This past Monday was a beautiful day. It’s been so cold here, and the forecast was full-on sun and 80 degrees. It was also the last day off my husband and I would have alone together until summer’s over since the kiddos get out on Wednesday, so I had big plans of doing something all alone with him.
And then I remembered it. The middle school awards program. It was Monday at 8:00 am. Okay….so we go to the program and hightail it outta here to do something fun. And alone.
Maybe drive up to Geneva for lunch looking out over Lake Erie. Maybe go to the outlets and walk around and shop. I didn’t really care what it was, I just knew I wanted a date day, and since we had to pick them up at 1:42 pm, our time was limited.
So we go to the awards program. The Never-Ending Awards Program. It went on and on and on and on and on and on and on. And then it went on and on and on and on and on some more.
They get awards for EVERYTHING in middle school. Recycling. Band. Choir. Perfect attendance (Which, by the way, I can’t really help if my child gets sick. Don’t all kids get sick? Does that mean those kids went to school sick to get perfect attendance?)
Did you work the wellness cart? You got an award. Were you nice to your teacher? You got an award. Can you hop on one foot and tie your shoe at the same time? You got an award.
Not quite – but you get the picture.
So I sat there watching my date-day time shrink away, getting more and more anxious about it as the minutes ticked away. I had to go to the bathroom, and there was another mom in there, and as I washed my hands, I remarked to her, “It’s the never-ending awards program.”
And do you know what she said? She said, and I quote, “We can just be thankful that our kids are so good that they get all of these awards.”
Can you believe it? I really wanted her to commiserate with me about the diminishing possibility of me getting to go on a date-day with my husband, but she was being so positive and uplifting and nice.
And it really put me in check. She was right. And once I saw it from that point of view, it put things into a different perspective. And I stopped being so anxious and was able to enjoy the rest of the program. It really didn’t matter that so much of my morning was being consumed by the awards program.
What did matter was that we have kids. Not everyone does. And that we live in a community where so many of them excel and are good kids. We really were blessed, and it really only happens once a year, and my husband and I really can go out any Monday we want to know that they’re teenagers and can fend for themselves.
It really is all in how you look at it.
And the more I thought about it, the more I remembered more and more instances of how reframing a situation, looking at it differently, can really change your whole attitude about it. It can bring joy where there was bitterness and peace where there was chaos and pain.
My son recently got knocked out of going to Regionals in track, which is a dream he has. He wants to go all the way to State. He was really bummed, and we got in the car to head home and first he prayed, “Lord, thank you for this season. I’m so thankful to have legs and muscles and a body that enables me to run. So many can’t ever experience the joy of it, and I’m thankful that I can.” Now that’s quite the perspective (and it was a proud mom moment for me too).
It was the second anniversary of my friend’s husbands death on Sunday, and when I saw her, she said with tears in her eyes, “I’m not going to mourn that he was taken too soon today. I’m not going to mourn what I’m missing out on now. I’m going to celebrate that the Lord blessed me with a wonderful husband and we had 44 amazing years together. I’m going to celebrate his life today and be glad.”
My husband snores. Loudly. But since we almost lost him a month ago, I now wake up and hear him snoring and smile because I know he’s here. I’m so glad he’s still with us and I can still hear him snore. I’m thankful for the snoring.
Paul talked about the persecutions and hardships that he faced in life and ministry. Shipwreck. Imprisonment. He was stoned and left for dead. He was whipped over and over again. But as he talks about all these things, do you know what he calls them? These light afflictions. Light afflictions are things that don’t really matter in comparison to Him.
We don’t have full control over what happens in our lives. Life happens. And it has its ups and downs, highs and lows, good times and bad times.
Not everything that’s happened in my life has been good. But God has always been good. And He’s ALWAYS walked me through whatever I was facing. He’s always rescued me. He’s so faithful.
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19)
We don’t have control over what happens to us and around us, but we have full control over our attitude. Over our perspective. Over how we choose to look at it.
We went through fire and flood,
but you brought us to a place of great abundance. (Psalm 66:12)
What do you need to look at differently? Don’t stay in the fire and the flood. Go ahead and reframe it. Let Him bring you through it into abundant peace and joy in that area of your life.