesn’t make sense, I’m thankful for hard things. I’m thankful for the strength that’s uncovered and the vulnerability revealed. I’m thankful for all the feelings that bring us closer to the people we care about. I'm thankful for hard things because

I’m thankful for hard things because at the end of them I can look back and see how God has worked everything together and how He’s gotten me through.

I know there will be more tears and that this particular hard thing is far from over. And when it’s over, a new hard thing will come in its place. We can chose to dwell on the hardness, on the pain and the struggle. Or, even amidst the tears and sadness, we can embrace our feelings and then fight to chose joy.

What are you thankful for?




  1. The ending of this made me tear up a little. So cool that you both gave yourselves permission to feel through yesterday and that you searched for things to be thankful for. The past few months have been rough for my family with health issues for one of my family members and the only way that I was able to get through and still keep a positive outlook was to remind myself of what I was thankful for throughout everything.

    Great post and great reminder!


  2. I am thankful for the hard things and tears too. I spent some time crying last night and a little bit this morning. My seminary classmate and friend Laura who has been battling cancer is being transitioned to hospice care today. Laura lost her husband Rod to cancer about ten years ago. Laura and Rod have two daughters: Sarah and Erica who are now losing both parents to cancer. It just doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t seem fair. But I am glad and thankful that we do not walk this journey alone. “Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning”–Psalm 30:5


  3. This is beautiful, Sarah. I, too, have one who experiences life with deep emotion. I love your focus on God’s work through the difficulty. I love how you two connected. Beautiful example of mom and daughter love.


  4. Yes I agree!- being thankful, even for hard things, is key to having joy. You reminded me of something my friend said recently. She said, “Hard is hard. But hard is not bad…Not if it drives you to Jesus.” It’s stuck with me and it’s been a great reminder!


  5. This is beautiful! You resisted what was normal for you, listened to the nudge God gave you, and connected with your daughter in a deep way. You probably needed a good cry too. I can relate to being an “Ice Queen” and having a daughter who feels in a big way. Nice post.


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