January 3, 2017
What to Do When Life Stinks
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Friend to Friend
I love being a grandmother and work hard at finding any excuse to spend time with our grandchildren. I am convinced they keep me young. I also know they are some of my greatest teachers.
Several years ago, I visited our son and daughter-in-law in Charlotte, North Carolina because four of our six grandchildren live with them. Two of the four are twins. As you can imagine, life is anything but dull as Jered and Jodi try to keep up four children – especially the twins. Lelia, a vivacious little bundle of energy with bouncy blonde curls, blue eyes, and a killer smile, and her twin brother, Jaydan, whose blue eyes and dimples could charm the warts right off a frog keep their parents hopping. Some of the things they say are not only hilarious, but wonderfully profound as well.
It was late. Jered was getting the kids ready for bed while Jodi and I enjoyed some uninterrupted “girl time” together. We met at the kitchen island and decided that a snack was in order. Jodi grabbed the crackers out of the pantry while I fished the pimento cheese and grapes out of the refrigerator. So it began - the ritualistic gab session of two women simply catching up on life.
As we talked and laughed, Jaydan wandered in for bedtime hugs and kisses and any reason to delay going to bed. Spotting our food, he quickly pleaded, “Mimi, I need a snack.” I quickly looked at Jodi who nodded her approval. Jaydan pointed at the pimento cheese and said, “I want that!” Jaydan had never eaten pimento cheese, but obviously thought it was high time that he did.
Jodi handed him a cracker. Jaydan tentatively dipped one corner of his cracker into the cheese, raised the cracker to his mouth and inspected it closely. He then bravely took his very first bite of pimento cheese. It was an epic moment.
Jodi and I watched carefully for any reaction. None came. Jaydan once again eyed the cracker, dipped it into the pimento cheese, and this time, he came up with an impressive lump of cheese clinging to the now soggy and slightly limp cracker. Turning the concoction over in his little hand, my brave grandson closely inspected the gooey, yellow substance one more time before slowly easing the cracker into his mouth. Jaydan’s eyes widened and promptly filled with tears. He quickly spit out the obviously disgusting mixture and vigorously shook his head. A pair of accusing blue eyes met ours. Jodi and I were really trying not to laugh - which only made things worse.
Jaydan was obviously disappointed in both his grandmother and mother who were supposed to protect him from things like pimento cheese. Jaydan sent the silent but clear message that the very existence of pimento cheese was somehow our fault. He then ceremoniously wiped the back of his little hand across his mouth and firmly announced, “No! I can’t wike it!” Translation: Jaydan Scott Southerland does not like pimento cheese at all! Final answer!
I sometimes feel that way about life. I don’t like it when things aren’t going my way, and I am faced with a problem I cannot solve or a person I find hard to love.
When I was molested, I didn’t like it.
When my mother died after years of battling cancer, I didn’t like it.
When my husband went into cardiac arrest and almost died, I didn’t like it.
When I found myself battling clinical depression, I didn’t like it!
I could go on, but you get the idea.
Sometimes, life just stinks!
For years, I simply plastered a fake but very religious smile on my face and pretended that I was strong enough to withstand whatever storm I was facing. That strategy seemed to work for a while, but then the pain and helplessness suddenly washed over me like a tidal wave, bringing me to my knees. I was afraid to share my pain and fear with anyone because then they would see me for what I really am – mortal.
Over the years, I have learned some important truths about pain and its purpose in my life. God is not committed to my comfort, but He is committed to my character. I need to let God be God in my life and choose to trust Him – no matter what. I need to put my feelings in their place and choose to believe God’s Word instead. Even when I can’t see the end of the journey, I need to be willing to take the first step in faith.
So the next time you have more questions than answers, more fears than faith, or more darkness than light, remember the truth that God really is in control. No matter what storm you are facing, God’s got it!
Father, I love You! I may not always understand or like how You work in my life, but I want to grow to the place where I trust You anyway. Please help me learn how to walk by faith … not by sight. When the hard times come, teach me to trust You fully.
In Jesus Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Pour out your heart to your God, asking Him to uncover the dark places in your life. Record each one in your journal. Be honest. Each day this week, read aloud Psalm 40:1-3 and claim it as a certain hope from God’s heart to yours.
More from the Girlfriends
We all have storms at some point in life. How we face and deal with those storms can mean the difference between a life of victory and a life of defeat. Strength for the Storm is the powerful message of Mary’s struggle with clinical depression.
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