Ever notice how some of the worst and best moments often go together?
For example, this little lady woke up sick yesterday. Stuffy, runny, and WAY emotional. I hated that she was so miserable, and that I had to cancel some things I had been looking forward to. I was struggling myself yesterday. The cold, gloomy morning had triggered an unexpected bout with seasonal depression that was gnawing at me from the inside out. I've done pretty well this year, but every now and then, I get kicked in the gut with one of these episodes, and yesterday was the day. In addition, there was shopping to do, dinner to make, and other tasks to be done. None of it was happening, and she was breaking my heart.
But, do you know what was so wonderful? Canceling everything on my schedule! Having a day (or two now) to snuggle, play with, sing to, and care for this darling little girl.
Hearing her say, "I want a mommy hug!" through her tears last night, knowing she is comforted by my presence.
Feeling her head nestle into that spot on my neck that was made for her as she rests her head on my shoulder
Stroking her soft, silky hair and hearing her breathing settle and slow as I tell her everything is going to be ok
Watching her eyes close, framed by lashes wet with tears, as the crying stops and she relaxes in my arms, knowing that she loves and trusts me with her whole soul
And I realize that so many of the sweetest moments in life come because I've known the hard times.
A simple date night with my husband means so much because he has been gone and busy so often. He recently got a new position with his company, which is wonderful, but is filling both roles until his replacement is found for the old job. Those days when I am doing everything alone, holding down the fort, taking care of 6 kids and all of their physical and emotional needs on my own, are part of the reason I appreciate him so much when he is here.
An invitation to play with a friend and great grades make me want to dance for joy for my son that has had to fight for his mental health, and was devastated to repeat the 4th grade not so long ago.
An afternoon run by my daughter makes me smile after watching her battle through injuries for years.
I've heard people wonder how a loving God could let bad things happen to us. I've heard others ask why everything has to be so hard (and I'll admit I've asked that question myself a time or two!) We all have our public and private heartaches that we would gladly be rid of if only we could.
But days like today are a small-scale reminder to me that it is all part of the Plan designed by my Father for my happiness. Without these times, I would not know joy, and I would not grow and become stronger. And for that, I am grateful.
*For great counsel on this subject, I love Jeffrey R. Holland's "For Times of Trouble" here.