May 1, 2012


Mom said there´d be days like this.

Alexander said it in Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

But this was actually a series of days.  A series of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days.  Days I had to make a choice about:  Trust or Freak Out.  I can´t say I went in the right direction every day.

There are many variations of a Bad Day.  There was a time when a bad day was two sick kids and a broken washer and my husband gone a trip.  (There is always something exponentially troublesome as soon as Dad leaves home.) And this IS a bad day; please don´t think I am making light of it.
But in this season of my life a Bad Day has been taken to a whole new level with coups & tsunamis, expulsions, revolutions and great hostility in the countries of some teams we coach.  There are also tremendous people needs around us right here, a difficult process & the ensuing communications necessary as we leave an unhealthy situation in our lives, accidents, chronic pain, hormones gone wild, a worrisome tumour in my husband´s ear, children leaving´s all been a part of the last couple of weeks.

But one particular day last week my dog was hit by a car and over 50 stitches, 3 broken ribs and a collapsed lung later, she was back home.  My daughter, who was out with her at the time, cried throughout the day all of her relief, fear and guilt together.  We debriefed the experience and learned from it and rejoiced that our dog had survived.  When the dog seemed her cheerful self again after only 48 hours, we relaxed.  (Although there´s a lot of extra care needed in the coming weeks.)

The guy who hit her wants money for the “damages” to his car and told my daughter about this in the first moments as the dog bled on the road.  I was not happy about his insensitivity and lack of timing.  (The Mother Bear thing emerges at the most unexpected times!)  We have lived overseas a long time but we had never been through this and we had to figure how to proceed in this culture and walk through the necessary hoops all the while keeping him away from our daughter.  He had her cell phone number so that he could “call and see how your dog is doing”.  I confess that I experienced a lot of emotions on that day and I lost all sense of decorum and trust in the Lord and freaked out about finances and the whole unfortunate & ugly situation.

I understood later that same week during a doctor´s visit that part of what contributed to the freaking out were some raging hormones.  Between not sleeping through the night for weeks & a series of feminine issues (I´ll spare you), the Dr. finally gave me an answer:  estrogen.  My husband is really happy about an answer.  I am happy about an answer.  And basically, anyone who has to have anything to do with me is happy for an answer!

A bad stretch of back pain also contributed to my Bad Day.  Months of chronic pain have run into each other as I have waited on a waiting list for physiotherapy.  I finally had to change centers to get some help and let´s just say the less-than-helpful receptionist did not make this process smooth.  I actually had several of those “this would never happen in my country” moments where I lost perspective.  But I pushed through and yesterday had my first session at a new place.  What a relief!  During this time I haven´t been able to go to the gym and that is not ok with my body or psyche.  My energy and mood in this time have plummeted and that fuelled  my Bad Day.

I think it´s fair to say there´s nothing like the combination of chronic pain, lack of sleep and hormonal imbalance to mess up your perspective on any given day!

Settled like bookends on either side of my extended Bad Day are the endless more “normal” To Do´s:  projects, responsibilities, guests, trips, e-mails, missing my husband who travels often, upcoming home assignment to plan & make videos for, groceries, laundry, cleaning, a senior who is graduating and a college student in finals under great stress (and my helplessness at being far away), etc., etc., ad nauseam.

When I finally came to a quiet place in which I asked The Most Important Question of the whole week:  “What is God saying?”  His response was immediate:

It´s going to be ok.

I am with you.

I am in charge.

I govern your days, your weeks, your trips, your guests, your summer, your life.

Your ways are not My ways.

I decide on the lessons, determine the chapters, I write all the curriculum for your life.

Just be with Me.  Rest a while with Me. Let My Word wash through you.  Let Me.

Let ME.

Let ME.

I know you have had worse days than this. Please forgive me for this whining session.  I just wanted you to know that we all have a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day once in a while. 

And that He longs to redeem it

To show up in it.

To be with you in it.

So, let Him.

Photo by ladybugrock


  1. Thanks Pam. May I share some encouraging meditations from one worship leader, Sue, to another? I just finished listening to three songs with Sue that she is going to share with a womens group this morning: I'm trading my sorrows... I will praise you in this storm... and Blessings by Laura Story... What if your blessings come through raindrops, what if your healing comes through tears... thank you for being the faithful friend who shares the real pain of life, lived out in the presence of Jesus, who loves you and does offer help, and healing and rest... Dana

  2. THANK YOU. It´s humbling that you guys even comment on my bad day knowing your journey. It´s for that reason I posted this with fear & trembling: my worst day will always be better than someone´s and worse than someone´s. In it all may we practice your gentle advice: that "blessings come through raindrops"...

  3. Your very real pain matters to Jesus every bit as deeply as the small and big things His other beloved children are facing. That's our Father's love. Don't compare... let him meet you in the very personal crazy space you live in. What a greet redeemer of sinners we serve...



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