Depending on where you are in the world this may already be 2018. So, just in case...
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Actually, I'm aware this post will make it online just under the wire to be counted with the 2017 posts. But I did promise an encouraging story to end on. You will love this. I share it with permission.
I was recently talking with a dear lady who's part of our congregation. She and her husband are newly retired from the business world and from many years in education. Their four adult children are raising healthy families of their own in locations all around the U.S.
Mary and her husband travel frequently these days; making memories with all the grandchildren. She lights up when talking about them.
Their most recent journey was to visit their oldest son and his family in Arizona. He serves as a worship pastor for a church of over 10,000 members. This is a position he accepted after many years on the road with an internationally known band.
He and his wife follow the Lord closely while leading their children in the same way. With good reason, mom and dad celebrate the choices their son has made over the years.
But things were not always so idyllic.
You see, this particular son was an inquisitive child. Always on the move. Always learning. Always searching the world around him.
Keeping up with him was a full-time job for mom. By the time he hit kindergarten, it was obvious he was also extremely intelligent.
But his first teacher was more concerned with maintaining an "orderly" classroom than with developing the different learning styles of the children entrusted to her. Her declared objective was to teach this five year old boy to sit still in a desk so she could teach uninterrupted.
(Simple note: Little boys are designed to climb, explore, ask questions, touch icky bugs and run. Seldom ever do they enjoy sitting still for long periods of time.)
Mary and her husband were very intentional about teaching discipline and respect to their children. So they tried to support the teacher. But for their active son, this classroom became a miserable experience.
Mary said that she began watching the light go out in her son's eyes ever so slowly. He became quiet and withdrawn, even at home. He started having stomach aches on a regular basis. Getting ready for school was a time they both dreaded each day.
And almost every afternoon the teacher would meet Mary in the car line with this phrase, "Another bad day, Mrs. Arnold. He had another bad day!"
Just remembering caused Mary to drop her head ever so slightly as she told me about it. The words still piercing all these years later.
Day after day the scene was repeated.She would manage to get her precious boy to school each morning only to get the same disappointing report each afternoon, "Another bad day, Mrs. Arnold. Another bad day."
They survived the year but knew serious changes would have to take place before the next school year began. So they searched and found a different school that was better equipped to develop the learning style of their child.
Still, through the years, the words of that first teacher often rang in her ears, "Another bad day, Mrs. Arnold. Another bad day!"
Eventually, their son grew into a fine man who completed high school and college with honors. His love of music led him to connect with three other young men and they developed an unconventional Christian band.
Their objective as musicians was to reach a young audience using songs with strong moral messages, including the Gospel. They rose quickly in popularity and began playing in huge venues around the world.
At one of these concerts, Mary and her husband were given box seats. They relished every moment watching their dear son sing to the packed house. Each original song had some message of hope; pointing the listeners to Christ.
His parents were beaming.
The crowd loved the music, too. They applauded wildly after each number. In fact when the concert concluded, the crowd rose to their feet calling out for an encore.
The band came back out on stage to sing one last song. The applause was thunderous as the final notes faded. Mary's son took another bow expressing his appreciation for the crowd.
That's when it happened.
He looked up into the box where his beloved parents were seated. He pointed to his mother and said, "Another GOOD day, Mrs. Arnold. Another good day!"
His words meant nothing to the crowd. But with those two sentences, he erased all the discouraging declarations of that first teacher. All the self-judgments of that young mother were washed away.
Mary and I cried together as she told me of the incredible moment.
Don't give up, dear reader. No matter what the obstacles were in 2017, a new year is beginning. No matter how many times you've heard a similar report of discouragement, don't give up.
Your "Good Day" is just around the corner, I'm sure. Just keep moving forward.
Scripture puts it like this, "Weeping may last for the night. But JOY comes in the morning."
Isn't that a great story of hope?!
May 2018 bring great blessing for you and all those you love!