02192016_KristenWelch_OurStruggles

I don’t wear pearls often.

But when I do, I remember the struggle.

My husband gave me the beautiful strand of pearls during a hard season of life. It was a lavish gift for a sweatpants-wearing mom who hadn’t left the house in weeks. Our third baby was born premature and spent the first months of life tethered to a heart monitor.

There was a new job, a new baby, a new set of challenges, a new season to navigate. And it all made me feel very old (and tired).

The day he brought the wrapped pearls home was the first day we attempted to get me out of the house. I laughed at the gift because they seemed so inappropriate for my dirty hair and weary body. But my sweet husband was determined to celebrate the new things in our lives, even though some of them were hard.

He carefully fastened the lustrous strand around my neck and I traded my t-shirt for a dressy top. We loaded up baby and her siblings, medical gear and diaper bag and drove the 2 short miles to our favorite restaurant.

Within a few minutes of sitting down, the waiter accidentally dumped the pitcher of sweet tea into my new diaper bag just as a terrible stomach bug was beginning in my preschool son. I carried him to the bathroom where he got very sick. I propped open the door and tried to wave down a waiter to grab my husband who was busy mopping up tea, jiggling a fussy baby and regretting the whole idea.

We left the restaurant before we even ordered — a sad, soggy, stinky mess. We had a puker in the car and a fragile newborn. It was the car ride of nightmares.

I laughed and cried in my pearls the two miles back home.

Every time I see those pearls hanging in my jewelry box or around my neck, I remember that night. The irony of the pearls and the puke weren’t lost on me.

But it took a while for me to remember how pearls are formed.

Pearls are created in oysters due to an irritant, usually a grain of sand. Grit. Pearls are the outcome of struggle. They are rare and priceless, unique and treasured. They are a product of irritation and are created as defense against something that is hard, something that doesn’t belong.

A pearl is a product of suffering. It is a healed wound.

And it takes perseverance and grit to produce anything.

Life is filled with struggle. But it’s not wasted hardship and trials. Our struggle is irritating and annoying, sometimes it’s heartbreaking and horrible, but it’s producing something good within us.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” {Matthew 13:45-46}

We can’t enjoy a pearl inside an oyster without a great price being paid. Oysters must die to give up their priceless creation, something precious we treasure.

I don’t know what you’re struggle is today or what it will be tomorrow.

Struggle is a part of living, but when we know we are producing something good, it helps us through it.

So, put your pearls on, girl, and thank God in the midst of it. Something good is coming.

by Kristen Welch of We are THAT family.

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  • https://susefishblog.wordpress.com SuseFish

    A wonderful reminder – thank you

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Kristen,
    I remember, with a smile, a similar Mother’s Day brunch we once attempted…it went the way of your pearls and puke episode. Pearls are wonderful reminders that God truly can bring beauty from the ashes and suffering in our lives. The grit that annoys us is often what builds us into being people who can compassionately build God’s kingdom. Keep the faith sister pearls…
    Blessings,
    Bev

  • Anna finley

    Thank you….exactly what I needed to read today……..

  • Joanne Peterson

    Beautiful, true. Pain is rarely looked as a gift, but it is a gift. Pain is a gift we don’t want or ask for as we are going through it, but the results are beautiful if we allow ourselves to be teachable and moldable by Jesus.

  • http://livingcenter.me/ Nancy Wolfe @ livingcenter.me

    My first husband died when I was 38. One day at church, we sang a particularly meaningful song – and what I mean by that is the congregation sang and I sobbed. On the service guide, my very best friend wrote “He will not waste your tears.”
    Like Bev said, those who suffer through a tough experience are so well prepared to “compassionately build God’s kingdom.” It’s hard to learn this truth the hard way, but so worth it for God’s glory.
    I pray that any of us who have suffered great loss or despair will ask for courage to use that pain to support those in need…xoxox

  • http://www.eclecticaffinity.com Jacquelyn

    It’s funny. I consider how pressure and trials create diamonds, but I forget about what pearls go through. I make jewelry as a hobby, and while I stick with the semi-precious variety over things like diamonds or naturally occurring pearls, it’s interesting to think how each—so sparkly or shiny—is created. Pondering a recent post by Emily Freeman, I feel intrigued over making something with pearls now…for me. Thanks. <3

  • Donna B.

    My stepdaughter, age 35, and her 8 yr old son live with us, her father & myself. They have been with us since our grandson was born. I will be 70 in November. My husband works hard as an electrician & due to many uncontrollable circumstances, we have no home of our own, but have to rent; we have no savings, no retirement. We live by faith one day at a time and the Lord always supplies our needs. I suffer from adrenal fatigue, the cumulative effect of many, many years of almost unrelenting pressure & stress. Due to our daughter’s career, the responsibility for rearing our precious grandson falls mostly on my husband & myself & he is the most wonderful child, a blessing to our lives. I tell you all that as background. Here’s the problem: my step-daughter has never really accepted me as her dad’s wife, much less as a mom. She and I are total opposites, in personality, in expression, in thinking, in practically every way. I have made many mistakes with her, but have prayed for years that she would come to accept me and even to love me. So, I am asking for anyone who might to pray that we and our relationship will become those beautiful pearls that Kristen so eloquently describes. Many blessings to us all as God uses these very difficult struggles to transform us into lovely pearls for His glory and kingdom.

    • Beth Williams

      Donna,
      Prayers for you and your stepdaughter. May God change her heart and make her see the good you are trying to do for her and the child.
      God,
      Please help Donna and her stepdaughter to have a better relationship. Restore a friendship and help the step daughter to realize what the step mom is doing for them! Give them a sense of peace and contentment!
      Blessings :)

      • Donna B.

        Thank you Beth so very much for your prayer for us. So very grateful! God bless you always!

  • Penny

    Kristen,
    Your post reminded us not to overlook the vulnerable, thank-you.

    My pearls remind me of my mother who helped teach me strength. Sometimes Canaries like the oyster are sacrificed. But this week mine reminded me through his struggle with illness of Hope and of the Joy he’s brought us after losing her. (I believe sometimes the Lord’s messages are subtle and if our hearts are open we do receive them). After my canary became ill I tried to seek advice from experts who didn’t have any to offer. So I called a friend and my daughter who are bird lovers but struggling through difficult times. Thankfully my canary is thriving again. I feel renewed and hope I can now be a better help to them.

    Penny

  • Rebecca Jones

    I recommend Pastor Joseph Prince’s teaching on this, it’s like nothing I ever heard before, I was blown away. I was always told Jesus was the pearl, but Jesus gave His life for the world, the field, making us the pearls. The oyster suffers a wound, covers the sand or whatever it is with something called “nacre”, sounds like nacker. It covers it over and over, like the Holy Spirit covers us, when the oyster is opened, it suffocates, which occurs in a crucifixion. It is a beautiful parable. I will share this on my blog as well, adaughtersgiftoflove@wordpress.com

  • Beth Williams

    Kristen,
    “Our struggles produce something good in us”. I can attest to that. I’ve been in an on-going struggle with my aging dad’s medical issues this year! It can be hard at times to be there & see him, plus manage his paperwork, etc. I know that through all this God is producing patience-lots of patience in me! Things are finally looking up & I can honestly say “God’s Got This!”
    Blessings :)