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How do you continue to be "happy" when the basics of the way you expected life to be just didn't happen?

Like:

You just assumed that you would pay your bills and that your spouse would feel the same way, you just assumed that all of your children would be healthy, you just assumed that you would love your spouse and visa/versa, you just assumed that you'd always have food/clothing for your family . . . (not all of these are me -- I'm just trying to give some examples.)

You hear of people that don't have limbs or have terrible diseases . . . that are very happy (and often more happy than the others that seem to have everything going their way.)

Just wondering how that mindset happens.

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I think it is easier to be happy when the bad things are out of your control. You are missing an arm, well exactly what can you do about that? You want to pay your bills, but dh disagrees. Well, that is an argument. It is destined to breed discontent. Healthy children? To some degree, there is something that you can do. Of course, at some point there isn't. Some is just personality. Having something dark just makes the light shine all the brighter. Other people will think the darkness is darker because of the light. Some people have religion and turn it over to a higher power. Some people just decide to be happy. Some pretend to be happy, but inside are deeply sad. I guess there really is not one answer.:grouphug:

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How do you continue to be "happy" when the basics of the way you expected life to be just didn't happen?

Like:

You just assumed that you would pay your bills and that your spouse would feel the same way, you just assumed that all of your children would be healthy, you just assumed that you would love your spouse and visa/versa, you just assumed that you'd always have food/clothing for your family . . . (not all of these are me -- I'm just trying to give some examples.)

You hear of people that don't have limbs or have terrible diseases . . . that are very happy (and often more happy than the others that seem to have everything going their way.)

Just wondering how that mindset happens.

 

:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug: First off, I just wanted to give you a hug because I hear your heart behind the questions. As for the answers.... I don't know if I really have any. Expectations come to mind. If you (general you not you specifically ;) )go into something with high expectations it's easier to get disappointed when things don't go the way you thought they would. If you don't have any expectations anything good that happens to you would be a blessing.

 

Outlook also comes to my mind. Looking for the silver lining in the cloud, looking at the glass as half full instead of half empty. Trying to find the good in any given situation. Maybe it's a coping mechanism or a survival instinct I don't know, but it helps me.

 

My son was diagnosed with Autism when he was 2 years old. Not high functioning, he'll have some semblance of a normal life Autism, the severe kind. The kind that they tell you he might never speak, he will always need to be taken care of, he will live at home until we die and then who knows who will take care of him after that. I was CRUSHED. I literally cried for 6 weeks when I found out. I cried even in my sleep. All the hopes and dreams I had for my boy were gone. What was going to happen to him? Who would take care of him if something happens to me or or my husband? What will his life be like? I had to mourn the loss of my son's childhood as if they child himself had died, but then after that period I accepted this challenge called life with Autism and started walking down the path with my son, my dd and my dh in tow. It's been a wild journey to be sure. One that I never would have chosen voluntarily, but it hasn't been without it's blessings in addition to it's heartaches. My son is the bravest and most amazing person I have ever met in my life. Not only am I honored to even KNOW him, I am even more honored and humbled that God chose ME of all people to have the blessings of being his mama. He's just the sweetest, most precious boy I have ever met. He is my heart. I just love him so much and can't imagine my life without him. I always say if having him in my life with Autism was the only way for me to be able to have him in my life at all, I would take it that way every single time just to be able to know him.

 

The bad stuff really sucks, it does, but the good stuff so outweighs the bad that it makes it all worth it. I have learned so much more from my son than I could ever teach him. He truly has been an amazing blessing in my life. And I think that it is the key for me. When I see how truly blessed I am, I am able to have peace and enjoy what I have. For me, at the end of the day, it's all about the little things. If wake up and there is food to eat, you are blessed. If you go outside and it is a beautiful sun shiny day, enjoy it. If you see a pretty bird or a flower or if one of your kids does something funny and starts to laugh, embrace it. Hold those things in your heart and remember them and enjoy what is there that is good. As for the bad, you just have to let it go. If your hands are full with all the bad stuff in your life, there won't be space for you to grab onto the good and hold onto it.

 

I'm sure I'm being uber cheesy and probably not making much sense on top of it, but that is what I do.

