tripping: how God meets with us when life gets tough – snapshot #3

tripping - how God uses everything we go through - snapshot #3

We’re caught by surprise sometimes on attempting things we used to do before with relative ease but now find challenging. I’m largely housebound and incapacitated by chronic illness, but I can still totter around my small home and navigate a few steps (albeit painfully and slowly) most of the time.

But set my feet on concrete, ask me to pound pavement, and I’m all over the place, unsteady as can be. I have bad balance, limb stiffness, weakness and pain to contend with, which makes walking very slow, arduous at best and impossible at worst, when the territory is uneven.

Years ago I realised that a wheelchair was the best mode of transport for me. Sadly, there wasn’t anyone reliably able, available and fit enough to take me out in one, so I only borrowed a set of wheels when it was absolutely necessary.

I made a trip to the city recently and thought I would try to get there by bus, knowing how hard it can be to park the car.  I wanted to try stretching my limbs and limits (maybe you can relate?) in the vain hope of being able to accompany my grandson home from his first day at school next week.

Dear reader, I struggled. Pain was severe and I nearly cried out loud. I halted several times and barely covered one third of the necessary distance to reach my school collection goal. We caught a taxi home.

Later on, as I sat with frustration, I looked at my photos and wrote a poem about the experience. It was a surprise grace gift, arising from a hard thing, such as God delights to provide for you and me. Things don’t seem so bad when viewed from God’s perspective. I can’t manage the walk but I can be the one welcoming our grandson home at the door.

God is constantly rewriting our stories, blending them into His greater narrative. What seems to be causing us to fall just might lift our souls more than we can know. I’m grateful for God’s keeping power and my dependence on Him, even if my story has taken several unwanted twists and turns.

tripping - God is constantly rewriting our stories quote (C)joylenton

Here’s the tanka pentaptych poem that arose from my tough time above…


visit to the city
idle bus window browsing
I need new specs
I like my life blurry
not in such sharp focus

people mill
cluster around attractions
bright eared hares
decorating the pavement
we see them everywhere

I’m unsteady
my gait uneasy outside
like a drunk
I stumble and cling hard
holding on to stick and arm

these sea legs
wobble over cobbles
trip on the cracks
cannot go far without sinking
I feel like turning back

air is crisp
scent of leaves, fuel, flowers
August at an end
much is dead or dying
pain reminds me I’m alive
© joylenton

How has God met you at your point of need? Have you been able to trace His hand in the hard experiences of life? Let’s encourage one another in the comments below.

tripping tanka poem excerpt (C)joylenton

12 thoughts on “tripping: how God meets with us when life gets tough – snapshot #3

    • Thanks for sharing this post with your readers, Michael! I prefer to centre on God’s grace, on gratitude and joy, and focus more on the good rather than the painful, but sometimes the hard aspects of life need to be shared as well. Hopefully, it can help others to feel less alone with their struggles. Bless you, Brother. 💜

  1. Oh Dear Joy,
    What precious thoughts and words God gave you to share here. This especially touched me, “It was a surprise grace gift, arising from a hard thing, such as God delights to provide for you and me. Things don’t seem so bad when viewed from God’s perspective.” Because recently, after a very hard night, when I was so discouraged over the difficulties I had faced through those long hours, I heard Jesus rejoicing, saying “Yay! It’s a victory! You made it through the night!” What we count as failure, He does see so differently, doesn’t He? What a victory you found, as you found God’s grace meeting you there. And you were able to meet your Grandson with that same grace. You are in my prayers dear friend, through all of these hard and painful days. Love and Gentle Hugs for you! xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, oh how marvellous it is to hear our Lord rejoicing over such seemingly tiny things! The miniscule achievements we gloss over or make too little of. God’s focus on the small helps us remember that nothing is insignificant to Him, least of all ourselves, and all is reason to rejoice when we trace His hand at work in the minutiae of our lives. I love the way you have described it here: “What we count as failure, He does see so differently, doesn’t He?” Yes, indeed! I have yet to travel to visit family. This is our preparation week. But I am confident I will meet with God’s grace at every turn of the journey and beyond. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. I remember you too, especially as I begin my night’s rest. May you be given God’s all sufficient strength to see you through “all of these hard and painful days.” Love and hugs to you too! xoxo 💜

