Easy: leaning into grace when life is hard

Easy doesn’t define my days. Childhood prepared me to face life as a battleground, ready for further wounding and pain.

As I wrote in a poem called ‘Childhood blues’ –

“I’ve lived a closed and covert life

where shame sat on the doormat

where secrets and lies abide

alongside acid anger flaring

fast as a match to light

yet another cigarette

to sour a fog-hazed atmosphere

you could cut with a knife..”

And the pain came, emotionally at first then extending to the physical, making living and loving challenging.

I'm learning to rest easy in God's love, and appreciate His daily goodness and grace. Click To Tweet

But it’s hard most days. There are large hurdles to overcome as I trip and stumble my way through this world.

Life bites back with insecurity when you’ve grown up feeling unloved and experienced childhood abuse.

being quiet in solitudeIf I surrender more to God’s work in me, if I learn to receive and give love fully to others, then maybe I’ll start to rest more secure and serene in His current of grace and let it run through me so that it can refresh others.

How easy is that going to be? I wish I knew, because I’ve already spent a lifetime dragged toward the negative due to flawed early patterning weaving itself into my tender child-mind.

I long to become fully released, healed and whole from the inside out and that takes time and so much grace.

I want to fly free, with fetters removed, live uncaged and unchained as God intends us to be. Click To Tweet

My pen falters as I try to write these things because I’m reacting inwardly to a word in a way I don’t want to.

Sadness so often sits heavy with me unless I fight hard against it, and oh how I do!

I want to write to bring God's light, life, joy, hope and encouragement to hurting souls. Click To Tweet

But it’s not easy...I plumb the depths of my insecure soul, seeking for some solace, a crumb of comfort to offer another, hoping they will see how God’s grace meets us right where we’re at.

Sharing truth means allowing ourselves be open and real, even when we long to have a different story to tell.


Today I’ve lost track of time, veered down painful places in my memories. It’s a post I hesitated to press ‘publish’ on, but I offer my brokenness and vulnerability to help you know you’re not alone with your struggles.

I’m joining with the caring five-minute-friday community over at Kate Motaung’s site, writing on the prompt ‘easy’. You can read the rest of the posts here.

Also with Barbie and Carrie at their beautiful new blog ‘Let Us Walk Worthy’, for the link up, ‘Let us Grow’ as we share what God is teaching us. It seems He’s revealing my need to keep seeking out His joy like gold nuggets glittering in a muddy field, to not give up writing even when it tends toward the negative, to keep on discovering grace in life’s hard places.

**The poem excerpt quoted above is from my book, ‘Seeking Solace: discovering grace in life’s hard places’ which is a semi-memoir looking at love, life, loss and faith. It’s currently available as a Kindle book on amazon. To access it on the UK site, please click the link on the sidebar of the blog. A paper copy will be available soon.**

28 thoughts on “Easy: leaning into grace when life is hard”

  1. Thank you for your vulnerability and encouragement today. I pray that the Lord will strengthen you to continue to reach out to others in this way. May His joy and peace fill you and overflow onto those around you.

    1. Hi Rachel. Thank you so much for your kind encouragement and thoughtful prayer. I would love to have God’s joy and peace fill me and overflow out to those around me. It’s my greatest desire to be a vessel whereby others can be blessed, encouraged and refreshed. But when I write like this it seems a distant dream sometimes. Bless you for stopping by.

  2. Joy, I know this wasn’t easy to write. But so much THIS: “Sharing truth means allowing ourselves be open and real, even when we long to have a different story to tell.” I’m in the 6 spot this week.

    1. Tara, your post made me smile. I love how you wove your story of learning to ride a bike into the theme. You do my heart good, friend! 🙂 x

  3. Thank you for your openness and vulnerability. I love your comment that “God’s grace meets us right where we’re at.” Praying for you to know him meeting with you where you’re at today and for continued healing and restoration.