 

Blessings to you and your family. :grouphug:

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I don't know how to tell somebody else to do it, but I know how I do it, sorta. My oldest was killed in a car accident in May. I feel like I type that all the time here and I do apologize - it is just such a huge part of who I am now. Before he died, our lives were not perfect. We had an extra house in FL we couldn't sell, dh has depression/anxiety issues, never enough money, other family issues, etc. No where near perfect, but I could always look at my family and say this is as good as it gets. Then my life forever changed on the morning of May 15th when soldiers were in my driveway to tell me my son had died in a car accident the night before. I was so numb. I was so gone. The only clear thing I remember doing that day was going to our bookshelves and picking out a book to read to my youngest son that night before he went to bed. I had always read to my older two kids each night. My youngest was different. More difficult. The reading went away and hurrying him to bed became the norm. I felt I needed to resume my past with my present. I think in some way it was choosing to live and be happy. Each morning I wake up, I think the same thing - my Timmy is dead. Then I hear him tell me in a big booming and loud obnoxious voice - "Get your freaking butt out of that bed and go take care of your kids!" I will myself to see the joy in my life. I still fail some days and sometimes I fail miserably. But I try again. I get up everyday and I honor the JOY my son was to people - the JOY he was to me! I trust that God has him now and he is happy. Sometimes I fear he is not - so I say it over and over in my mind that he is happy and he wants me to be happy. I believe you have to choose JOY when you can. Obviously, nobody will walk around singing and dancing all day, but if you can do your best and change your life to find JOY - then you are in the right direction. Blessings to you!

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How do you continue to be "happy" when the basics of the way you expected life to be just didn't happen?

.

 

I didn't *continue* to be happy. I did what I could to constructively change it and then when it was certain that wasn't going to work, I fussed, I cried, I stormed, I pouted...and when it was clear that approach was going to make zero difference either, I constructed a new set of expectations and buried the old ones.

 

Then I dusted myself off and went on and little by little as I wasn't continually disapointed by the old unmet expectations, it got better. Then one day I realized that although it might not be the happiness I'd imagined for myself, I could be well despite life not going as I'd planned.

 

{{{Hugs}}}

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Then one day I realized that although it might not be the happiness I'd imagined for myself, I could be well despite life not going as I'd planned.

 

 

:iagree: As a family, when things really go awry, we try very hard to not be the victim. It is a hard mindset to get into and we have really had to work very hard on this the past few years with DH's job and the huge slashes in pay he has endured.

 

Yes, we have complained about his salary decreases. (It has hit us extra hard as DH is retiring in 4 years and his pension is based on his highest salaried years - which should be now - but in reality have already passed.) After complaining, we look at what good can come from the circumstances - homeschooling, making do with less, selling things we really don't need, etc.

 

Hope that helps. :grouphug:

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:grouphug: and prayers for all.

 

Kari C, thanks for sharing. I will be praying for you.

 

For me, it is my faith. Yes, life didn't go the way I planned. Today, is one of those days when I started looking back. However, through the Grace of God I can take those thoughts captive (pray and cry)and go forward.

"In all things give thanks."

As Kari said, choose JOY and that does not mean we will not hurt and we have to go around pretending to be happy all the time.

I was just contemplating this today. We look around and there is always someone worse off.

Some of the posts on this board alone make me cry and pray. So many in need of prayer. However, no matter how small or trivial one's trials may seem compared to others, they are still your trials. All need empathy, love, comfort, and prayer.

I take comfort in all the blessings that I do have and I believe in my heart that Jesus loves me. For me, it is His love, grace, and mercy that carries me day to day. He is my "tower of refuge and strength".

 

I don't mean to turn this into a religious debate. I'm just answering the original post --"How do people do it?"--for me, this is how.

 

I pray for all on this board, I love all on this board, regardless or faith/beliefs.

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If by "happy" you mean without strife, doesn't happen. If you mean "happy" by seeming perfection, doesn't happen. Somedays I think my world would be perfect if it didn't involve another living soul. People disappoint you, you disappoint others. Jobs change, income changes. IMO the only constant in life is change. While I am in essence the same person I was 18 years ago when I married dh, I am different. He is different. We hold different convictions, we've aged (like a fine wine).

 

I've changed my expectations. Not lowered, changed. But I was NOT prepared for life as an adult. I'm 43, completed my degree at the school of hard knocks, figured out a few things along the way, many the hard way.

 

My dh loves me and for the last few years I'd been focusing on his imperfections. Yet I've refocused, he holds me in esteem, and I am so imperfect. We've been knocked off our "plans" for the last few years. In fact it's a running joke that we don't make plans and if we do, we whisper, because they've always gotten changed.

