Hard Just Happens


We are in a hard season. Normally I’d blog about what’s going on, about what’s hard and what’s helping but if I’m honest I just can’t do it much right now.

This song works well for this post, Hard Times, Eastmountainsouth.

I can’t let everyone in this time, I can’t talk about all the details online and I can’t even post pictures of how our house is coming along. I just can’t fling open the doors right now to show you our hard, beautiful, painful question-laden mess.

This season calls for small circles of sharing and slow, intentional healing.

It’s a season of prayer, wondering, hoping, doubting, trusting and seeing each minute as a chance to start again, believe again, try again.

But writing, writing helps.

Oh and don’t worry, no one is dying, Nickel baby is growing healthy and strong, the bills are paid, even if only just.

Some seasons in life are hard. This is true in the lives of everyone you know. Now, it might be that everyone you know is private about their hard seasons. This seems to be the case more often than not.

Some share it only in small circles because they can only trust a few with the nitty gritty of it all.

Some don’t share at all and burry it deadly deep within, shouldering it unnecessarily alone.

And then there’s over-sharing, in line at the grocery store and on social media, that’s somewhere in the mix too but it’s always hard to know where the shifty, mythical line between vulnerability and over-sharing lies.

But hard seasons, they come. They come no matter how well we plan.

And you know what? I’m finding that they come more than you’d like and that they stay longer than you’d hoped.

A friend texts and says: “Hey! How is it going?”

And you want to say something like: “Better!” but you can’t. Because it’s a lie, and you’re done with that lying game.

You want so desperately to give a good report, to chime in and reassure them that you’re fine but the truth is, you need them to know that really you’re on your ass both literally and figuratively in that moment.

The cloud cover lingers and you wake up some days wondering if you’re broken or to blame.

If only you’d read this book instead of Netflix binging, gone to that counselor, gone running more often, not eaten that, said this thing over the other one, spent less, saved more, developed that habit, gotten up earlier…

Because good people don’t have lingering hard seasons, right?

Wrong. Everyone has hard seasons. It’s not just you.

And again, hard seasons come more often than we’d like … and they stay longer.

Hard is part of the cycle of life, birth, death, joy, struggle, rest… these changes compose the stuff of our earth-treading lives.

You look around and it seems like everyone is doing better than you are, they seem to be killing it, loving it, soaking it all in and earning success that seems miles out of your reach.

Their lives are filled will achievement and glory. They are the embodiment of all those well intentioned quotes you keep meaning to hang on your wall.

It’s not you.

Yes, ultimately you’re the one who has to claw your way out.

But this will be so much easier given these two truths:

1) Hard happens to everyone and often times it lingers.
2) You can’t “good enough” to keep it from happening, no one can.

Marriage is hard, jobs are fickle, kids call for your every resource and the world is broken-beautiful.

You can’t good-enough it away.
You can’t prepare efficiently enough to prevent hard seasons from settling in.

And when they do, you can’t always to-do list them away immediately.

Hard happens.

It’s not just you.

Yes there are things to be done, piles of earth to move from here to there to get back to place of greater peace.

But that earth moves easier with a friend and that shovel is a little lighter without all the shame attached to it.

Hard happens. We’re doing hard right now. Maybe you are too. You’re not alone.

There is a time for every season, but they change.

They change.
This isn’t a forever thing. I know it feels like it today, but it isn’t. It won’t stay.

So pick up your shovel, or stare at it for another hour if you need to.

phone a friend,
say a prayer,
listen to a song,
read a poem.

What are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver, The Summer Day.

Hard happens. To me, to you.

The winds of change and the God of peace has not forgotten me, or you, or the sparrow for that matter.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

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  • SortaCrunchy

    “And you know what? I’m finding that they come more than you’d like and that they stay longer than you’d hoped.”

    Truth, truth. Gosh, this whole thing is just so true. Being done with the lying game is a hard habit for me to break. So thankful for friends to whom I can say, yeah. Things suck right now.

    Love you, friend.

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      Love you back, please always count me as one who you can confess suckitude to.

  • Nika

    Life IS hard- and when it is, that isn’t just an indication that “we must be doing it wrong”. I’ve found those seasons are the ones that shape me and end up teaching me the most – about loving God, loving myself, and loving others. Sometimes, we just keep hanging on and all we can do is focus on one moment (or day or hour) at a time. That’s ok. It’s real and it’s honest and it’s intentional – even if it isn’t always joyful. Take care of yourself and know I am praying for you from out here in blogland.

    • Nika

      Btw, I’ve missed hearing your [blog] voice. I’m thankful you took the risk and posted “the real” about what’s been going on.

      • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

        Thank you Nika, blogland prayers are so cherished and appreciated. The one hour at a time is a rhythm of worship in itself, isn’t it?

  • Lisa K

    Well said, lovely. I’m sorry that this is the season you’re in right now. Love you!

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      Love you back!

  • pastordt

    I am truly sorry for the hard, Leanne. Been missing your voice out here, but assumed you’d be back when the time was right. Praying for peace and healing from whatever this hard is just now.

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      Thank you Diana, it’s very comforting to be missed a bit :)

  • Mark Allman

    Life is hard and especially difficult when the hard lingers. I know we are supposed to be prepared to battle but sometimes I get tired taking up the fight. It is encouraging when someone comes alongside and says I’m in it with you.
    A journeymate makes hard easier to handle.
    I know those times I am not being hammered I need to look around me to see if I can step up and help someone who is being battered by life.
    I do think struggling through hard has it’s rewards. It is sweet when you stick something out and you see the fruits on not throwing in the towel.
    Although I don’t like this fact I know hard has taught me a lot more than easy ever did.

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      You are absolutely right Mark and even in the hard season we can feel it, the making of something profound that never could have come if this journey was easy.

  • Melissa

    Stumbled upon your blog. I agree hard times sometimes stay longer than we expect and friends help a lot. Comforting and beautiful blog post.

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      Hello Melissa and very welcome. Thank you for this comment and for your presence.

  • http://simply-rea.blogspot.com Rea

    So true. I’ve missed seeing your voice in my feed, I’m sorry that things are hard right now. Going through our own version of hard over here, shedding tears and trying to follow on when its the end of a season, not the end of the world. “The winds of change and the God of peace has not forgotten me, or you, or the sparrow for that matter.” Love.

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      End of the season, NOT the end of the world. Yes that. Isn’t it easy to forget?

  • Alysha St Germain

    Leanne, I’ve admired the honesty in your posts from afar for quite a while and I thought this would be a great time to chime in. I know hard. I get hard. I have been through hard times. I am sorry you are going through hard times, but I always know there is a bigger reason for those hard times than we can ever imagine. But, that does not take away the struggle in the midst of the hard times. I am praying for peace, comfort, and strength for you and your little family as you pursue the hard with God by your side.

  • http://dontstopbelieving.me/ Brenda W.

    I’m sorry you’re going through a tough time. :( But thank you for the reminder that hard happens to everyone.