    1. Carly, it’s so important for us to know we don’t have to struggle or be in a special place to experience God’s grace, isn’t it? All He asks is that we have open, receptive hearts and minds. I’ve met more with God in the daily over the last few years than I ever did when I was well enough to attend church. It’s most likely a fuller measure of grace because of the circumstances I’m in. He speaks into all of our situations and provides all the help we ever need. Thank you for your lovely prayer. I truly appreciate you being here, my friend.

    1. Helen, just seeing you here has lifted my spirits. I look forward to hearing from you! Have a blessed weekend. 🙂 x

  4. Thank you for sharing your struggles with such realness and vulnerability. I think that is the coolest thing about being human is that even though we are different, we go through a lot of the similar things. Because of that we can relate to each other and rest in God together. Such a faithful God. # 5 on fmf

    1. Hi Kristina. It’s lovely to meet you. Yes, it’s good to share similar struggles. It helps us to feel less alone and able to encourage one another on the journey of life and faith. The strong can lift the weak and weary, and the wise can guide those who need new insight. Thank you for adding to the conversation here. Hope to stop by your blog as soon as I can. Bless you, friend.

  5. Joy, thank you for pushing Publish. It is hard to do what you shared here: “If I surrender more to God’s work in me, if I learn to receive and give love fully to others, then maybe I’ll start to rest more secure and serene in His current of grace and let it run through me so that it can refresh others.”

    But, it’s only as we surrender that God can do the work (sometimes painful) of healing in our hearts, our thoughts and our lives. God is crafting in you an amazing, beautiful, powerful story. And I suspect He’s already using you as a wounded healer to bring hope to others through your writing and in your daily interactions.

    May you continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, my sweet friend.

    1. Jeanne, I write my intentions out but at the same time I’m aware of how hard it can be to follow through on them. Thankfully, God will provide a way where we cannot see the road ahead. Surrender is indeed a key thing in our walk of faith. I sense God is doing an unearthing work in me. The discouragement and sadness I’ve been sitting with for months is partly caused by SAD and extreme fatigue, but I believe it’s also because things that need shaking are being shaken, and that’s an uncomfortable feeling! The beautiful bible verse you prayed here is one I was given at my baptism. It hits me afresh that God will do the growing as I do the yielding. And describing me as a “wounded healer” also echoes words given in prayer recently. I’m awed and oh so thankful for receiving them again, and deeply grateful for your insightful presence here, sweet friend.

  6. I so identify with you, Joy. “I long to become fully released, healed and whole from the inside out and that takes time and so much grace.” I know that intense longing. It’s tough to keep looking to the Sonshine when our hearts feel so heavy, isn’t it? Let’s keep holding each other up and clinging to Jesus who has promised He will never leave or forsake us. Blessings and hugs to you!

    1. Trudy, I knew those words would resonate in your heart. It’s a deep soul longing when we’ve been hurt the way we have. Your words and presence here are a source of great support and comfort to me and I thank God for you. Blessings and hugs returned! Xx

  7. Oh, Joy, I hear you!

    Childhood, for me, does not commend itself to memory. At the age of eleven I acquired a .45 Automatic, and made sure that those who would have chosen to continue abuse would face consequences. And I chose to live wild, in the hills.

    Good preparation for much of my life, though, and excellent preparation for the gruesome Now.

    Funny how God works.

    #1 at FMF this week.

    1. Andrew, your early life experiences sound pretty full on. Material for a book if not for making and shaping you. As you say, they have served as preparation for what you’ve had to face and are currently going through. It is indeed strange how God works and not easy to fathom at times. But I do clearly see Him working powerfully in and through you as you share the hard and ugly “gruesome Now” and how you are sustained and given strength to deal with it. Praying for you, friend. Honoured to see you here. I hope to stop by and read your post soon.

  8. Thank you for sharing your poem – and your heart. So thankful that God is able to bind up the broken hearted and set the captive free, and for your testimony that this is true. We do forget.

    1. Amen to this: “So thankful that God us able to bind up the broken hearted and set the captive free.” Becoming free may take longer than we like and not be completed in this lifetime, but it happens all the same. Each tiny step we take on the path toward greater wholeness and healing is progress, witness and grace. Thank you for adding your insights here, Michele.

