Life is not all roses

By Debra Whittington: QCS Religion Columnist

Rejoice evermore. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18

I came home a few nights ago from scrapbooking with friends and found our goats standing by the driveway. They acted rather surprised to see me and I was definitely surprised to see them out of their yard. I quickly went inside to get Mark to come and help get the goats back where they belonged.

We found the place where they got out and tried to shoo them back in their yard. They had other ideas and tried to run the other way. My patience was severely tested as we tried to get the goats heading in the right direction.

Finally we managed to get the goats back in their yard. Mark repaired the fence where they got out and we turned to go back into the house. It was then he noticed that my rose bushes looked funny. Since it was dark outside we couldn’t see them very well and decided to take a closer look in the morning.

Mark woke up before me and looked out the window. He told me he had good news and bad news. The good news was my flowerbed was still green because the goats hadn’t bothered the weeds. The bad news was the goats had stripped all the rose bushes and ate a couple of them down almost to the ground.

I felt like crying because the roses were blooming the day before and were so beautiful even if there were weeds mixed in. I am trying hard to rid the flowerbed of weeds and work almost every morning pulling them. Now all that is left are some stems and of course more weeds.

Walking around the scene of the disaster I decided I had a choice. I could let what happened ruin my day or I could get over it. I decided I would get over it. Mark and I even had a good laugh together as we surveyed the leftovers from the night before. As we were laughing we turned and saw the goats looking through the fence at us. I told them their smorgasbord was closed for good.

In the past I let things like this get the best of me. In fact this very thing happened where we lived before. The goats got out and made a beeline for my roses. That time they only stripped the blooms off before I discovered they were out. I was miserable for days as I lamented over all the hard work that went into planting and caring for the roses.

While goats eating roses seems like something very trivial compared to other problems we face it was still a challenge. It gave me a chance to look at other things that happened to Mark and I over the last couple of years. We faced things like moving, major illnesses in our family, and even death in our family.

If I allowed them to get to me, I would be miserable all the time. Instead, I made a conscious effort to do the best I could with the circumstances and rely on the Lord to see me through.

All of us face challenges in our lives, but we each have a choice to make. We can allow our challenges to get us down into a mire of misery or we can look at the silver lining. Paul told us to rejoice always and to give thanks. We can rejoice in the Lord in seeing us through the challenges of our lives.

Through a chronic illness I learned that I had to give thanks to the Lord as never before. I learned to thank Him on my good days. I learned to thank Him even more on my bad days. Sometimes on my bad days all I can do is think about all of the good things He has done and focus on His majesty. It is the bad times that draws me closer to Him and builds my faith.

Life is a series of choices and challenges each and every day. What are you going to do when the goats eat your roses?