"I'm sorry happy for you."

It's a weird statement, and perhaps even weirder that I'm the one who said it under the painful circumstances.

A friend updated me about her marriage — that thing that had been in shambles for many, many years. She shared about learning of the ways her husband propositioned younger women — many of whom were related to my friend.

My heart won't ever forget the moment it shattered as I learned of the "thems" in my marriage — a long list of women with whom he'd crossed boundaries. It's an anguish you never forget. It's also an anguish that instantly binds my heart to any other woman who has been faced with the same sorrow. Yet as my friend told me about the very thing that should have destroyed her marriage, a slight smile kept spanning her face — a smile that was unable to be kept at bay.

"Once the family started talking openly about it, it was all out there," she said as hope oozed forth. "There wasn't any more pretending. And you know what? For the first time in longer than I can remember, he's trying. He doesn't want to be that anymore. It's too early to say for sure, but it seems like he's really working at this. Can you imagine? We might actually have a marriage again someday!"

That's about the point at which I told her I wasn't quite sure what to say, but that I was sorry happy!

Sorry happy?

I've been taking a class. The teacher has mentioned countless times how we take events and add a narrative to it trying to bring meaning to those events. For example, I heard someone say on the radio that they'd been passed over for a promotion.

In our desperate attempts to label things as good or bad, we can sometimes give them meanings that simply aren't there.
"Well, what does that mean?" the deejay asked.

"It means that I should probably change fields," the man replied.

Perhaps he's right. Or, perhaps being "passed over" simply means there was someone else in the company who was better qualified for the promotion. Although this particular individual may have been in the path he should have been tracking, maybe he just wasn't as far down the road as the other guy.

In our desperate attempts to label things as good or bad, we can sometimes give them meanings that simply aren't there. By doing so, we might miss out on the bigger picture. Worse yet, we might miss out on God and His work in our lives. See, as we paint the labels, placing some memories in the "good" file while others get tossed in the flames of "awful," we neglect one truth that honestly surpasses anything I can comprehend:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

As you know, I'm a writer. I color my world with words. I'm a smith, taking words that have no meaning separately, but that hopefully challenge and compel when placed together. So the difficulty for me of foregoing the fill-in-the-blanks in my own life — for me to cease writing a narrative that may or may not exist in an attempt to understand if something is good or bad — is only slighter harder than saying I'll never eat a bite of chocolate again. But if God's word is true, and I certainly believe it is, then I can believe He can take anything I might deem bad and somehow, in his unfathomable ways, turn it into something good. That's something I can sink my teeth into! (Well, that and a piece of chocolate!)

How about you? Have you ever had something happened that at the time it seemed awful and horrific, yet with time you watched God turn it into something good?

I'd love to hear about it. Let me know, or someone else who needs to know or just share it below in the place for Facebook® comments.