I would be lying if I said it didn’t give me comfort and reassurance when I realise that something I may be finding challenging in my own life is actually something someone else is also finding challenging. Particularly, I suppose, when it comes to aspects of seasons with young children.  Now, I don’t want you to picture me sitting smugly , grinning from ear to ear, as I hear from a friend that she too has fed her children Rice Bubbles for dinner because the shopping is 3 days overdue. It certainly doesn’t make me want to gloat, but it does make me feel like I am not alone. I find this is true of many aspects of life, really. In this season I am in, it is definitely about kids, homemaking, and juggling – or not juggling – work in there. I am not too secretive about my life; for the most part, I am happy to be honest, but I also like to appear capable, which can take some creative deception if I am, in fact, not feeling capable at all. I am realizing more and more though, what a gift it is to be real about our humanity and its difficulties. This is, in essence, the very message of Grace and why we need Jesus. People in my community aren’t really looking for superwomen; they are looking for someone who ‘gets it’. I had a friend over recently – a bit of an impromtu visit with her kids – and my house was not ‘guest ready’. My pride would most certainly say, “Reschedule! Delay an hour at least! Clean the Weetbix from the high chair and quickly wash any wee-residue the kids may have left on the toilet!” But there was no time for that. I had a little speech all prepared to apologise for the state of my house, but I actually felt a little prompting not to. This was my ‘real’ at 9am and I shouldn’t pretend or creatively deceive, that it wasn’t, just because of pride. So, I left it and said nothing (Eeeeek!) But when this friend came in, and I eventually began cleaning the highchair, she said, “I’m glad I am not the only one with Weetbix turning into plaster on the highchair!”  There was relief in her voice. I had helped her enter into a portion of grace because I laid down my domestic goddess pride. Empathy can be powerful, releasing and empowering others, especially if that confession and connection with people allows them to move forward. I am inspired by the Psalms, as I am sure we all are. But I love that many of the Psalms start out talking about how tough it is: “Someone is trying to kill me, the kingdom hates me….” you know, the same as Weetbix on a high chair stuff. But what makes the testimony of these psalmists not make you want to abandon all reason for living is that after the ‘woe is me’ follows hope-fueled praise. Psalm 13How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
 (Ok, yes, David, you are sounding a bit depressing.) But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to [and dealt bountifully with] me.
  (……and just like that, David, you connected with me and moved me forward out of my despair.) Yes, life can be tough, but hope is for us, and kingdom perspective keeps us going. I feel inspired to live like the Psalmist, that maybe the testimony of my life might connect with people needing to feel understood, but then serve to elevate their perspective to one of greater hope and empowerment.