Life is Good.

Are the troubles of this world really as bad as we think they are? Is too Pollyanna to think otherwise?

Life is Good. If only we had eyes to see it - Can we change our outlook, despite rough circumstances, and see the good in our lives?

A few weeks ago I found myself getting a little introspective. FishBoy13′s birthday always does that to me.

For those who don’t know, he’s the baby we prayed and hoped and cried over. He was born near the end of 2000. In 1999, I suffered three miscarriages in very quick succession. As soon as my body was healed from a miscarriage, I would get pregnant again quickly. But, the baby would die before week 12.

Some might say I didn’t let my body recover, but my midwives were pretty clear that my body was healed. One even admitted, “We often ask people to wait a year just for mental health. There’s no physical reason to wait.”

Our second son was born one year to the day after my last miscarriage ended in a D&C.

You can see why his birth causes a little thinking time. That two years before his birth was excruciatingly hard. We had no idea if we could ever have more children. We were thrilled to have our older son, but our hearts yearned for more children.

In fact, right after the first miscarriage we pretty much abandoned any family size limits. We thought at the time that the first miscarriage was God’s way of asking us to let Him control our family size. Ha!

I’m still not clear all that He meant with that first miscarriage, or the ones afterward…. but we were willing to take however many kids we could get.

But, as I was saying, a few weeks ago I started thinking about how good life is now compared to then.  I wrote in my journal:

Wow! If I had known 14 years ago what our life would be like now!

But then I started to wonder:

Didn’t I have a really good life then?

I had a loving husband, a beautiful son, a nice house, a big garden. I knew God in an intimate way. That was a pretty good life.

And what about when we lived in Kansas and we realized how bad our debts were. I thought the world might end. Didn’t I have a good life then?

I had a loving husband, four healthy sons, a sweet little daughter, a nice house. God was molding and shaping me more into His image. That was a pretty good life, too.

It made me wonder/realize that maybe life is good. All the time.

Life is good!

But, I don’t always have eyes to see it.

Life is Good. If only we had eyes to see it - Can we change our outlook, despite rough circumstances, and see the good in our lives?

I don’t always have eyes to see how God has blessed me. I don’t always have eyes to see the good things when I’m too focused on the bad things. It’s like having tunnel vision, or an inability to see a whole picture. I spend time, money, and energy fretting over the negative that I don’t always appreciate the good in my life.

Oh! that I would have eyes to see the good no matter the season! That I would model this vision to my children, so that come what may, they could see God’s gracious hand in their lives.

I’m not saying we walk around with rose colored glasses and ignore the bad stuff. No. That’s not it. But, I do wonder if the bad isn’t always as bad as it seems. Or as bad as I think it is.

Call me Pollyanna, but it seems to me that her strategy for seeing the good in life was pretty effective. It’s sure better than dwelling on the bad stuff.

So, am I all wet? Is there still good amid the bad? Even when the bad is really bad? Does it matter? Does it help to turn our focus to the good in our lives? Or is that just cliche?

Can we change our outlook, despite rough circumstances, and see the good in our lives? I’m curious what you think.

Let’s chat in the comments.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
– Psalm 23
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Comments

  1. I think you are completely on target… Your posts are often so timely for me! We are a single income family and we just got the news that my husband is being laid off 5 days before Christmas. Although I have certainly had my moments (days) of dispair, I feel blessed in that I am, in the midst of crisis, able to see how blessed we are & I feel more thankful than ever. The more I thank God, the more things I see to be thankful for. I think there is always good among the bad, although sometimes it is hard to see it & It often takes conscious effort. And p.s.- this is coming from someone who naturally gravitates toward a glass- half- empty perspective!:)

  2. A year ago I was in a hospital bed unable to sit up on my own. God had already worked many miracles in the preceding 2 and 1/2 months in my being alive, off dialysis, off machines to keep me breathing and feed me….I was thankful to visit with my family, eat real food and for so much more. It was still a hard time for us, but there were good days. I had a long way to go, including learning to walk again. I was able to return home in January—a very good day! Through it all, God has been with me. He blessed me with an amazing husband, family and friends. Today, I am visiting with family after taking my first flight across the country since my illness. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving together with family. Yes, Jessica, God is good and there are good moments and days even through the tough times!

  3. I think we can- and also, that we can’t. I have been following supersamuel@blogspot.com; a member of the clergy is dealing with her 8 year old’s dying days. I pray to God that He gives special strength and healing to those undergoing such a unspeakable experience – I do think He can carry us when all our attempts to change our perspective fail us.

