This week has been one of “those” weeks. We’ve all had them. Although many good things have happened, there have also been some let downs—blessings mixed in with disappointment—the bitter with the sweet. What did I do to escape the reality of some of it? I went to the movies— a quadruple feature all day on Saturday.
But as I emerged from the dark confines of the silver screen after hours of heroes, villains, laughter and tears, my world in the bright light of day hadn’t changed. My husband’s car was still damaged from the accident the night before while we were driving home from church. And, my only son was still facing four years in prison from the final sentencing decision earlier in the week. I was still a mom who was going to have another painful Mother’s Day.
My point in sharing this with you isn’t for pity but to impart that in the midst of disappointing times we can have freedom to enjoy, escape, embrace good friends, and encourage ourselves in the Lord. Life isn’t always going to be pleasant. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of that basic fact.
1 Samuel 30 tells a story about King David. He and his mighty men had been off away from camp fighting. While they were gone the Amalekites had come to their town of Ziklag. They destroyed everything and took their women and children. In verse 18, it says, “David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters.” Ever been there? As the stoner or the stonee?
It continues on in the same verse, “But David found strength in the LORD his God.” In other Word translations it says, “he encouraged himself in the Lord.” Even in the midst of discouragement, facing stoning, and the loss of his family – he ENCOURAGED himself. He remembered the times before when God had pulled him through.
One of my friends chuckles at me, and I think I’m wearing off on her, because I’m often whistling a tune, or breaking out in dance when I hear music. I do it often without thinking, and many times I do this to encourage myself, to keep myself upbeat and positive. I also am careful about not using negative words about myself or others. I surround myself with others who are upbeat, cheerful and positive. I’ve made conscious choices to see the glass always as half full.
I’ve spoken with my son a couple of times since his sentencing. While the outcome wasn’t what we had been praying for, he has been upbeat and is encouraged because the sentence could have been much longer and also because he can move on to the next stage. He’s accepting the consequences of his actions and is trying to make the best of the present and future situation. I’m proud of how far he’s come in his journey of accountability. I know God has a plan for him. More important, so does he. He has found freedom in a disappointing time.
And the accident we had in my husband’s car? We were blessed that no one was injured and my dear hubby was able to temporarily repair the damage himself until the insurance issues are settled. We were encouraged and grateful.
What are you dealing with now or facing in the future? Does it seem insurmountable? If so, find a nice quiet place, and reflect on what God has already brought you through in the past. Look for the good in where you are now. Find a scripture, a song, or a poem, something that encourages you. Read it daily, hourly, every minute if necessary—whatever it takes to help you take another step forward. Surround yourself with positive people. People who will support and encourage you.
Being around supportive people is a key element in staying positive in times of disappointment. That’s why the “A” in the Six Steps to SANITY as outlined in my newest book, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children, is to “Assemble a Support Group.” Sometimes, we need people around to give us strength when ours is waning.
As you approach this Mother’s Day season I encourage you to lift up your voice in praise and thanksgiving—no matter the disappointments or pain. We have a choice. We always have a choice.
“Choose this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”
– Joshua 24:15
©2008, Allison Bottke
Available now from Harvest House Publishers
Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children
Six Steps to Hope and Healing for Struggling Parents
by Allison Bottke
For more information visit: www.SanitySupport.com