Thursday, October 2, 2014

When The Days Aren't Always So Sunny

I'm hopeful. I really am. I always lean towards optimism and positivity. I'm a glass-is-half-full, Pollyanna, look at the bright side kind of girl. I might be this way to a fault as I sometimes live in my own little HappyLand and try my darndest not to let anything filled with sadness into my world. If I read a horrific headline, I choose not to read that article. Sad story on the news? Change the channel. If I'm reading a novel and I get to the end and the author chooses to have the heroine die, I am angry for weeks. Weeks, I tell you. I surround myself with happy people and I purposefully create a little circle of bliss. Yes, bad things happen, yes, I acknowledge them.... but I try to find the humor in everything and I try not to let it affect my day. I just choose joy 90% of the time. 

Unfortunately, sometimes, I can't ignore things. The bubble has burst. Sometimes the pain is so close to you that you can't turn away. I don't know about you, but 2014 has been a very heavy year. Not necessarily for me personally, but for many of my nearest and dearest.... and if my people are hurting, then I am hurting. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy, thankful, and so grateful to walk through life with my friends and family - even the hard seasons - but still, when everything is piled on into one calendar year... it's just heavy. Heavy, heavy, heavy.

I know all of us experience seasons like this. People lose their jobs unexpectedly. Children get sick. Parents get sick. Infertility. Marriages fall apart. Cancer. Diseases. Someone is pregnant one day and then the next day they just aren't anymore. A phone call that changes everything, forever. We all have experienced it or held the hand of someone experiencing it. It's what friendship is, it's what family is. It's what you do. 

What starts to happen though, at least to me, is that a dark cloud comes over my household. Grant tells me that my demeanor has changed. "I'm just sad" I'll say to him. It's not like I walk around crying (although I have my days) but most of the time I just feel heavy and burdened. Again, it's not even "my problem", but I hate when those I love are hurting. And I spend a lot of time asking the Lord for guidance and answers and healing and it's just a different look than my usual, blissfully unaware state of living. 

It also brings fear. Fear of what could happen next. Fear that something more serious is coming. Fear that it could happen to me next. 

But I don't want to be that way. I don't like it. I don't like sitting around and worrying about what news the next text message to pop up on my phone might bring. So how do you choose joy when you can't ignore or get away from the heaviness? How do you smile and play and live a normal life while the elephant in the room is standing there, being very stubborn, and will not leave no matter how much you pray him away?

Trust Him. It is so hard to do sometimes. Trust in God. Trust that His ways are better than Your ways, His thoughts are higher than Your thoughts. Trust that He sees this, He knows, He saw it coming, and He has a plan. He is with you through the fire. He is Sovereign. He exists outside of time and space, He knows the end of this story. He knows the final destination of whatever the issue is that you are facing. Just walk with Him as he guides you down this path, as twisty and confusing as it is.  I remember a song from many years ago that I sing to myself sometimes when I'm panicking:

God is too wise to be mistaken. 
God is too good to be unkind.
So when you don't understand,
When you can't see His plan, 
When you can't trace His hand,
Trust His heart. 

Know that He has plans for You, plans to prosper and not to harm. He is for you, not against. He is love. 

Pray. When you're feeling dark and heavy, pray for peace and hope. Pray for a glimmer of light. Sometimes I feel so burdened that I don't even know how to pray. I don't know what to say or do. "Jesus, please...." is all I can muster at times. But that is enough. Romans 8 says that when we don't know what to pray, the Sprit intercedes for us in groans that words can not express. Your prayers don't have to be well thought out or eloquent. Just pray.

Try not to dwell. Try not to live there in that space, in that sadness. Sometimes, Grant will tell me "we're not going to talk about any of that tonight." Turn it off for a bit. Talk about something else... something other than the junk you're in. Look, I'm not gonna sit here and try to tell you to "think happy thoughts!", but seriously, try to choose joy. Try to find something good everyday. Bring some joy back, somehow, even if it's just for a few minutes.  

And one day, you'll come out on the other side of this season... and you'll have the answer... and maybe it will be the one you want, maybe it won't be... but you will be okay and He can make beauty from ashes. What was meant for evil, He can turn to good.

We are being refined. 

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." - Philippians 4:8


  1. Before I knew the title of the song you quoted, I called it the God's not mean song. The first time I heard it we found ourselves in a job loss we did not understand and our world seemed to be crashing in on us. Peggy made me come to a concert with her at church and there in the midst of questions and being mad at God, those words soothed my anxious spirit like a balm. Afterwards I wanted to get the CD so Roy could hear those words....I asked for the CD with God"s Not Mean took a while, but we figured it out. Thank you for reminding me this morning of how I began trusting God in our situation and He showed Himself faithful and true.