When I was 19, one of my childhood friends was killed instantly in a car wreck. It was my freshman year in college–her senior year in high school. She was only 17.
The weeks that followed saw my child-like faith being truly tested for the first time.
Why did this happen? Where is she now? Do I truly believe in heaven and hell and eternity? If Jesus is really in my heart, then why don’t I feel Him?
From the other side of that tumultuous inner battle emerged a young woman whose faith had been shaken and whose heart had been changed–for the better.
For in her death, God used Courtney to push me hard into Him.
A few weeks after her passing, I visited with her mother.
“Do you want to see Courtney’s bedroom?” she asked. “She had already decorated for Christmas.”
And so we climbed the stairs to her room. There stood the miniature tree, her bookshelf with all the Christian romances we devoured back in those days–and a small printed quote from Charles Stanley plastered to the wall.
We are in charge of our attitudes…
I remember looking at that quote and later typing it up, printing it out and sliding it into the front of one of my college binders.
Ever since I read that quote, whenever a hard day or week or month–or year–hits me, I think back to it and its meaning.
We are in charge of our attitudes…
A few weeks ago I was there–you know the place.
Our girls and my husband came down with a stomach virus–on the day we were supposed to have house guests.
I succumbed to a cold–for the first time in two years.
Someone hit the back side of my mini van–totaling it.
But in light of eternity, these things are superficial.
I could have chosen to get a bad attitude about them, or I could have chosen to look to our blessings in the midst of them.
I was able to care for my family during the stomach bug–because I didn’t catch it.
My cold was mild.
We will get insurance money for the car–and we can purchase a new one.
God will provide. He always has. He always will.
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on my life. Attitude, to me is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstance, than failure, than success, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is, we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.”
~Dr. Charles Stanley
Thank you, Erin! This blog was delivered to me, this morning, at a time when I really needed inspiration! My world has seemed to be collapsing around my feet for the last month—-one thing than another before I could catch my breath. Today, I am suddenly and remarkably at peace since reading your message. Thank you, again!
That is one of my favorite quotes, but I thought you should know it is Chuck Swindoll’s quote, not Stanleys. 🙂
What does a good attitude looks like when you are grieving such a tragic loss? I feel like it is one thing to have a good attitude toward those inconsequential things like a brief illness or the inconvenience of a fender bender, but what did it look like when mourning Courtney’s death? You didn’t imply this by any means, I am trying to sort this out for myself yet, but after a recent miscarriage I feel as if all of the things people said to try and comfort me were code for “You just need to have a good attitude about this.” I feel like grief isn’t allowed because that meant I had a bad attitude. What do you think it means to grieve well?
Oh Kay–I am so very sorry to hear about your miscarriage, and I will say a prayer for you right now. I in no means meant to imply that grief should be dismissed or not processed. In fact, I think we so desperately NEED to grieve tragic losses like my loss of Courtney’s and yours of your precious baby. This post was more to honor Courtney in what she taught me about choosing our attitudes. I encourage you to take your grief to the Lord, prayer, process, cry, scream if you need to! I did all of the above when I lost Courtney. Those who are telling you to just have a good attitude are misinformed and perhaps have never gone through the grieving process. You have every right and need to grieve. I am so very sorry for what you have gone through! Hugs! <3