  2. I know about pain, it is something that is hard to count as joy as the Bible says, but I have had to, and while I kow pain I know healing also. I hope you find strength to not ever have to settle for a wheelchair. Are you aware of the new upright walkers that let you stand and rest your arms on it, they are not like walking bent over. I know you are in England, but they advertise them in the states. Let me know and I can find you a link if you’d like.

    • Rebecca, I’m so sorry you are familiar with pain as well. It’s an unwanted companion and one we would love to get shot of. Healing is possible, I know, having experienced degrees of it too, especially emotionally. I hope to have strength enough to cope with whatever comes my way, and wisdom enough to know when I might need extra resources to assist me with daily life. We have walkers here too. I tried one out once but found it a bit too heavy and cumbersome. It might be worthwhile to have a fresh look at them. I haven’t ruled them out and have also considered getting a mobility scooter at some stage. Do feel free to send me a link. I can always check it out to see how they compare to ones we have here. It’s probably best to send it via my contact form. Thanks! xo 😊💜

  3. I’m so sorry things keep getting more challenging for you, Joy. I admire you though for stepping out in fear. I love this – “It was a surprise grace gift, arising from a hard thing, such as God delights to provide for you and me.” Yes, His perspective makes it so much better. Those surprise grace gifts usually do arise through painful experiences, don’t they? I hope you are rested since your trip. It’s hard to believe your grandson is old enough to go to school already! Love and hugs to you!

    • Trudy, I so appreciate your kind thoughtfulness. And I’m delighted you found a soul nugget in the midst of my story! I love the unexpected grace gifts God sends to us, like whispered reassurance from heaven. Life might be tough at times, as you know all too well, but God is tougher still in His determination to bless us at every turn! I’m rested after the trip to the city but I am also busy again this week, preparing to visit family and be around when our grandson starts school. We can barely believe he’s reached that important milestone! Time sure has flown. Love and hugs to you too, dear friend! xo 😊💜

  4. I know, also, what such times are.. God is our help, a very present one, when I called out to Him, in recent distress with my walking.. His whispered reply was
    “I will give the grace .. you must take the first step, and then another.. I will be with you …. and you will overcome.” x

    • What a beautiful description of the walk of faith! It’s one we need to remember day by day in our battle to overcome adversity by God’s grace. Thanks for sharing it here. God surely is our ever-present help in trouble and the hand we hold onto whenever we stumble. May we both walk strong in Him even if we falter when taking those steps. Blessings of strength and healing to you. x 💜

  5. Oh, Joy, this is so good! I meant to come read it sooner, but I’ve been pretty busy. I’m so glad to have read it tonight. “God is constantly rewriting our stories, blending them into His greater narrative. What seems to be causing us to fall just might lift our souls more than we can know. ” I needed this reminder tonight. No matter what twists and turns my life takes, I can trust that God is writing it into the “bigger narrative.” Blessings and love to you, Joy! Thank you for showing us how joy can even come out of pain as you try to see from God’s perspective. xoxo

    • Dear Gayl, it’s always a pleasure to see you here whenever you can manage to drop by. I understand those feelings of overwhelm and constantly playing catch up. It’s good to know those words spoke to you. They were a gift for me as well! Our lives can feel like tangled threads and meandering story lines, so it’s helpful to be reminded that God sees the fuller picture and assists us with the unraveling of meaning and purpose. Pain can be a hard taskmaster, but it is useful for enabling us to learn the spiritual lessons being woven within its chafing fabric. Over time we discover how increasing dependency on God leads to a deeper surrender of spirit and heart. Blessings and love to you too! xoxo 💜

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