hardship & character

September 7, 2013

i’ve had a few great conversations lately about the benefit of hardship in our children’s lives … and how equally difficult it is, especially as mama’s, to allow the hardship.

i realize that i am a blessed beneficiary of the hardship my husband endured growing up (and honestly experiences to this day). that sounds strange, perhaps, but here is what i mean: my husband is a humble, long-suffering servant … due in no small part to experiences of sustained racism (coffee boy for years as a navy sailor when ultimately he tested so high he was put in charge of an entire engineering plant?? after years of degrading coffee service?? without complaint, but using his down time to study so as to show himself knowledgeable when he was finally given the chance to show his skill?? how many young people today would flip out on day 4 of this humiliating work, throw a fit and give up?).

he was raised by a single mother, raising 5 black children in the south. life was not easy.


his story is filled with both moments and seasons of great hardship.

no one spared him.

and as much as i my heart aches knowing this, his story … i recognize that this story has created the fabric of the man to whom i am married. the man who never whines, who doesn’t complain, who is tireless in his efforts and love, who serves wholly without counting the cost.

i am a blessed woman to be married to him.

and don’t i want this for my kids? for them to be prepared;  to have hardship enough in their life to be prepared and have practice doing the hard thing when it doesn’t feel good; overcoming their feelings to do the right thing?

don’t i want this for their future spouses?

i do, and so i resolve again to keep my focus on the longer term picture of raising these babies up, not being mired in their current comfort (or discomfort) but in the character developing within them.


6 Responses to “hardship & character”

  1. Jessica Krohn Says:

    My beautiful friend….this is so well said and such a truth that we don’t like to look at as parents. Our desire for that perfectly happy all the time life, is not what often builds good character in us or our children and yet society tells us that if we give our kids any less, we are less. But that is just not true or realistic!

    Love this post! Great nuggets of wisdom! And PS…..you have such an amazing and intelligent husband! If it never fully happens on earth, our Heavenly Father will give him a crown full of precious stones for all that your Hubby has done, endured, given, studied, and loved. Thank you Jesus that we have such a good God. In the end….blessings will come in abundance!

  2. Interesting perspective. My husband was physically abused by his stepfather, grandmother and uncles. I don’t wish that treatment on any child but you’re right, it has made him the man he is. It’s all a piece of his wonderful personality. But did he need that abuse to be kind, loving & self sacrificing? I don’t think so. It’s a choice for him even now to repeat the generational sins or do the grace thing. And those wounds are not without their continuing difficulties. His confidence in himself is irreparably shaken. As wonderful as I think he is and tell him so, 100 compliments fade in the light of one criticism.

    Now, I’m not arguing with you. I do think hardship makes deeper personalities, and there are many hardships we cannot shield the kids from if we tried, but I want my children to have fond, comfortable memories of their time at home–even if they don’t like the chores 🙂

    And I agree with jessica: you have a wonderful husband. He loves you dearly and it is beautiful to see.

    • home2learn Says:

      lori, thank you for sharing this! i absolutely did not mean abuse in any way, as a form of “good” hardship to be endured. no way! my heart really is to allow more “acceptable” hardship to exist for my children; manageable, age-appropriate, natural consequences-type stuff – the things that often as a mama i find myself trying to mitigate.
      you have SUCH an amazing hubby!!! love you both!

  3. Stacy Says:

    dear Emily,
    Thank you for your kind words in my in-box this morning. What a gift to open up an email to such sweet encouragement! (((thank you))). As for this post– powerful. What a man God has blessed you with! And- you are so right about how God allows suffering in order to refine us and shape our character. He would not be the same man today without that part of his story.

    I think it’s such a good perspective to have in parenting, too. I’ve said to Mark that I truly do trust our children into His hands. What He gives them (and will give them in the years to come) is for their good, so while you don’t wish heartache on anyone, we can trust in the One who allows it (and uses it)! We serve a good God!

    It reminds me of that verse woven into the story of Joseph- where he greets his brothers again and says “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” YES! I love that. What is meant to harm us (Satan), God allows and uses for GOOD for HIS purposes. Love it.


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