• Jen Stone-Sexton

Look Up Child

Updated: Oct 17

Struggles.

We all have them.

Some days we ride the waves, other days they roll in like waves.

Are you in a season of struggle?

You can learn how to rest in the Lord, let go of things out of your control and move forward.

 

Where are you now

When darkness seems to win

Where are you now

When the world is crumbling -

Oh I, I

I hear you say

Look up child

Look up child -

Where are you now

When all I feel is doubt

Where are you now

When I can’t figure it out -

Oh I, I

I hear you say

You’re not threatened by the war

You’re not shaken by the storm

I know you’re in control

Even in our suffering

Even when it can’t be seen

I know you’re in control -

Oh I, I

I hear you say

Look up child

Look up child


- Words and Music by Lauren Daigle


As a musician and vocalist, writer and poet, I love to craft with words, and I tend to think in songs. Songs give voice to emotions deep inside my soul as the lyrics of a song speak to me.


Some years present more rugged roads than others. We thought it was just the year, but I have come to realize seasons of struggle know no boundary of time from one page turn of calendar year to another. The challenges and pain we faced in this particular year came at us like wave upon wave. As soon as we thought life would return to “normal” we were hit with another wave. Remember Rocky Balboa? No matter the beating he took, he would get back up and into the fight. That’s what we felt like. All. Year. Long.


In February of this particular year, my husband fell on an asphalt road while walking our dog, shattering a kneecap and requiring immediate surgery, 6 months in a full leg brace and 9 months of bi-weekly physical therapy. Then in April, my husband’s father’s health took a sudden turn for the worse. The entire family was called, and we gathered in the hospital to say our good-byes. It was simultaneously a beautiful gift and a heartbreaking moment to be with my father-in-law when he made his transition...just days before Easter. The shock and grief that followed were overwhelming, numbing.



My husband's parents were divorced, and his mother lived alone. Within a few days after my husband’s father passed, his mother, was admitted to the hospital. For the next 4 months she was back and forth between the hospital and rehab as she grew weaker and more disoriented.


In addition, I changed jobs in April - a transition set in motion before my father-in-law passed. I was suddenly putting in longer hours than I ever anticipated and had an even longer commute. The relentless stress we were already dealing with intensified.


Due to our long daily commutes, we decided to move. Throughout the spring and into summer we purchased a house, sold ours, then packed, and moved in August. We no sooner got unpacked in early September when my husband’s ex-wife suddenly died leaving us all, especially their sons, reeling from the pain of sudden loss.


About the same time, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with aggressive lymphoma and discharged to a nursing home. Her children lovingly moved her back to her home to live out the last few months of her life in familiar surroundings. Early in the morning, right before Christmas and surrounded by her children, she quietly took her last breath.



The stress of the year took its toll on my health, and I decided to leave the firm at the end of December. And then the global pandemic changed everything. I was suddenly given the incredible and precious gift of time. A gift of rest, reflection, renewal, and restoration. This season of rest re-oriented my life in an entirely new direction.


God provided for us and for our needs in amazing, abundant, and quite unexpected ways! Our loving Father always gives us what we need. Not necessarily what we want. Sometimes. But not always.

“I have been young; now I am old; yet not once have I seen the righteous abandoned or his descendants begging for bread. All day long he is generous and lends, and his descendants are blessed.” Psalm 37:25-26

One of my daily morning habits was to walk with our dog. Often, as I walked and prayed, I found myself staring at the ground or looking at what I saw around me. Many times, I would hear the Lord gently speak to my heavy heart, “Look up child.” So, I would look up. And I would see a different world. I would see the color of the sky, the various cloud formations, and tree tops dancing in the wind, birds flying high above. It changed my perspective. And the change of perspective changed my thoughts. And changed thoughts influenced my emotions. As my perspective changed, sadness, depression, and anxiety lifted and in exchange, I felt peace, hope, and joy.



The Psalms are filled with a change in perspective. From the individual to God. From emotions to God. From the circumstances to God. When we take our eyes off of ourselves, off our circumstances, our perspective changes. The honesty and transparency of David’s struggles and changed perspective speak to me and remind me, Look up Child.


In that season of struggle, I learned to apply and live Philippians 4:6-8. Seasons that force us out of our comfort zone time and time again, can also be seasons of tremendous growth and beauty. Seasons of healing and rest and shaking up and re-ordering our priorities. Our pastor says,


“God desires to move us toward His calling, not our comfort."

What makes the difference is how we look at the struggles.


If we just stare at the struggle, it tends to become larger. But if we are able to see through it to the other side, our faith tends to become larger. Our faith will either grow or diminish based on where we focus. What we fix our eyes on. A mentor of mine says that faith is a lens we look through - how we see things in our lives. It’s not a lever to pull, to fix things in our lives.


Are you in a season of struggle?


If so, how are you seeing this season? Can you see all the gifts that are offered? How is the struggle impacting your life now? What can you change? If circumstances cannot be changed, is the way you view them something that can change? In this strange and unfamiliar – and yes, uncomfortable – place we find ourselves, collectively, globally, can we see opportunities for growth? For good? For grace? For God’s love?


“The place where your greatest discomfort lies
is the place where your greatest opportunity lives.”

Look up child.



Editor's Note:

This blog is by Freedom to Flourish Life Coaching Founder and Christian Life Coach, Jen Stone-Sexton. She is currently accepting new clients. You can learn more about Jen here.



Jennifer Stone-Sexton © 2022 Freedom to Flourish Life Coaching All Rights Reserved.


Photo Credits | Cover: Unsplash | 1: Photo by Adrianna Geo on Unsplash |

2: Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash | 3: Photo by Kazuend on Unsplash

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