I’ve been thinking about two women I know. One has had a pretty miserable life. She got divorced after years in a terrible marriage, during which marriage she went through years of infertility before finally adopting. Although she remarried, the divorce affected her relationship with her children in a negative way, which in turn affected her marriage. She ended up living far from her family and only sees them on rare occasions. Recently she went through cancer and while she was undergoing chemotherapy, her husband lost his job and they had to sell their house and take an apartment.
The other woman is just one of the happiest people you’d ever want to meet. She has a great job, an amazing marriage, a loving family and good friends. She is always ready to give God praise for what he is doing in her life. She has been blessed in many ways – from adopting a daughter when she thought it was impossible to a comfortable, sunny home that she decorated with love and creativity. She enjoys visiting with her children and grandchildren whenever possible. Recently, she also went through cancer, and is now completely healthy. She loves to tell about how God brought her through and how his love not only sustained her but gave her joy and amazing peace.
I’m sure by now you’ve figured out that these are the same person, and many of you also know that it’s me. Same circumstances, different viewpoint. Everything is true in both descriptions – the only thing that changes is which I choose to focus on. Which woman do I choose to be each morning?
I have a dear friend who is struggling terribly right now. Everything in her life looks dark and hard and unfair. It would be easy for me to point out all the good things she has going for her, and tell her to just change her outlook, but I’ve spent too much of my own life being in that dark place. I know that being told to “just count your blessings” isn’t even a little helpful. Someday I hope she will come to understand that from within herself, but until then I will do my best to just be there and care. And keep letting her know that Jesus loves her, even if she isn’t quite feeling that right now either.