WHAT DO YOU DO……???
Recently, I asked a group of women…
“What do you do when life doesn’t turn out the way you planned?”
What do you do when your child is diagnosed with cancer? Yesterday, I shared about my friends, Anthony and Samantha, who faced that terrifying question.
What about the wife who doubles over in emotional pain, gasping for breath, because she just discovered her husband has been secretly watching pornography in their home?
How do you overcome the despair of a business failure and the ensuing financial avalanche?
How does someone ever trust again after a shattering divorce? Or abuse?
How do you watch helplessly as a parent or spouse disappears before your very eyes to the wasting away of Alzheimer disease?
You and I know this list could go on and on. You know your own heartaches and the pain of those you love.
Did I ask all these questions because I have the answers? No…I have no answers. I have struggled with my own responses when my life has not turned out as I thought it would. I can only share the attempts I have made to get through to the other side with the desire to be stronger and kinder and wiser.
I have come to the conclusion that denial about a situation will bring death. If there is a chemical addiction involved, eventual death is certain… suicide on the installment plan. I believe it is possible to be “walking dead”. Denial can cause emotional death to the point of numbness, living in a zombie-like state.
I made the decision that the risk of the unknown is preferable to being a zombie. Denial is a bully, pummeling you with fears of “what if?” “What will people say or think?” Walking out of denial brings an indescribable freedom.
I gave myself permission to grieve the losses in my life. I have been known to cry, rant, yell, get mad at God, threw at hamburger at my husband once, and I’ve broken a few things. When I allow myself to grieve, I acknowledge something important to me, something I had hoped for, has been lost.
As a Christ follower, I misunderstood the gift of forgiveness for a long time. The truth is, I have nothing in me to enable me to forgive. The strength to offer forgiveness, to someone who has hurt me, only comes from Jesus. I forgive because it is what is best for me. It allows me to detach from the person and/or situation to pursue healing and my well being.
As long as I harbor bitterness and unforgiveness I am harming myself. The other person, many times, doesn’t even know. As the quote goes…”unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
Let me be clear here….forgiveness does not release the other person from their harmful behaviors. They are not “off the hook”. There are situations where intervention is needed by law enforcement and legal action needs to be taken.
Now, last but not least, the sacredness of gratefulness. Regardless of my circumstances, I CAN be grateful if I so choose. I read this today from Ann Voskamp, author of “One Thousand Gifts”. “Gratitude isn’t only a celebration when good things happen. It’s a declaration that God is good no matter what happens. This is brazen. In a cynical world, this is blatant and bold and subversive. This is Truth.”
I encourage you to visit her website at http://www.aholyexperience.com/
I have a gratitude journal. Every day I find something, one thing, to be grateful for. Sometimes I can fill a page. Other times I struggle to find even one. It is the intentional looking that allows me to see. No longer am I blindly, numbly, stumbling through my days and nights. Gratitude opens my heart to the good that is waiting for me. I can unclench my fists, open my hands palms up and receive…
WHAT DO YOU DO……???