  9. Oh, Joy, I know it will happen for you – this path to healing. I know God will bring a wholeness to you so you may give and receive love fully. From one survivor to another, my prayers always!

    1. Carrie, I wish you hadn’t experienced life like this, but your words and prayers are such a great encouragement to me. Thank you! I’m praying for you too because scars linger and often catch us unaware years down the line. May you walk in the full freedom which Christ died to give you, and have His hope as an anchor for your soul while you live out your faith in a fallen world. Blessed to see you here, my friend, and blessed even more to be your sister-survivor. Xx

  10. Thank you, Joy, for this post! Your raw courage to put the pain down in in black and white gives me hope. Walked the borderland this week. Don’t have a clue why. My head is filled with a tsunami of darkness. My wife has been an extreme blessing these days! Her presence has provided some degree of security. Continue the good work, wounded warrior!

    1. Tom, I really appreciate you being here and leaving a lovely encouraging comment. Thank you! I popped over to read your post about the basics of life and how we can learn to live a satisfied life with our “mind and heart—put right.” Thankfully, Jesus is the One we look to for this to happen as God intended. Striving in the flesh will only get us so far. And as you and I have discovered, a soul can so easily lean hard toward darkness and sink with discouragement, and often the reasons why seem inexplicable. I’m so sorry to hear of your recent struggles, but I’m pleased that your wife has been such a great source of help and encouragement to you, just as my husband is for me. I’m praying for you to be lifted by God’s grace and given renewed hope each day. Bless you, friend.

  11. Joy,

    I am often drawn in by your simple grace and the gentle spirit you extend. Each time I read your words I remember that Love covers a multitude of sins and I see the way God has taken what you have given him, your life, and allowed others to be blessed by the fruit of your words. Thank you for hitting publish and for sharing the hard and the beautiful all in one. Praying for healing and for hope and for a reminder that He is with you always and that He doesn’t waste our hard times.

    I loved this>… If I surrender more to God’s work in me, if I learn to receive and give love fully to others, then maybe I’ll start to rest more secure and serene in His current of grace and let it run through me so that it can refresh others.

    That is it… when we are healed by His mercy, completed by His love, filled up by His Grace… we are a refreshment to others. We are filled up in love so that we can extend it to others.

    I would love to see you share this at my #GraceMoments Link up. 🙂

    1. Dawn, I am feeling rather stunned and lost for words after reading your beautiful comment. God knew my weary soul needed a dose of encouragement and has amply provided it with your uplifting and reassuring thoughts. It’s hard to step outside ourselves and witness God’s work in us, but you have provided a mirror whereby I’ve been given a glimpse of it. Thank you SO much for sharing and caring and praying! I am touched and deeply thankful. I hope to come over and add this post to your #GraceMoments link up tomorrow. May God bless you abundantly for refreshing me in the way you have. It truly is a gift and I’m happy to be a grateful recipient. Xx 🙂

    1. Thanks, Linda. A picture tells a story, doesn’t it? I’m glad this one spoke so powerfully to you. I chose it because it seemed to symbolise the way God’s grace shines its presence at the edges of everything, even when circumstances make it misty and hard to discern. Bless you, friend.

  12. Your words are truly touching this morning. I often feel as if I have nothing to give in the writing of my life. So much hurt, brokenness, things I’m still working through. But I’ve learned that the more I allow God to take my vulnerable heart and share it with the world, it somehow speeds up my healing. Your words always give me hope and I so appreciate you sharing them with us.

    1. Oh Barbie, you have plenty to give. We are more than our pain, hurts and brokenness, yet in the sharing of them we also open a door whereby others can be blessed and encouraged in their walk with God. This is so true: “the more I allow God to take my vulnerable heart and share it with the world, it somehow speeds up my healing.” Yes and Amen! I value that depth of openness in you, your sweet transparency and honesty, your courage in writing out of experience as a ‘work in progress’. It speaks strongly to me and to all who read your words. You have a beautiful, trusting spirit which clings hard to God in the midst of life’s challenges. I so appreciate you being here and sharing as you do. Bless you, friend. x

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