 

We've finally made a step we've been trying to make for the last 9 years, yes 9 years. It doesn't matter it is, but after 9 years I'd just about given up.

 

Like Kari so stated, it's getting up one more day when you'd rather stay in bed and cry. It's finding that sliver of joy in a day full of chaos. It's continuing to get up one more time that you fall.

 

Part of it is letting go. I've realized there are a few things that I wanted from my youth that I will never have. I have become content in the things I am pursuing.

 

HTH

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There is happiness, and there is joy. Happiness is a feeling, but joy is a choice. Let me see if I can explain.

 

Happiness comes from externals. Circumstances, possessions, relationships, and health, among other things. Happiness can come and go based on how the externals are working. Joy, on the other hand, comes from somewhere else. For me, joy comes from the fact that Christ died and rose again, and has sent me his Spirit to help me and comfort me. No matter what this world hands me, I will always have that. I can always choose to be joyful, even in the worst of circumstances. This doesn't mean being fake, it means resting in the Peace that passes all understanding.

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This year was a big year of change for me, too. A lot of change in the past few years has been good. But, the challenges that were so hard before are traded in for the challenges of today... And there are often days where I think, "I did not sign up for this!"

 

This year began with my xh taking me to court with false allegations and fighting for custody of our children, who he had not seen for 3 years because he has lost parental rights and hadn't done what the courts said. He has broken court order after court order with little to no consequence. Anyway, I would fight in court (not literally, but you know...), then come home to have teens fighting for wanting their dad back in their life and my husband fighting me over it all, also. Anyway, it ended up that after xh completing a parenting course, the high school kids were given the choice of who to live with. By this time xh had a luxurious life with a woman who made good money and they dangled the best lifestyle in front of the kids, who chose to leave me....

 

And my 18yog gave me the best advice. She said, "Mom, just pour your love and attention into those who are around you." So, I did. I look at what I have, appreciate it and put my heart into that. In the meantime, I got over the pain with the other kids and know that it is part of their growing up and I pour my love into their lives when they come for little visits. Definitely not I had expected.

 

I had not expected step-parenting to be the hardest job on the planet, either. But, for me, it is. I learn so much about myself. And I am learning healthier ways to parent with my dh and to communicate with him. Just last night I found myself saying, "You have been getting upset with me when ____ does something wrong. Why is that my fault? I didn't even give him a consequence. So, why are you upset with me that _____ did this?" And then I had to say, "Hey, when you talk about me to your dad, he is going to come get me and have you repeat it to me, so we can all talk about it. So, think about what you are saying about me. And, by the way, I love you very much and it's because I love you that I am paying attention to your behavior. I am not against you, I am rooting for you, but you need turned around to go in the right direction."

 

Life is hard.

 

This year, we are having Christmas as a family this weekend because Sunday evening most of my children go to their dad's for nearly a week and they wont be here Christmas morning. And I'll do what my 18yog told me to... love whoever is here... find joy and beauty in the day anyway... And my oldest 2 daughters WILL be here. So, I have to focus on what I have and not what I do not have....

 

So... those are my ramblings on the topic...

 

Contentment brings beauty to life like very few other things.

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I didn't *continue* to be happy. I did what I could to constructively change it and then when it was certain that wasn't going to work, I fussed, I cried, I stormed, I pouted...and when it was clear that approach was going to make zero difference either, I constructed a new set of expectations and buried the old ones.

 

Then I dusted myself off and went on and little by little as I wasn't continually disapointed by the old unmet expectations, it got better. Then one day I realized that although it might not be the happiness I'd imagined for myself, I could be well despite life not going as I'd planned.

 

{{{Hugs}}}

 

What Pippen said, almost word-for-word.

 

Dh and I wanted more than one biological child, but we couldn't get pregnant again. We tried to change the situation by going through fertility treatments, and when trying to change the situation didn't work. I got MAD. I ranted and raved, I cried, I complained, I whined.

 

Over time, when it became clear that neither our attempts to control things, nor my whining or complaining, nor my feelings of anger made one bit of difference, dh and I made a conscious decision move on with life, one day at a time.

 

Through the process of just living life, one moment at a time, the disappointment faded and my focus changed from wishing for a child we couldn't have to enjoying the terrific child we *do* have.

 

Obviously, this strategy doesn't work if the unhappiness is related to stress in your marriage, for example. But if the unhappiness is related to a goal/plan, you can lean to make a new plan, once you give yourself time to feel sad/angry/disappointed that the "original" plan didn't work out. IMHO, it's important to allow yourself permission to be angry or sad or cheated before trying to move on. If you don't allow yourself time to do so, it's much harder to move on.

