Monday, June 26, 2017

Failing at Life

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. 
Romans 12:9-13, NLT 

I didn’t see the good. I was too transfixed on all that was going wrong to see the things that were actually going right. And the stress of it all weighed on my shoulders until my spirit was feeling feverish and wobbly and my body was tired. Last week, we trekked our way through three separate visits to urgent care, for three different children, with three entirely unrelated ailments. Two were sent home with antibiotics, one with allergy meds. Then there was the emergency plumber. Somehow, someone (or someones) managed to sneak the approximate equivalent to a toy box worth of toys into the bathroom, flushing them one by one until the plumbing in the entire house was backed up. I only discovered the bathroom fiasco when someone tried to flush, nearly spraying my personhood with the backlog of sewage. If that wasn’t quite enough, Queen Elsa, one of our family milk goats, became severely ill and we are still unclear of what the future holds for her. And there are still struggles with the transitions that have happened because school has drawn to a close and summer break is in full swing. With all of this and more happening within a week’s time, I felt like I was failing at life. What could I have possibly done to deserve this?

It’s easy to complain. It’s easy to see all of the things that are not going right. At least, it is for me. But that becomes distinctly problematic because God tells us in His Word to do all things without complaining, as if we were doing them for the Lord. Scrubbing toilets for the Lord, administering medications to children and goats for the Lord, these things seem far from holy to me. I was miserable because life with special needs is hard enough, why should I have to face these other frustrating life issues as well?

But God tells us in His Word to hold tightly to what is good. I missed so much good because I was just plain stuck on the bad this week. I forgot to laugh when my children pretended to run with the bulls as my flock of chickens raced from the coop to the feeders for their breakfast. I forgot to be in awe of the kindness that my impish toddlers are capable of bestowing without any coaxing. I didn't soak in the progress my children are already making this summer or the fun they are having and the skills they are practicing. I almost missed the ways God is working on my heart, softening me up for His work. And I almost missed the amazing thoughts and questions that my brood of little ones have about God. I almost missed the opportunity to share God’s love with each one of them because I was too full of the bad stuff to even think about the good.

God doesn’t call us to a successful, easy life. He calls us to an abundant life, a hard-working, enthusiastic, hospitable life. God calls us to share God’s love and to be His hands and feet. To hold tightly to what is good. To hold on to those happy memories you’re making in spite of the surfacing behaviors. Don’t let go of the spontaneous hugs, the high fives, the adoring glances from the littles just because you need a break for your tired arms and your weary heart. And never forget that enthusiasm for the things that God has given, the blessings big and small, the children who love you, and the hope they offer the future of this world.  The only way I’ll stop this feeling that I am failing at life, is to focus on the good stuff that is in it, the good family I’ve been given, and the Goodness of the Giver.

Dear God, I haven’t been focused enough on the good today. Help me to turn my thoughts from complaints to thanksgiving, from entitlement to graciousness. Help me to focus on the good gifts You have given me, the good people in my life that need to see Your love, and the goodness that You see in me, so that I can share it with others. Help me cling to what is good, especially, You. 

Amanda Furbeck


  1. Wow!I needed this. I've been feeling down because some of my body parts seem to be exceeding their "warranty". I've been missing all the right things of my life. Father, I love that you love me. Help me to share your love.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Maynard. You help me love music again. Praying for you!