What Was So Good about Last Year?

It was New Year’s Day, and Dennis and I reflected back over the year by  reviewing memories of 2016. Memories were noted and placed in a Memory Jar.

“Why is a broken water heater a good thing—especially four days before Christmas?” my curious husband asked.

As we shared turns reading each written memory,  it was obvious we had different perspectives of  good. To me, even though the heater went out at the most inconvenient time, I was thankful. Using dry towels to absorb the excess water helped to keep it lit until it could be replaced—10 days later.

Sometimes you have to look really hard to find something good.

We started keeping a memory jar two years ago so we could look for good things all year-long Dennis and I were in a difficult place and wanted to be intentional about looking for joy in the ordinary. The object was to notice something good, touching or meaningful by writing it out on a slip of paper.

All the big memories are never forgotten, but it’s the little joys, the teensy things that tend to get forgotten. ~ Jaden 

Our  jar contained memories written on slips of paper, pictures, ticket stubs.

Good Things from 2016

  • A couple we counseled experienced a major breakthrough in their marriage
  • Description of a divine connection in April that
  • Led to a ministry partnership in Texas
  • Protection for family in a near-miss car accident
  • Our 43rd Anniversary celebration
  • Cubs win World Series
  • Several East Coast family members visited us

Looking for Good in Bad

Dennis’ dad (almost 83) visited us here on the West Coast in July. Pop enjoyed his trip with us, our son and his family. When we were snapping four-generation pictures, we certainly didn’t think it would be the last.

The bad is that Pop died in September.

The good?  He was happy and in pretty good shape when he visited us.  We had planned a trip to visit him in North Carolina months before. We are thankful we were there and Dennis got to spend the last 2 days with him before his unexpected death.

Two months earlier, Pop knew his bride of 57 years needed more care than he could give. With a heavy heart, he searched for and placed her in a Memory Care facility.

The good?  On our visits with her during our extended stay in NC, we were consoled that Mom was with other like-minded residents.  Our time with her and the other residents usually were filled with laughter and entertainment for us all.

 It was a splash of joy in a dark situation.

Sometimes you have to look really hard to find something good.

Music has always been a source of inspiration and comfort to us. While in Texas for a ministry opportunity, during a morning of corporate worship, the chorus of a song by Kristene DiMarco & Bethel Music stirred my heart.

I sensed God’s Spirit whisper to me– “how is your soul?” My response echoed the song’s lyrics:

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
It is well with me

When the bad happens in our lives, we struggle to find the good. Yet, no matter what I face, I know that through it all, my eyes are focused on the One who initiates and perfects my faith.

And in the end, all that matters is

It is well with my soul.

In 2017, I hope you find joy in even the worst of situations.

If you belong to Him, your story has an indescribably happy ending—no matter what is happening in your life right now. And just knowing that your story finishes so wondrously well can fill your present earth-journey with Joy. ~ Sarah Young 

Is it well with your soul?


Image credit:  jan-kahanek@unsplash.com






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