Do What You Can
by Christine Carter
Like most people, I have been faced with my own set of trials, tribulations and burdens in life. The longer we live, the more of these we all experience. It is unavoidable. If there is anything we can count on in life, it is that unexpected things will happen. We cannot control life’s events. What we do with these events is what’s more important.
I lost my mom in my 20’s from recurrent breast cancer, and I was not prepared for it. My dad is suffering from Parkinson’s and the disease takes parts of him away that were so much a part of who he was. In ways I miss both of my parents, and I see my dad every week. As we get older, we lose people we love, and it is heartbreaking. We have a hope and a promise that we will see them again in heaven. For those we still have with us, we can embrace our time with them and treasure the moments more, knowing none of us are promised unlimited time here on earth.
I once encountered a situation that was out of my control. This changed my view of life. It caused me to feel overwhelmed and depressed and I sought God many times asking what to do, asking for him to lift this from me. I still pray the same prayer. This has been one of the most debilitating experiences of my life. But God has allowed it. As hard as this is, I have to accept it.
Sometimes marriage can be challenging. You plan on happiness, but you often get a lot of things you weren’t expecting. Our vows say for better or for worse, and that definitely depends on the day. I am grateful for my husband and the life we have together. And, no matter what struggles we face, I believe that better days can come. That which God has united, let no man divide. God holds us together.
My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. A few months later I was pregnant again with my son Marquis, a blessing from God who I am eternally grateful for. But parenting is hardly easy, and with virtual schooling, sometimes I literally want to pull my hair out on the daily. I deal with anxiety I have had my entire life, and there is a good possibility both myself and my child have adhd. His brings mine out. It is not pretty.
These may sound like complaints, but this is real life. Real, hard life. And I am not saying I have overcome any situation in my life. There are more, but I don’t even need to get into them. Sometimes life gets messy, if we are honest. Yes, I can focus on the positive, but if reality is looking negative, remember, this is not the end. It may feel like it, but my experience has been that when you think something will never change, life surprises you. If there is one thing we can count on it is that things do change, and more importantly, God is in control.
There is a quote from John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, ‘Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.’ I love this quote. This is how I want to live. But my reality often leaves me feeling out of control, and exhausted, and not able to do anything for anyone else.
Recently I was talking to a good friend of mine who was sharing from her own perspective, we have to do all that we can, and let God handle the rest. When we feel out of control, he is our peace that passes understanding. Jesus calmed the waters, and he can calm me. But we have to do all we can. This means taking whatever actions necessary to make our circumstance better. Sometimes I really fail at this. But each new day is an opportunity to start again.
So what can we do? We can wake up in the morning thankful for a new day. We can open the window and see the sunshine. We can open a devotional and find some encouraging words in it. There are countless promises God has made to his children in his word. We can hold onto them during difficult times. We can seek out a support network. We can pray. And we can act. This means different things for different situations.
If you feel that your life is out of control, it’s not. Believe it or not, God is not surprised and he is not shocked by your life. He knows all of your days and the number of hairs on your head. When things get messy and dirty, he sees you as he made you, and through the eyes of a loving Father. And he is always in control. We just have to be ok with that.
So what can you do? What can you make better? Do that. And if you have you can rest easy knowing God is there, he loves you no matter what, and HE can take care of the rest.
About the Author
Christine Carter is a working mom of a 12-year-old active son Marquis and has been married to her best friend Brent Carter for almost 15 years.
She attends Bethel: the Church at Philadelphia Mills, where she has been attending for almost 12 years.
She is currently a Quality Assurance Specialist at Gate 1 Travel in Fort Washington, PA. She resides in Levittown, PA, where she has lived for most of her life.
She is currently attending John Brown University’s online program where she is working on finishing a Psychology Degree which she began at JBU in NW Arkansas in the 1990s. She expects to graduate in May 2021.
She has always enjoyed writing, and poetry has been her method of choice. She believes that if you have a talent or a gift from God, or a desire to be used for His kingdom, He will make a way. You simply need to be willing.
You can read Christine’s Diary of a Prodigal Daughter column on the 3rd Friday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.