When Terrible and Wonderful Refine Us


I hear the crying drifting down the stairwell from the hallway. Why is it I want to put my hands over my ears and run? Pain is hard to hear. A bad day. Not getting to sit by a friend, sliding on the rug and hitting his head on the wall, making a poor choice, and then missing out on dessert. It’s too much for a little guy, and almost too much for me. To be refined by life’s reality is like being a cup of liquid, spilled out on the table. Sometimes your contents drips all over the floor.

I can’t fix the bad, and neither can Bobby. He has the patience to listen to the lament and redirect it to little thank yous.

“Do you have enough to eat?” he asks.

“Yes,” said with a whimper and a sniff.

“Do you have clothes?”


“A bed?”



Overhearing the exchange, I see how disappointed I was with the day too: how one experience often sends me in a tizzy.

I get out my pen and my new daily download sheet and realize there were indeed many experiences and choices out of my control. I don’t always like them. They make me grumpy and want to cover my ears.

Tonight our family sat cramped and sweaty with nowhere to put our adult-sized legs and puffy coats. The joy of middle school bleachers and second year band concerts! But then I noticed how Abby was the first one to stand up at the applause, brown eyes gleaming under her carefully applied eye shadow.

“I can’t believe I pulled that off!” she repeated, referring to the new clarinet part she crammed in two hours the night before.

I go up to shut Kyle’s door. He is sound asleep, exhausted from the bad day. I wonder how God uses all of it, the terrible and the wonderful.

Will I let the tension refine me?Tweet This

This one-word writing prompt is part of the Five Minute Friday link-up. REFINE was our word this week. (// indicates the beginning and end of five minutes.) Check out all the fabulous creativity here.

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January 20, 2017