    • The correct address is supermansamuel.blogspot.com

    • Yes, I have a hard time reconciling these incredible tragedies with the rest of life. I hope my comments didn’t appear to minimize truly difficult circumstances. For my own experience, I know that the things that I thought were hard were really peanuts. I hope that makes sense.

  4. I lost our first child to miscarriage 8 years ago at Thanksgiving, and I’d only gotten pregnant after about 3 years of infertility and treatments with a clinic. I still think about that around Thanksgiving every year. Those years of infertility were so very hard, but I was still blessed. I had a wonderful husband and loving family, and I knew I’d be a parent someday, somehow, even if children never came from my body. But every trial since then has seemed like peanuts in comparison to infertility and childlessness, if i can just get my focus right. Though that’s hard to do when everyone in the family is sick with colds and coughs, and I worry about another winter of seemingly endless stomach bugs for us and our 3 beautiful and active sons. :)

  5. Kathy in Illinois says:

    Jessica, In 1975 I had a miscarriage. Then in 1976 I delivered at 5 months along a one and a half pound baby girl who weighed a pound and a half and only lived one and a half hours. I heard her weak cry at her birth. They let me hold her after she died. Now babies that weigh that much can be saved but they didn’t have the knowledge back then. I was so miserable and didn’t think I would ever have children. Then in 1978 I had a 10 pound 6 ounce baby boy and in 1980 I had a 8 pound 11 ounce baby girl! They are 35 and 33 today and I love them so much. Yes, Jessica, life is good. It’s hard to feel happy when bad things happen, but we must trust God.
    God bless, Kathy in Illinois

  6. “The things I thought were hard were really peanuts.”

    That was the kick in the rear I needed. I have been very crabby all weekend because my husband brought home the stomach flu this weekend, everyone got sick, and all our fun plans had to be cancelled. I was bemoaning the fact that we were stuck at home on one of my husband’s rare times off. I should just be thankful that none of us have a serious illness and count as a blessing that these past three days will be nothing but a family story in the years to come. (“There was one year that we all got sick on Thanksgiving weekend…”)

  7. Jessica, I really felt like I needed to read this today. A few years ago, when I was laid off, I had no idea how we were going to make it. When I look back and compare to how things are now, I realize how blessed I really am. I have a loving husband, son, and close family. I need to remember to always trust God through any circumstance. Life really is good. Thank you.

  8. Thank you for this great reminder ! Actually whenever I read your blog I feel life is GOOD !

  9. I often wonder if people think I’m crazy or lying to myself when I tell them, “It’s good. It’s not all good, but it’s good.” You see, I desperately want to be home with my little people. But my husband doesn’t have a job aside from cleaning our church every week. So I diligently go off to work every day. To a job that requires a lot of energy and is often very stressful. But I’m also going to a job that I like. And I’m home by the middle of the afternoon, and I get long breaks. And between the two of us, we make enough to keep ourselves fed and clothed, even if just barely. But more importantly, we have each other and the Lord and a lot of love. We’re so thankful that even though it’s not Mommy, there is a parent home with our kids while they’re so small. So even though my heart almost breaks when I feed my baby, put her back in bed and tell her goodbye for the day, and even though I have cried the entire 20 minutes to work because of leaving my babies, it is good. God is good.

  10. Beth Williams says:

    Jessica = How appropriate that I happened to read this today – just last night my 6 y/o dd was reading her new bible (my sister sent her for Christmas, because it had a Ladybug on it!) and while she struggled to read some of the bigger, unfamiliar words – it brought comfort to me as I remembered that “prayer”! I had a friend who while he learned a lesson, brought the message to me loud and clear — “I can be grateful in ALL circumstances!! He passed away recently from Leukemia and I was struggling with that message because being about the same age as my husband and I and such a great friend, how were we to be grateful for this circumstance?? Then the Lord reminded me – to “Get out of my Cheap Self” as a friend would say – and be grateful that His suffering was over, he was no longer in pain, and was seated at the feet of the savior! And I could be grateful in that knowledge, and know also that we would see him again some day!

    Having had a miscarriage between my two girls, I wish I had really grasped that concept back then, I still am not sure of the purpose for that suffering, maybe it was to make me all the more grateful for my youngest when she did arrive. I do know that our ways are not His ways so sometimes we just won’t know. I do also know that one lesson that came to me then was that if I can’t take care of and be grateful for what I have, how can I expect the Lord to bless me with more?!
    I don’t know why I was supposed to share all this, but your post filled my heart and I had to share it! Maybe not even for you or me! So often what you write brings such strong messages to me, and for whatever reason I don’t respond, but this just stopped me in my tracks and I am so grateful for that!!! Again I must thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts about them! The value to myself and others is priceless! And I’m grateful for your dedication to your blog and those of us who follow you!! God Bless! B

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