As I’ve mentioned before, my life often seems to be ruled by Murphy’s Law—if something can go wrong, it will. I’ll fully admit that at one point this stressed me out but, after coming to terms with this rule in my life, I learned to accept it. I grew to not only accept that bad things were going to happen, but to actually expect them to happen.
If you go back to our early years of being married and ask CJ, he would tell you that the only thing about me that he desired to change was my pessimism. He saw my “bad things are inevitable” attitude as fatalistic and pessimistic. As a naturally positive person, it drove him insane. I wouldn’t plan for things to go our way because they usually didn’t. I wouldn’t hope for good outcomes because they weren’t likely to come to fruition. But while he saw that negative attitude as something discouraging, I saw it as self-preservation. I wasn’t being pessimistic, I was being a realist. By expecting the bad things, I would be prepared when they hit and I wouldn’t be disappointed when things I hoped for fell through.
For years, I truly believed I had the healthier, better attitude about what life would bring.
I never actually set out to change my mindset or to improve for either myself or my husband. There was never a moment when I decided that I was going about things all wrong. What happened instead was a gradual discovery of how God had been working.
When I decided to start blogging, I thought it would be a fun way to connect with friends and family that were far away. I started sharing random bits about my current happenings, growing up, raising kids, anything and everything that popped into my head. I shared post after post of moments of my life. Those posts sometimes turned into opportunities to share with women in groups or one on one, and so I shared. I kept telling my stories.
The more I told these stories, the more I started to realize something. I realized that even though we’d dealt with a lot of garbage, we weren’t lacking. Through lost jobs, lost houses, medical issues, Autism challenges, and even moving across country multiple times, our family had never come up lacking. That’s not to say things were always ideal. Ha! Not even close. We scraped by paycheck to paycheck, often borrowing to make it to the next paycheck. We moved all 5 of us into one bedroom with family, we moved back in with parents, we lived in less than ideal neighborhoods. We gave up on our dreams of homeschooling, we settled for jobs that would bring in money–any money, we accepted food donations when we didn’t have enough.
But God was ALWAYS there.
Even when stress would mount and tensions would run high and the tears (on my part) would fall, God was always there to keep our family together and remind us that He was in control. We always found a place to lay our heads at night, we always had food for our meals, we always had a church family, and we always had each other.
It would be great if we could expect a happy, blessed life as Christians where we go about singing praise songs and spreading the word of Jesus to open and willing ears everywhere. But we all know that’s not the case, is it? The truth is life is hard. Life. Is. Hard. The bible flat out promises us a troubled life because if there’s one thing Satan despises, it’s a happy Christian. We live in a broken, unfair world run by imperfect people. Sounds a little bit like that pessimism, doesn’t it?
But there’s good news. The good news is this life isn’t the end. Our end goal here isn’t to get to the end of our lives and then look back and talk about how great it all was or how much we accomplished or how blessed we were. Our goal is to make it to eternity in Heaven with our Creator and to take along as many people as we can with us. If we’re looking at a life of 70, 80, even 90 years as the end goal, we’re being a little short sighted.
It took sharing my stories and seeing God working in my life again and again and again for this to really hit home for me. Is life going to pile on the trash and hardships? Yes. Is God still there taking care of me? Yes! I’ll fully admit that it’s not always the way I would prefer to be taken care of, but that’s not my call. God had established Himself in my life in such a way that I have no doubt that He’s been there time and time again and He always will be. That’s His nature, it’s His established routine, it’s WHAT HE DOES.
I’ve seen so many examples of God showing up in our lives that I now know without a doubt that He will continue to do so no matter what this life serves up. Do I still expect bad things will happen? As much as they do in anyone’s lives. But I don’t sit around anticipating them and preparing for them. Instead, I look for the moments where I see God working—through the good as well as the bad. It makes it a bit easier to approach things from a more positive view. Because I know that even if the worst should happen, God is still in control, He is still beside me, and He is still good. And how can you get down about that?