 

HIH,

 

Lisa

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I don't know how to tell somebody else to do it, but I know how I do it, sorta. My oldest was killed in a car accident in May. I feel like I type that all the time here and I do apologize - it is just such a huge part of who I am now. Before he died, our lives were not perfect. We had an extra house in FL we couldn't sell, dh has depression/anxiety issues, never enough money, other family issues, etc. No where near perfect, but I could always look at my family and say this is as good as it gets. Then my life forever changed on the morning of May 15th when soldiers were in my driveway to tell me my son had died in a car accident the night before. I was so numb. I was so gone. The only clear thing I remember doing that day was going to our bookshelves and picking out a book to read to my youngest son that night before he went to bed. I had always read to my older two kids each night. My youngest was different. More difficult. The reading went away and hurrying him to bed became the norm. I felt I needed to resume my past with my present. I think in some way it was choosing to live and be happy. Each morning I wake up, I think the same thing - my Timmy is dead. Then I hear him tell me in a big booming and loud obnoxious voice - "Get your freaking butt out of that bed and go take care of your kids!" I will myself to see the joy in my life. I still fail some days and sometimes I fail miserably. But I try again. I get up everyday and I honor the JOY my son was to people - the JOY he was to me! I trust that God has him now and he is happy. Sometimes I fear he is not - so I say it over and over in my mind that he is happy and he wants me to be happy. I believe you have to choose JOY when you can. Obviously, nobody will walk around singing and dancing all day, but if you can do your best and change your life to find JOY - then you are in the right direction. Blessings to you!

 

:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug: My heart breaks for your loss. My prayers for you and your family. :grouphug:

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I'm not a positive person by nature, and it's a daily struggle to be so. Although I'm not religious, the Serenity Prayer has always spoken to me:

"God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference."

 

I've repeated it until it's on a continuous loop running through my head. It helps.

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I don't know how to tell somebody else to do it, but I know how I do it, sorta. My oldest was killed in a car accident in May. I feel like I type that all the time here and I do apologize - it is just such a huge part of who I am now. Before he died, our lives were not perfect. We had an extra house in FL we couldn't sell, dh has depression/anxiety issues, never enough money, other family issues, etc. No where near perfect, but I could always look at my family and say this is as good as it gets. Then my life forever changed on the morning of May 15th when soldiers were in my driveway to tell me my son had died in a car accident the night before. I was so numb. I was so gone. The only clear thing I remember doing that day was going to our bookshelves and picking out a book to read to my youngest son that night before he went to bed. I had always read to my older two kids each night. My youngest was different. More difficult. The reading went away and hurrying him to bed became the norm. I felt I needed to resume my past with my present. I think in some way it was choosing to live and be happy. Each morning I wake up, I think the same thing - my Timmy is dead. Then I hear him tell me in a big booming and loud obnoxious voice - "Get your freaking butt out of that bed and go take care of your kids!" I will myself to see the joy in my life. I still fail some days and sometimes I fail miserably. But I try again. I get up everyday and I honor the JOY my son was to people - the JOY he was to me! I trust that God has him now and he is happy. Sometimes I fear he is not - so I say it over and over in my mind that he is happy and he wants me to be happy. I believe you have to choose JOY when you can. Obviously, nobody will walk around singing and dancing all day, but if you can do your best and change your life to find JOY - then you are in the right direction. Blessings to you!

 

:grouphug: Kari, thank you for sharing this. You are such an inspiration to me.

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How do you continue to be "happy" when the basics of the way you expected life to be just didn't happen?

Like:

You just assumed that you would pay your bills and that your spouse would feel the same way, you just assumed that all of your children would be healthy, you just assumed that you would love your spouse and visa/versa, you just assumed that you'd always have food/clothing for your family . . . (not all of these are me -- I'm just trying to give some examples.)

You hear of people that don't have limbs or have terrible diseases . . . that are very happy (and often more happy than the others that seem to have everything going their way.)

Just wondering how that mindset happens.

 

You just go on. What else can you do? You can whine alot (I did!), you can try and do something about it (been there, too) or you can deal with it (I am.) It wasn't until I decided to deal with what life had handed me that we started to see a way out. I had to let go of my expectations and my fears. My biggest fear was sending the dc to school - we finally did it and now I realize that we should have done it much sooner.

