Girls Write Out
Monday, March 26, 2012

Have you ever noticed how some people get sweeter with age and others get more contrary and hard to be around? This truth was brought home to me in a personal way in the past month.

An older lady I know used to be so much fun when I was growing up. We eagerly looked forward to spending time with her, knowing there would be a lot of laughter. For years she was the same fun person to be around. Then things began to change. To be fair, she was slammed with some hard trials--the death of her husband and the death of one of her children--and she was unable to climb out of the valley the events left her in. Instead of being an encouragement, she began to complain about everyone in her life. Little by little, it became a chore to visit with her. She's in hospice now and I need to go see her but I'm dreading it. Mostly I'm dreading remembering how she used to be and wishing she was like that again.

I contrast her with my good friend from church, Terry Carpenter. He'd been in a wheelchair for years after a car accident. But I never once heard him complain. He always thought of others, always prayed for the ones he loved and everyone he met. When a melanoma spread to his liver and he knew he only had weeks to live, he still didn't complain. His concern was for everyone else. He stepped into eternity a few weeks ago, and I'm sure I heard the angels greet him with joy.

What made the difference? I think it's because of the issue of thankfulness. Terry could have chosen to hate his life and his dependence on others. He could have blamed other people for his plight. But he held everything with an open hand. He relied on God and turned to Him for all his needs and was thankful for whatever came his way--good and bad.

I was thinking about prayer today and how sometimes we're so disappointed or disillusioned when God says no to our requests. But the reality is that while prayer might not change the situation we're in, it changes US. When we pray and truly turn things over to God, we let go of the bitterness and anger that can ruin our lives and our character. We know he will work things out for our good. We can choose to let our trials make us bitter and resentful or we can be thankful for every good thing in our lives.

I know the kind of person I want to be when I'm old. (Denise, I saw that lifted brow! I admit I'm middle aged now at 60 but I'm not old yet.) :) So I want to strive every day to be thankful. If we are thankful, we will still be encouraging others on our final day before we step into God's presence.

How about you? Have you seen this in your own relationships with people? What are you thankful for today? I'm thankful for my great husband. He's a constant in my life and shows love and care for me every day.


Colleen Coble  
posted at 11:33 PM  
  Comments (6)
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At 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a sister who was hit by a drunk driver when she was 24 years old. She lost two daughters (we lost several other family members, too) and has been a quadraplegic for 21 years.
She has never complained. Never.
When she was in rehab, the counselor she had to talk to kept trying to get her to tell him how depressed she was because of her condition and losing two babies.
She answered that she wasn't depressed. She knew exactly where her babies were--right in Jesus's arms. And she would be seeing them again someday.
God has blessed her with two more daughters who, along with their father, are the joy of her life.
Attitude is a choice. We can be cranky and think about the awful things or we can be joyful and see what's good in life.
With all the joys and blessings of being Christians, how can we be less than joyful?

At 7:47 AM, Blogger Dora Hiers said...

So true, Colleen. We make the choice between gratitude and bitterness, don't we? Thanks for sharing!

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

I think it's wonderful when those who have endured some of the worst hardships believable can bounce back with hope and joy. It's a thrill to be able to be with them and soak up some of that joy, ourselves. It helps us to heal, as well.

People are different, however. Some may beg God for joy to return to them after a great loss, and not be able to find it. They search, but their pain is too great. I don't wish to blame them for their pain. They're hurting enough already. I know a woman who has lost two children, has endured two divorces, broken relationships and rejection. Sometimes one gets tired of trying. They need special people to talk with them and lift them up. I appreciate those who have patience with my frustrations and help me back to a place of joy. That very woman who held onto her bitterness was able to identify and help me.

At 10:11 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Oh I know, Cheryl! I'm not saying people shouldn't grieve. When I lost my dear, dear grandmother and then my brother a year later, it was horrible. I can't even describe how horrible. And I still miss them every single day. But we can make a choice whether or not we let those things change who we are. We can still be grateful every day for the blessings we have and not focus on the things we've lost.

Praying for you, friend! I know you're going through a hard time right now. But you'll get on top of this. You have always encouraged others. It's in your nature. Losing your mother isn't going to change that.

What an amazing story, smalltownworld!

At 10:37 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Okay, I'm having a huge problem right now. What happened to the little thingy we hit when we want to receive the rest of the messages on the blog after ours? Did it get removed, or did I hit something wrong? I need that button back so I can keep up!

Yes, we do have to choose between falling into bitterness and getting on with our lives, but I still think some people, like those who are prone to depression anyway, struggle a great deal with a heaviness of spirit. Others, with a lighter, happier nature--like you, Colleen, and our amazing Diann--seem to have the emotional health it takes to fight their way out of blackness with laughter.

And then there are those whose words, even spoken from depression, can make us laugh. I'm not sure how to categorize them. They can be crying about their lives and then pop off something so naturally funny that the next minute you're both laughing. There are all kinds of people in the world, I guess. And yes, I can tell I'm healing. Sometimes I feel guilty about it--should I be feeling better so soon after Mom died? But still, I'm emotionally healing.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

I just read an article on how Afghan women are forced into prostitution by their husbands, then jailed on moral grounds. They can go home to Dad or they'll be killed for being morally-corrupt.

There is such evil in the world, and I think about these women and how I pray that Jesus speaks to them in their sleep so that they know they are loved.

Sometimes, all you can do is look up, but I wonder if these women are irreparably damaged when it comes to life. : ( Imagine if they thought God was like their father???


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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