I know this life isn't all there is, and our focus should really be on eternity. But the here-and-now is what I'm faced with every day. And it isn't easy.
I've been brutally honest about my struggles (or at least as much as possible without hurting too many feelings), and how in the midst of it all God has pulled me up from despair, slapped me a couple of times to get my attention, and then blessed me in ways I probably don't even recognize.
But that doesn't mean it isn't difficult. My family is still struggling financially (although it isn't as hopeless as before). Every day the kids mention one thing or another their friends have that we can't (or won't) buy for them. College is just a little over a year away for the oldest grandchild (and we have maybe enough saved to cover a semester or two at a state school). My husband and I will celebrate our 32nd anniversary next week, but can't even dream of a romantic getaway; at this point, we're just hoping we can slip away for dinner without something going wrong. And I watch other people--especially those who should be the ones shouldering these burdens--spending life living only for themselves.
I watch as those who walked away from their responsibilities are lauded as wonderful people, deserving only of the best in life. My granddaughter's paternal grandmother sends gifts to my house to be passed along to my daughter, the birth mother, to show her how special she is for giving birth. Meanwhile, I spend my days alone, keeping house, cooking meals, doing laundry, and listening to teenage angst that threatens to last forever. And never an encouraging word, much less expressions of appreciation.
I know God has given my husband and me this task, and I think I know why. And I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of two children I adore. Someday I'll stand in the presence of my Lord, and I hope He'll say, "Well done, my child". (But I suspect He'll say, "I gave you one task, and you complained about it constantly. Go sit in the corner until I can stand to look at you.") Either way, I'll continue my struggle, do the job I was given to the best of my ability, and know that in the end I might very well have changed the lives of my two granddaughters for the better. And that makes it all worthwhile.
Even if I don't feel it at this moment.