 

I am not one that can be happy in bad circumstances. That is simply the way I am. I am not going to try and change my personality, but I did learn something from it. Sitting around crying about the disaster life turned into wasn't helping anything. Waiting for my dh to agree to change things wasn't working, either (I had to say, "this is the way it is going to be" and then it was and I was right in this circumstance.)

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Bottom line for me? (And this will sound trite.....)

 

Knowing that God is good, that He is wise, and that He is loving. That I am His and He is with me and He is for me. That He will make all things work together for my good (which is His good, since I am His).

 

But also remembering that sin in the world causes pain, but that pain does not have to kill us.

 

And remembering that we are to count it all joy whenever we face trials of many kinds, knowing that the testing of our faith develops perseverance and that perseverance brings HOPE, and that when we hope in Him we will not be ashamed.

 

Believing these things to be TRUE TRUTH has been life changing for me.

 

Being able to have real HOPE in a good God, despite it all makes me not so much happy, as settled and able to move forward with joy. He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Trust in Him at all times and you will learn to smile in the battle.

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This may sound overly simplified after reading some of the deep responses by others. I think about my situation not being what I thought/expected and I always say to myself "it could be worse". (dh and I both lost our jobs at nearly the same time and couldn't keep living in our home. We hoped to sell but, couldn't so we rented it out and moved. BUT it could be worse; at least we were able to find a really cheap, junkie apartment to live in and we aren't living in a box under a bridge.) (my mom died of cancer way too young BUT it could be worse; at least my kids were able to spend some time with her and make some memories first.)

 

I have done this since my childhood and I have tried to help my kids keep life in perspective in the same way. This mind set makes me appreciate what I do have and focus on that- which is where I find happiness.;)

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Kari-never apologize for posting about your struggles. If people can post over and over about banal things like "what do you do for breakfast," you can work through this heartbreaking time in your life.

 

I agree with those who say you make a conscious decision.

 

When my dh deployed the first time their orders read that they would be gone between 120 and 365 days. I decided to believe he would be gone for a year. That way, it wouldn't be a shock if it came to pass. They wound up coming home at 8 months. I was happy. The wives who thought they would be home at 4 months were completely unhappy those last 4 months and complained the entire time, throwing a fit with the command and so forth. Our circumstances were the same, only our attitudes about it were different.

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Thank you! It is crazy how you saying that helps me so much, but it does.

 

Well, then, know that a lot of us are thinking the same thing. Hearing your thoughts on these things is very...silencing. In a good way. Like listening to someone who has seen something holy. You are a blessing here. :grouphug:

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-

 

Contentment brings beauty to life like very few other things.

 

This is so true.

 

I had a life-clarifying moment years ago in college. I was spending a cold January weekend in New York with a ministry that reached out to the homeless. On Saturday evening we went out all night long and brought blankets and food to the homeless under the bridges and sat and talked with them for a while. One man I was talking to was sharing his childhood struggles that led him to where he was, and I was sharing with him mine... and we were amazed at how identical our lives were (up to a certain point, of course). I remember him saying to me something like, "The difference between you and me is that you took all the junk that life threw at you and made a decision to move past it and make something of yourself in spite of it while I just let it all get me down." Until that conversation I never realized the power of contentment. Over the years I found contentment in what I had control over, and not in things that were out of my control. I allowed myself to move past the disappointments by being grateful for those small things that were going right. There are many days I catch myself feeling sorry for myself that things aren't the way I dreamed, but then I remind myself that I could choose to live in that dark place or I can live out the hope of greater things.

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Kari-never apologize for posting about your struggles. If people can post over and over about banal things like "what do you do for breakfast," you can work through this heartbreaking time in your life.

 

 

 

Well, then, know that a lot of us are thinking the same thing. Hearing your thoughts on these things is very...silencing. In a good way. Like listening to someone who has seen something holy. You are a blessing here. :grouphug:

 

:iagree::iagree::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:

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How do you continue to be "happy" when the basics of the way you expected life to be just didn't happen?

 

The only thing about my life that is as I had expected it to be was that I am a SAHM. While things could be better, I am basically happy. In fact, when I think about what I had expected, I now realize that given who I am now, that life really wouldn't make me happy. For the most part, this life is better. Of course, this life would be better with a few of the details from that life. I feel better about the ways things turned out by looking at it this way: If I had to trade this entire package for that entire package, would I be happy? No, I wouldn't, not now. So I make the most of what I do have. Does that make sense? I don't know if that makes any sense. Sometimes I think I'm stark raving mad.
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Bottom line for me? (And this will sound trite.....)

