Life is hard, y’all. Lately I’ve been saying the serenity prayer a lot. In my head. Out loud. It’s taped to my bathroom mirror. Because. Life. Is. Hard.
Everyone’s hard is different. My hard used to be – I have no money and my son needs diapers and my boyfriend won’t let me call his dad and won’t give me any money to buy diapers hard. That’s abusive life hard. Some people have it worse. Some people have it better. It’s still hard.
My life is better than it was and it’s not as good as it can be. I’ve been married for a couple months to a great man, we have a nice house, a little family, we have our God, our pets, our health. In these times with corona virus and social unrest, what else could we ask for.
I began to realize a few months ago that I was just complaining. I complained because I was tired from working at my 8 am to 5 pm job that gave me a good salary but no energy or time for anything else. I complained because my then-to-be-step-daughter did things to annoy me. I complained because my then-fiancé wanted to participate in choosing the wedding elements, so I didn’t get my way.
Then I was reading a devotion, or a book, or a blog, one day and realized it’s not really that bad. But, I needed a perspective change. So, I put the prayer on the bathroom mirror and it helped me change my perspective. That helped for a few weeks. But then I fell off.
I had a conversation with my fiancé and we decided that I could quit my job. I was losing my mind, getting ready to jump into the deep end of the crazy-train pool. I took a week off to pull myself together. Then I planned the wedding, executed all the things, and began to go on into the next stage of living together. Happily-ever-after, all problems solved, perfect life….right?
Then corona virus, two weeks after our honeymoon, three weeks into being married, and I’m now a stay-at-home mom to my new daughter. Yay! I’m going to be honest and say I’m not stay-at-home mom material, which I now know 100%. I did not know that before March 2020. In the beginning, I began to have movies of peaceful craft time, homework assistance, and homemade dinners float through my brain. Y’all, I have no idea how much I have to say that those movies inside my head were a big, fat, lie that I told myself.
We soon had days of meltdowns – from the both of us. There was divisive behavior and resentment. There were a couple of visits to my counselor. There were many proposed and quickly defunct solutions. I cried a lot. I prayed a lot.
I felt like I experienced radio silence. For weeks. I was getting ready to jump back into the crazy-train pool. Then, after one particularly dreadful week, my prayers were finally answered.
I had a series of devotions that I was reading daily. In one hour God said – accept the situation, forgive everything, and be calm. I looked around at my house, thought about my new family, and the situation we are in. Everything is hard. Yes, that’s true. But, I realized that everything was harder than it had to be because we were all resisting the situation.
She wanted me to go away. I wanted to just get along. My new husband wanted a unified family. None of us were anywhere close to where we wanted to be.
I decided that what I needed to do was: Accept everything. Forgive everything. Get along. Be a family.
I was going to accept that things were the way they were. It takes time to get along and be at ease together. It takes time for people to grow up, be responsible, and mature. It takes time for people to adjust to new things and new situations. It is hard when you’re a little and you don’t understand what you’re feeling and thinking and doing.
I was going to forgive everything. Everything that had happened, everything that would happen, everything that I resented, everything that annoyed, everything that could be forgiven was going to be forgiven. I knew that I had to forgive because I was reminded – God forgave me much and it took me a long time to figure it out. So, I am required to forgive others the same.
I was going to get along. I decided that we were going to get along whether we wanted to or not. We have to. Because we’re a family. Our family looks different, sounds different, is different, than every other family out there. If we do our best to accept, forgive, and get along, we’re going to be a family that follows after God’s instructions.
I got my brand new husband on board with me. Then we informed our daughter that this is how things were going to happen. Because we’re a family. We’ve had a few discussions about how things are, how we feel, and how we want things to be.
As a result of all of that, I now pray the serenity prayer daily. Sometimes, I pray the serenity prayer multiple times a day. I pray when I’m annoyed. I pray it when I am frustrated. I pray it when I don’t know what to do. I pray it when every little thing goes wrong. I pray it when things that are dumb happen. I pray it all the darn time.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things i cannot accept, and the wisdom to know the difference.” There’s more to the prayer than that. As simple as this small prayer is, that’s all I want. I want to accept and to forgive. I want wisdom. I want peace. I want serenity. All of those requests are packed into that little prayer.
You know what happened? Life in our house is more serene. We have some peace in our house for the first time in months. We have peace among us for the first time in months. We got along so well that we did a family craft project. Then we did a family fun weekend for my birthday with both our children.
I think there’s two things going on here. 1) prayer is a connection to God. A life-line. When we pray, we’re calling out to him and, He turns to hear. 2) the serenity prayer reminds us of how much we’re not in control, how much we can’t control, and how much fighting reality causes us pain.
Our life together is not perfect – nothing on this earth really is except our imperfection. But, it’s so much better. It helps me refocus my attention on my goal and my God. I complain less. I talk to God more. We have peace in our home, we’re working on being a family, and we get along. That’s all I want in my life. Now, we’re all getting what we want. I call that at win.