How to Turn the Bitter into Sweet (or at Least Bearable)

Last night the family went to a basketball game between Midland’s own Northwood University and Ben’s and my alma mater Hillsdale College.

The littlest had been pretty cranky all day and started complaining about her tummy hurting. This paranoid mama recalled the conversation the night before about the stomach flu going around and started dreading the worst. Then my stomach began to hurt.

But we all went. I started feeling better, the Hillsdale ladies were winning, and it was nice to just sit and not have to do anything. Until the littlest got bored and I became the playmate. I enjoyed it, I really did… for the first 40 minutes. Then I started feeling tired and weary. So were the Hillsdale ladies apparently.

I began to complain in my spirit. I’m tired, I just want to go home, if we stay too late the kids will all be grumpy tomorrow, why do I have to play with Naomi all the time, why didn’t I bring more things for her to do?

We muddled through the ladies’ game from 6-7:40, which Hillsdale lost 92-64. The men’s game began at 8 and we had discussed how the kids probably wouldn’t make it through much of the men’s game. So my expectations were that we were close to leaving and close to bedtime. But then the oldest, as Ben said, “steadfastly,” wanted to stay and the middle did too. That just left me and the little one in the minority. So we decided to stay, and I went to go refill water bottles.

I asked God why I was having such a bad attitude and asked for strength and a better attitude for the rest of the night. Fisrt He asked me to examine what I was believing. I realized that I was believing the lie that I was all alone, that it was all up to me to help the little one and change my attitude. But it wasn’t. Ben was there and began playing with her when I asked him to. God was with me, waiting for me to come humbly to ask for help. He gave me the insight to realize that this was a special night for the older girls that they will probably remember for a long time; less for the 75-60 Hillsdale men’s team loss than for the overall experience. We discussed on the way home that this had been the first basketball game above the middle school level the girls had ever seen in person.

Hillsdale v Northwood

Hillsdale v Northwood

God did change my attitude. I was still tired, but I was no longer bitter about being there. I believe that my attitude changed because of three main things:

  • God showed me my disempowering belief that I was all alone and replaced it with the true belief that Ben could help and that God would give me strength if I asked.
  • I thanked God for helping me see my wrong belief and asked for His strength for the rest of the night.
  • God showed me the perspective of the other people who were there and gave me the ability to rejoice with them.

What situation are you in where you need to examine your beliefs, ask God for strength, and look for a new perspective? I know it’s easier to say than do, but if your know Christ, you have the Spirit of God residing in you, and you are NOT alone!

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