why bad things happen to good people

I’ve attended a morning Bible study for about a year and a half now. I absolutely love it. It consists of about ten women, most of them older, and much wiser, than me. I look forward to meeting with them each Wednesday.

This January, I decided to take a break from Bible study, hoping that I could focus more of my time on writing. However, removing it from my schedule didn’t help me much, so I decided to return a couple of weeks ago. I missed it. I missed them. My heart is full once again. These ladies have no idea how they bless and encourage me, I appreciate their love so much.

Something that shook me up came up in a conversation yesterday. One lady said she thought good things come from God and bad things come from Satan. I pondered that for a bit, and disagreed. She said she couldn’t understand how bad things happen to good people. Things like illnesses, death, accidents, with Ian’s situation as an example.

I was careful about what I said next. I told her that I thought God gives and God takes away. We are happy to take the good, but is it our place to be angry when he takes away? We can’t choose to only take the good and not the bad.

When our family was in Ruidoso last week, something remarkable happened. On our last day there, I called the local stables to see if we could go horseback riding that day. A sweet lady answered and explained that they were all booked for the day, but asked if we could come the following day. I explained that it was our last day there and asked her to please call if she had any cancelations.  She said she doubted it very much, but she would take my name and number. When we hung up, I prayed that God would find a way. I knew our kids would love horseback riding, and we wouldn’t have another opportunity like this for a while. We went on with our day and found something else to do.

At about 4 o’clock, only five minutes after the kids woke up from their afternoon naps, my phone rang. Guess who it was?  The nice lady from the horse stables!  She said that she had a cancelation and asked if we could be there in an hour. I told her we would be there and thanked her so much. As petty as it sounds, I believe that God answered that little prayer of mine.

While we drove there, I told Ian about this. I explained that I prayed for God to work out a way for us to ride and He did. I told him that I believe with all my heart that prayer works.  Ian replied, “What if we had a car accident right now and one of us got hurt? Would you still think it was God?”

“Yes, I would. If that happened I know that God would get us through it. We can’t choose to only acknowledge that it was Him for the good things and not when things turn out badly.”

Ecclesiastes 7:14 (New Living Translation) says,

Enjoy prosperity while you can. But when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. That way you will realize that nothing is certain in this life.

Another tranlation (NASB) says,

In the day of prosperity be happy,
But in the day of adversity consider—
God has made the one as well as the other
So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.

And finally, The Message version says,

On a good day, enjoy yourself;
On a bad day, examine your conscience.
God arranges for both kinds of days
So that we won’t take anything for granted.

There you have it. Both good and bad come from God. He has an ultimate plan, and sometimes that includes bad things for good people. For Ian and me, for example, our bad experience has taught us so many good things. Our family and friends (and even people we don’t know) have been touched by our bad experience. God used it in a positive way.

A while back Ian and I were talking about how things for us will never be like they were before. He said, “They won’t be like before, they will be better than before.” I couldn’t agree more. 🙂

 

Vacation.

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If you know Ian and me, you know that we are not big planners. We usually don’t have a solid plan figured out for date nights, we often decide to go out to dinner last minute, and we sorta just fly by the seat of our pants. Some people like that about us, and it drives others crazy. As much as it can drive me crazy, too, I’ve come to accept that it’s who we are.

Our most recent last minute decision was to take a trip this spring break. Ian and I love snow (we went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for our honeymoon.) Our kids had never seen snow and they had mentioned wanting to see some for a few months, so we thought we’d find some. The closest place to San Antonio is Ruidoso, New Mexico, a ten hour drive for us. It’s been so long since we’ve been on a trip that the length on the road didn’t scare me. We decided to do it a week and a half before.

The drive was actually not too bad. Ian and I counted the number of stops we took and it was only 6, including a quick breakfast, gas, and rest stops for Luke to go to the bathroom. (Remember that we just started potty training Luke a couple of weeks ago???) The kids did great.

The cabin we rented is wonderful! It has two bedrooms, all appliances, and is even stocked with a full kitchen including dishes and condiments for cooking. We hit the jackpot with this place. We love everything about it.

It’s so quiet and peaceful here. As I reflect on the last couple of days, I am so grateful for this time with my family. We are on vacation, but it feels like a heavenly dream.