 

Knowing that God is good, that He is wise, and that He is loving. That I am His and He is with me and He is for me. That He will make all things work together for my good (which is His good, since I am His).

 

But also remembering that sin in the world causes pain, but that pain does not have to kill us.

 

And remembering that we are to count it all joy whenever we face trials of many kinds, knowing that the testing of our faith develops perseverance and that perseverance brings HOPE, and that when we hope in Him we will not be ashamed.

 

Believing these things to be TRUE TRUTH has been life changing for me.

 

Being able to have real HOPE in a good God, despite it all makes me not so much happy, as settled and able to move forward with joy. He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Trust in Him at all times and you will learn to smile in the battle.

 

Beautifully put!

 

God has a plan for us all and He won't allow us to have any cross that we cannot bear with His help. It is not for us to know why He allows the kind of suffering that Kari C. or Dana from the "Roscommon Acres" blog or all the other moms out there who have lost their children too young have experienced :crying: But we can take comfort that Mary was reunited with her son and that we too will be reunited with our lost loved ones some day :grouphug:

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Just wondering how that mindset happens.

 

The older I get the more I see the wisdom in the saying "its the little things in life". After a certain amount of life-beatings, merely being able to drag my aching body about and earn a living makes me very happy. Merely having ONE person a day laugh at a joke or a simple word play makes my day.

 

I was a miserable 20 year old with perfect health and everything I could want. I'm a very happy 52 year old who has less than my parents did (as in health, money, family, leisure, etc) at my age. They were happy, too.

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Bottom line for me? (And this will sound trite.....)

 

Knowing that God is good, that He is wise, and that He is loving. That I am His and He is with me and He is for me. That He will make all things work together for my good (which is His good, since I am His).

 

But also remembering that sin in the world causes pain, but that pain does not have to kill us.

 

And remembering that we are to count it all joy whenever we face trials of many kinds, knowing that the testing of our faith develops perseverance and that perseverance brings HOPE, and that when we hope in Him we will not be ashamed.

 

Believing these things to be TRUE TRUTH has been life changing for me.

 

Being able to have real HOPE in a good God, despite it all makes me not so much happy, as settled and able to move forward with joy. He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Trust in Him at all times and you will learn to smile in the battle.

 

Beautiful and just what I needed to hear. Please know you have touched a life today. Thank you. :grouphug:

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Bottom line for me? (And this will sound trite.....)

 

Knowing that God is good, that He is wise, and that He is loving. That I am His and He is with me and He is for me. That He will make all things work together for my good (which is His good, since I am His).

 

But also remembering that sin in the world causes pain, but that pain does not have to kill us.

 

And remembering that we are to count it all joy whenever we face trials of many kinds, knowing that the testing of our faith develops perseverance and that perseverance brings HOPE, and that when we hope in Him we will not be ashamed.

 

Believing these things to be TRUE TRUTH has been life changing for me.

 

Being able to have real HOPE in a good God, despite it all makes me not so much happy, as settled and able to move forward with joy. He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Trust in Him at all times and you will learn to smile in the battle.

 

 

You are SO wise. Thank you for your insights.

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Bottom line for me? (And this will sound trite.....)

 

Knowing that God is good, that He is wise, and that He is loving. That I am His and He is with me and He is for me. That He will make all things work together for my good (which is His good, since I am His).

 

But also remembering that sin in the world causes pain, but that pain does not have to kill us.

 

And remembering that we are to count it all joy whenever we face trials of many kinds, knowing that the testing of our faith develops perseverance and that perseverance brings HOPE, and that when we hope in Him we will not be ashamed.

 

Believing these things to be TRUE TRUTH has been life changing for me.

 

Being able to have real HOPE in a good God, despite it all makes me not so much happy, as settled and able to move forward with joy. He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Trust in Him at all times and you will learn to smile in the battle.

 

:iagree:As others have said, this is beautiful and true. God is good and my life experiences don't alter that truth. Also, the suffering we have in this world is caused by sin - we live in a fallen world and we should not expect life here to be without pain and disappointment. This is not our real home - heaven is. It will be worth it all when we see Christ.

 

Well, then, know that a lot of us are thinking the same thing. Hearing your thoughts on these things is very...silencing. In a good way. Like listening to someone who has seen something holy. You are a blessing here. :grouphug:

 

:iagree:Kari, God is using you in a mighty way. Your thoughts are priceless because they came at such a great cost. Keep telling us what we need to hear as many times as you want - you are indeed a blessing.

