31 January 2013

A Simple How-To Guide

The past several months have been chalk full of ups and downs. It's so odd to me how life can be so low and yet so high all at the same time. I truly believe we learn a heck of a lot more from our low points versus when we feel on top of the world. When we're feeling like we have this life thing down pat, we tend to think more about ourselves. Real growth happens during our trials.  It can make people more compassionate to others, it can be humbling and cathartic. I typically have a  'suck it up, dust yourself off and make it better' attitude which is how my Mom raised me and because I don't want my kids to view me as a victim. I know my kids are watching my every move. Bad times can change a person for the better (which is the up part of being down) and I've had the privilege of having a front row seat in watching this transformation happen.

My husband lost his job back in October. The poor guy had never experienced losing a job in his life. After the shock, the fear, and the "are you kidding me?" wore off he dusted himself off and hit the ground running. His low brought on such a high. He uttered these words to me today with a fire in his eyes... "God has changed me. He's given me confidence I didn't know I had. I know everything is going to be okay."  YES!! YES!! YES!!! That's what I've been telling him since I fell in love with him. I couldn't make him believe in himself  the way I've always believed in him. Trials can make or break a person and I believe the key is how we choose to view the trial.  

I've also had the privilege of watching my best friend (that feels so high school but she really is my best friend) emerge from a divorce with the most amazing display of grace and laugh-so-hard-you-snort-and-cry humor imaginable. She was on the receiving end of the divorce yet still manages to hold her head high without the "I can't believe this happened to me" air about her. The most beautiful aspect of her grace is that she can look back on it and dare I say it??? .....take  responsibility for her role with a "it takes two to make a marriage work and two to mess it up"  attitude. Though a SAHM for many years she's now one of the most gifted and sought-after teachers at my kids' school. Her circumstances did define her but in the best way possible.  Her kids will look back on this chapter of their life and remember their mom being vibrant and joyful (on rare occasions a yeller but that adds to their character and seriously it's funny because I can relate).  I can say with confidence her daughter won't grow up thinking men can't be trusted and her son won't have a chip on his shoulder. They've been allowed to love their Dad in the same way they did before the big D happened. How beautiful is that? Granted, I also had a front-row seat to those moments of panic and eff-bombs and late night texts and one too many margaritas but now, you'd find it hard to believe that just a couple years ago she was going about her life with the assumption that her tomorrow would be the same as her yesterday. 

We have to LEARN to be content. Sometimes being content doesn't happen naturally.  Now I realize that there are people that have been through far worse than I've ever experienced (though I do have a handful of ummm...unpleasant experiences that have shaped me)  and I'm not saying I am always grace-filled but I do believe this; we have work to find the good in the bad and that, my friends,  is half the battle. 


Liana Marie said...

beautifully said! you are all going to be great because God is working in every situation- I admire your strength and perseverance through all your trials and know you have some good things coming your way! xoxo

tracie stier-johnson said...

amen, amen, amen!! i too, have learned ... it truly is possible to find joy in anguish. we have a Savior that loves us, holds us, has plans for us ... when we live in that and remember it ... the joy comes easier and faster.