It feels like a dream without schedules and routines, with the freedom to do what we want whenever we want to do it. Tonight, for instance, we stayed in and cooked spaghetti, sat at the table by the fireplace to play Spot It, and got in the hot tub. (Oh yea, there’s a hot tub with an amazing view, too.) I loved just being here, doing nothing, and yet having such joy with my family. This is what life is all about!

God has shown me much of Himself here. He is in the beautiful trees and mountains, the crisp white snow that we saw as we overlooked the mountain from a gondola ride, and mostly, in my children. There are no words for how sweet it is to see their expressions and reactions as they experience new things. God made them smart, curious little beings, and I had forgotten about that. I’m grateful for that gentle reminder. It makes me want to be more deliberate with our time and what we choose to do with it.

Once again, I am in awe. I am refreshed. I’m convinced that we need little trips to unwind and refocus. We have one more day in this dream and I’m excited about it. We have no plans. We will figure it out in the morning and I’m sure it will be wonderful. After all, we are together and that’s all that matters.

seasons.

 

 

Just like every year has seasons, God is teaching me that our lives have seasons, too. Instead of spring, summer, fall, and winter, however, I would refer to them more like seasons of learning, experiencing, and teaching & sharing.

Let me explain.

Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of attending a MOPS meeting. MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers, and I was a member when Emma was a baby until she was about three or four years old. It was a wonderful blessing at that time in my life. I was able to meet with other moms who were in the same stage of life that I was in and share my struggles with them. We usually had great speakers that shared their advice and insight with us so I generally left refreshed and more determined to be a better mom and wife.

The meeting I attended yesterday was such a sweet time. Young moms sat at round tables in their groups chatting with one another eating yummy egg casseroles and pastries. (The food was always one of the reasons I showed up to meetings, by the way. 🙂 ) I watched as a new mom held her baby in her arms as she slept and it brought back memories of me doing the same with Emma and Jack when they were that age. Strollers were parked along the walls. It made me realize that I can’t remember the last time I used a stroller with my kids. My kids aren’t little anymore. When we broke up into smaller groups I met two young moms that were sweet as could be. We introduced ourselves and shared a little bit about our lives. One of them had a three year old girl, and the other had three kids all under the age of four. As they shared some of what is going on in their lives, I found myself offering advice to them.

Wait. What?

How is it that I am qualified to give advice? I’m usually the one who needs the advice. Hmm. I remembered trying to figure out these exact things that they are struggling with, only now I have some suggestions for them to try. I decided to share what worked for my kids. It couldn’t hurt for them to try it, too, right? There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel if it works. This is how life works. It is a big cycle where the older guide the younger.

“if your kid doesn’t listen, try offering rewards; if your baby won’t sleep through the night, try swaddling or a sound machine; if you feel rushed when you dress kids and pack lunches in the morning, wake up earlier or pack the night before… the list could go on and on”

I attended the MOPS meeting to watch a friend of mine speak. She did a phenomenal job sharing her thoughts and advice with this young group of women. I could see that they were encouraged by her words, just as I had been encouraged by speakers only a few years before. I felt a tug at my heart. I felt God telling me that I am now in a different season of life than the one that they are in. Maybe, just maybe, I could offer some encouragement to these moms. But, can I? It makes me uncomfortable to think about this. I am not qualified, am I???

Well, it turns out that I am qualified. My experience as a young mom has taught me great things, and if I can be a source of encouragement for others, why not? I welcome the idea with open arms.

I thought I was still young, but I think I need to start seeing myself as “middle-aged.”  Ha! Remember I found some “silver” hair recently? This getting older thing is sinking in slowly. 🙂

Here is the scripture in Ecclesiastes chapter 3 that talks about seasons.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2     a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3     a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6     a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7     a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8     a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

 

Help with book title.

I need help! I need to have a great, catchy title for my memoir and I’d like suggestions. So far, I’ve thought of these, but don’t love them.

Wake Me Up ( the last thing Ian said to me before he was intubated, meaning he wanted me to wake him up one last time to see me and the kids one last time if he wasn’t going to make it)

In Sickness and In Health ( the promise we made when we got married, going through his sickness together)

Can You Type Without Fingers?
(Our friend came up with this one)

All of the titles would have a subtitle too. Help friends!!!