I have 2 things stenciled on the walls of my home.
A handwritten documentation of each my children's growth
vinyl letters with my favorite phrase;
"It's all Good!"
For as long as I can remember Romans 8:28 was my "life verse", that is, scripture that provides me with unwavering inspiration.
Aaron and I even put that scripture on our wedding invitation 23 years ago. It was our way of declaring that the union of us, and everything to come, would be a good thing.
Then, when I learned I was expecting twins, #4 & #5, the burden of large family didn't feel like something good. Rather it felt more I had been abandoned by God or fate or the laughing stock of Mother Nature. It was then I first began to doubt the very words that had always brought me hope.
Part of me wanted to throw the "It's all good" mantra out of my life, but another - albeit very small - part of me hesitated wondering - maybe even hoping - that somehow those unexpected baby girls would in fact be a good thing.
And boy were they ever!
Now, with over 40 years of living experience I realize I was a very naive bride,
but I wasn't in fact, entirely wrong. It's all good, doesn't mean it is all literally good.
Or that everything will turn out well.
What it means to me - today - is that the sum
of everything that comes to me
both pleasant and unpleasant
good and bad
wanted or unwanted
can be taken in
and used to mold me,
shape my character
and write a better story out of every single story element that has come my way.
I've been reflecting on all this today since reading "Why Feeling Sorry For Yourself Makes You Destined to Fail" by Donald Miller on today's Storyline Blog
"When you lift weights, you are doing damage to your muscles. The reason your muscles grow, then, is because your body goes into repair the damaged muscles, and makes them bigger so the next time you lift that much weight, you wont get hurt. So then you just lift more weights, and your body gets stronger and stronger.
It’s like that with our emotions, too. Once we experience something hard, it tears us down.It really does hurt, doesn’t it?
We screw up and embarrass ourselves or we lose a job and don’t have any money. But honestly, there is nothing bad that can happen to us that won’t return a greater blessing if we let it. We will always come out stronger.
And believe me, life is going to throw a lot of pain at you.
What self-pity does, though, is it stops us from gaining that emotional muscle. It’s almost like we can either have the blessing of a stronger character, or the immediate gratification of self pity. But not both.
People who wallow in self-pity, never grow strong in character.
What we have to do instead is ask ourselves what we can learn from the situation.
If we got rejected ... we have to ask ourselves why.
Is there anything we can do differently? If we got fired, we have to take ownership of whatever we did that was wrong. And if it wasn’t our fault, we have to understand that the rain falls on the good and the bad, and crops only grow out of ground that has been rained upon." (seriously go here and read the whole thing)
And then, well, you know ... life happened.
And I had a decision to make. Either It's all Good was a lie or I had to keep mining it, chipping at it, looking at it backwards
or upside down. I turned it around in my mind and then decided to wait and see what would happen if I just let it be. Let it sit. And age. Pondering and watching.
Turns out I wasn't wrong.
It's all good is still my mantra.
But now, with a little grey hair I've learned,
IT is not Good
but the ALL is.
All of it, everything that comes to me.
All the happy
all the sad.
All the surprises and twists and turns.
All the goals and accomplishments and new plans.
ALL of it is my good.
Because ALL of it makes my story.
and my head rests at night.
The place where my vacuum runs and my soul rests.
This is where I'm growing old and the kids are moving out.
This is my home and I have 2 things written on my walls....
One is constantly changing.
And the other is my constant.
What words or phrases give your life meaning or inspiration?
Do you have a life verse?
I'd love to hear from you! Let me know in the comment section. Who knows, maybe we'll both be inspired.