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How do you continue to be "happy" when the basics of the way you expected life to be just didn't happen?

Like:

You just assumed that you would pay your bills and that your spouse would feel the same way, you just assumed that all of your children would be healthy, you just assumed that you would love your spouse and visa/versa, you just assumed that you'd always have food/clothing for your family . . . (not all of these are me -- I'm just trying to give some examples.)

You hear of people that don't have limbs or have terrible diseases . . . that are very happy (and often more happy than the others that seem to have everything going their way.)

Just wondering how that mindset happens.

 

Not that you don't grieve what you've lost, even if the loss is a loss of expectations. But then you choose to look at what you do have and choose to be satisfied and joyous with that.

 

I watched a documentary of Mother Teresa a couple years back and was just floored by her approach to life. She seemed to see each person, no matter how sick, smelly, dirty or clean and selfish as a special gift. She seemed to think that having the opportunity to show love to everyone she met was a means of receiving a gift, not just giving one.

 

A friend and mentor of mine from college has had 3 bouts with cancer. Last year they amputated her arm and shoulder to stop another invasive cancer. I got a photo of her a couple weeks later, sitting on the floor, wrapping presents one handed as she steadied them with her feet. Her smile was the same joyous smile I remembered from 20+ years ago. Evidently, her room was always the spot for the hospital staff to come and get a pick me up from her prayers, laughter and encouragement. Think about that. You're going to an amputee's room for encouragement on your rounds.

 

Or you might think of the Navy Seal who told people not to feel sorry for him, despite his tremendous injuries.

 

If you want to be that person, choose it and be that.

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You just assumed that you would pay your bills and that your spouse would feel the same way, you just assumed that all of your children would be healthy, you just assumed that you would love your spouse and visa/versa, you just assumed that you'd always have food/clothing for your family . . . (not all of these are me -- I'm just trying to give some examples.)

 

You hear of people that don't have limbs or have terrible diseases . . . that are very happy (and often more happy than the others that seem to have everything going their way.)

Just wondering how that mindset happens.

 

You get what you get, and you don't pitch a fit. Useful words in parenting a child and in kicking yourself in the pants when you need to. I think people in general can rise to the occasion.

 

To be honest, I didn't assume that my life would be perfect, so I wasn't that surprised when something bad happened. Since I don't believe in any anthropomorphic deities, I didn't feel betrayed. Sure, our day-to-day lives are harder than other people's, but we also don't have the pressure to keep up with the Joneses. We have to follow our own path, which is both more difficult and more liberating than following the beaten path.

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I think its all a part of growing up...maturing. Life is as it is, and accepting it is a key to happiness- not getting what you want. Having expectations sets us up for disappointment.

 

I think going through some really hard times and coming through the other side helps put things in perspective. When I was in my teens my parents divorced, I left home at 16, I was a street person for a while...it was rough and I was not a happy person although not everyone knew that- even me. Into my early twenties I was quite a mess. Later when I settled down and had kids...I was soooooo grateful for them, for so many things, and I still am- and I have such a soft spot for teenagers because of what I went through. A lot of empathy.

 

But my kids have had so much, and haven't even known anyone close to them who has died or any calamities or anything. They are psychologically healthy, unlike me at their age. I often wonder how they will cope when one day life blindsides them. Probably quite well, and I wouldnt wish unecessary suffering on them or anyone...but I think the suffering I went through grew a lot of compassion in me, and for that I am also grateful.

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I've been going through some struggles of my own lately, and this transcript from one of Elisabeth Elliot's radio broadcasts was particularly encouraging to me today. Maybe it could be an encouragement to you or others as well. :grouphug:

 

Thanks for sharing this. I just read it and I especially liked this part:

 

In the mail that came to my jungle station after my husband Jim died were many letters quoting Scripture. I was very grateful for those letters, but I think the verse that stood out more than all the others, and the one that I have remembered the most clearly from that time, was II Corinthians 4:17, 18. Somebody sent me those words.

 

"These little troubles, which are really so transitory are winning for us a permanent glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain, for we are looking all the time not at the visible things, but at the invisible. The visible things are transitory. It is the invisible things that are really permanent."

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How do you continue to be "happy" when the basics of the way you expected life to be just didn't happen?

