by Cathy Ballantine
Are you a Pollyanna? For those who don’t know the story of Pollyanna, she’s the title character of a book, who has an optimistic and positive attitude to life, finding something to be glad about in every situation, even in the darkest times.
2015 was quite a horrible year for my family. It started out with the unexpected death of my sister in law, my van was smashed in an accident, our place was hit by a flash flood while I was in Biloela at a QBW conference and my husband in NZ at a family wedding, (the kids and grandparents were left at home to cope), my husband’s work van was stolen, just to name a few. It seemed to be one hit after another.
How is it possible to find something to be glad about in these situations? I assure you; I didn’t immediately look for it. It’s quite often afterwards, during times of reflection, that you can see something positive from your hardship. What do you do when something like this happens?
I liken these situations to sitting on a surfboard on the crest of a wave. How we ride the wave into shore, is extremely important. Do we jump off the surfboard at the crest of the wave because we are upset or something has caused us grief, feeling alone, rejected, or hurt? Or do we take on the wave and let God help us to shore, clinging to him and trusting that He has control of the surfboard and the wave? You must get to the shore, one way or another. It’s a long hard swim if you don’t trust the wave, just like our trials are so much harder if we don’t trust God to help us through them.
As I rode the waves of 2015, I found something to be glad about in the situation (except the loss of my Sister in Law, I’m still working on that one). The song “From the Inside Out” by Hillsong came up on my playlist in the car and these words jumped out at me.
“And the cry of my heart
Is to bring You praise
From the inside out
Lord my soul cries out”.
There were many times my heart and soul cried out, trying to make sense of things that were happening, wondering why or what next, poor me, its not fair, why do we deserve this. Each time I was sitting on the top of the wave, I had to decide; do I bail here, crumble and give in to the situation and take the long, hard way back to shore or take the wave and let God handle it. It’s pretty scary to take that leap of faith, but wow, what a thrill to come out the other end.
Most times, the positives would reveal themselves as I moved through or even out the other side of the event. We were so blessed by family, friends and church family, who surrounded us with love, prayer and encouragement during our times of crisis. God had everything in His control, on his timeframe, not mine. Hindsight is a marvelous thing and looking back, I can see God’s hand in everything.
Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
It’s not easy to choose to rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances, but a great thing to learn and make a part of your life. Some of us will find it harder than others. We aren’t all naturally Pollyanna’s, but we can strive to learn, to grow and to cling to God and let him deal with the bad stuff and leave us with good memories.
Cathy Ballantine has been a part of the Qld Baptist Women's Team since 2010. She works part time as State Administrator and Uniform Shop Manager for The Boys’ Brigade Qld and has a home based Admin business. Cathy is married to Matt and they have 4 children - Declan, Brenna, Jacob and Megan. They have been a part of Salisbury Baptist Church since 1999.
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