Like:

You just assumed that you would pay your bills and that your spouse would feel the same way, you just assumed that all of your children would be healthy, you just assumed that you would love your spouse and visa/versa, you just assumed that you'd always have food/clothing for your family . . . (not all of these are me -- I'm just trying to give some examples.)

You hear of people that don't have limbs or have terrible diseases . . . that are very happy (and often more happy than the others that seem to have everything going their way.)

Just wondering how that mindset happens.

 

The power to choose to be happy, or not, still is mine. Things I can't change, I can't change. And it's useless to waste my time wallowing about it. I choose to change my attitude.

 

There is a period of grief over what's been lost. And that's good. But then it's time to get up and move forward.

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I think it is easier to be happy when the bad things are out of your control. You are missing an arm, well exactly what can you do about that? You want to pay your bills, but dh disagrees. Well, that is an argument. It is destined to breed discontent. Healthy children? To some degree, there is something that you can do. Of course, at some point there isn't.

:iagree: I don't really have any answers, but I can empathize to a certain extent. I didn't get married until I was 34 years old. It was horrible waiting. Going through all my friends' weddings, always a bridesmaid, never a bride. All that. I was very disillusioned. And the older I got the less hope I had of ever getting married. Then, I got married and was infertile. I think there's truth, though, to the idea that things are easier to deal with when you have no control over them. Because then you can't really blame yourself. When your circumstances are bad and it's a result of your own bad decisions, then there's the guilt factor in there. In my case, though, I became more of a realist. I just try to look at life as it is and make the best of it. I know that sounds simplistic, but what else is there to do?

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You are SO wise. Thank you for your insights.

 

You know what is amazing to me? That these things that I have come to believe have come about as the fruit of so, so much pain in my life. So many tears and lonely nights. He takes our pain and our tears and makes of them wisdom when we trust in Him completely. What a blessing to see this now.

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How do you continue to be "happy" when the basics of the way you expected life to be just didn't happen?

 

I have a friend with two autistic teenagers. He said having his them is like planning a trip to Paris. You pack your bags and get on the plane but when the plane lands you are not in Paris you are in in Warsaw. Its not where you dreamed about going but Warsaw is not bad it is just different. It is not your dream, but you can still enjoy Warsaw.

 

When our daughter got sick, I thought back to what he had said and it really helped. It is not our dream for our daughter but we can (and do) still enjoy life with her, even if it means hours of waiting in doctors offices.

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There are times in my life that reading this posted on my wall has helped.

 

ATTITUDE

 

 

by

 

 

 

Charles Swindoll

 

 

 

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudesâ€

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I guess that I've never really had expectations about what I think my life *should* be like, what I should have, materially; what kind of relationships I will have, etc. So I guess that I don't feel disappointment because things don't follow the plan I might have had for myself.

 

I guess that I just tend to put one foot in front of the other in living each day and attempting to take in stride whatever comes with that day. I do try to plan, save, take precautions and in other ways be prudent in order to hopefully insure that life will run smoothly, but it does not necessarily always do so. When times seem dark, then I tend to be in prayer even more than usual and God has always lifted any burden from me almost immediately.

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I don't know how to tell somebody else to do it, but I know how I do it, sorta. My oldest was killed in a car accident in May. I feel like I type that all the time here and I do apologize - it is just such a huge part of who I am now. QUOTE]

 

Kari, please don't apologize. It *is* a huge part of who you are now. it is who you are and you are welcome here as you are. And thank you for sharing your life.

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There is so much wisdom on this thread - thank you to all the ladies who have shared. I don't know what my words will be worth, but a friend and I talk often about this subject.

 

I imagine my life as a set on a TV studio. I thought I'd be living in a romantic Jane Austen movie. Instead, it's more like "Married with Children" but with a few less crude jokes. But the thing is - it's the same dream. Just different wallpaper. I wanted to be loved, to have a family, to be artistic. And though it doesn't contain all the pretty set pieces, at its core it's still the life I wanted. I try to focus on that. What was at the *core* of the life I expected? Love. A purpose. I have it. It's the same TV studio. Just a different set right now. In a few years, that set will change again. I've lived a lot of different lives already, and I'm only 31.

 

When I really get going on feeling that all is lost, I let myself dream. What do you want to be doing in 20 years? In 30? Remember that nothing is permanent. Things do change, and often, and in the blink of an eye as Kari reminds all of us. Choose hope instead of despair and enjoy the little moments right now as they come, before they are foggy memories.

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