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Bad week, good news

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The other day a co-worker posted on Facebook that it had been the week from hell.

We had all felt it. It was as if a black cloud hovered over us, raining down all kinds of bad.
We had made mistakes. Tempers flared. Fingers pointed.

Cranky people called, which didn’t help our own crankiness.

We scowled. We skulked. We wished we were anywhere but here.

It was one b-a-d week.

One of my favorite children’s books is “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” by Judith Viorst.

Alexander had gone to bed with gum in his mouth and woke up with gum in his hair. He tripped over his skateboard and dropped his sweater in the sink. His brothers got prizes in their cereal boxes and Alexander only got cereal.

He was scrunched in the car on the way to school. His mother forgot to pack dessert in his lunch box.

Later, the dentist found a cavity and then Alexander hurt his foot on the elevator door and then fell in a mud puddle. When his brother called him a crybaby, Alexander punched him and then got in trouble for being muddy and fighting.

Then at the shoe store his brothers got cool shoes with stripes but they were all sold out in Alexander’s size.

“They made me buy plain old white ones,” he lamented, “but they can’t make me wear them.”

Next, Alexander went to his dad’s office and knocked stuff all over the desk and messed up the window blinds until his dad said not to come and pick him up anymore. And then Alexander’s day got worse - his mom served lima beans for dinner and Alexander hates limas. There was kissing on TV, and he hates kissing.

His bath was too hot, he got soap in his eyes, his marble went down the drain and he had to wear his railroad train pajamas - and Alexander really hates his railroad train pajamas.

Throughout the whole day Alexander kept saying that it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, and that he wanted to move to Australia.

As his mom kissed him good night she told him, “Some days are like that, even in Australia.”

Some weeks are like that.

Some lifetimes are like that - terrible, horrible, no good and very bad. Soul-wrenching and spirit-crushingly bad.

In a sermon I listened to recently, the pastor talked about people with crushed spirits, those who have endured trouble after trouble, heartache upon heartache, one disappointment after another.

This goes beyond plain white sneakers or no prizes in a cereal box.

Some people can never seem to break free of feelings of unworthiness and shame, of feeling less than others, not as smart, not as gifted.

The pastor’s message was simple, but so penetratingly powerful. For those with a crushed spirit he gave three points to remember: God loves you, Christ’s love is more powerful than your past and that in Christ you are not who or what you used to be.

Unless you see it in someone else or experience it yourself, it’s difficult to explain but it’s true: God’s love and his power truly can change a human heart.

The timid become bold. The wounded become whole.

Those who have been broken and beaten down, whether by others or by themselves, rise up with strength in their inner being.

If God is for you, the scripture says, who could possibly be against you?

“But you, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit” (Psalm 86:15, The Message).

That’s good to remember whenever you’re going through a bad day or a bad year - or a bad life.

God loves you. He’s on your side.

Christ’s love is more powerful than your past.

In Christ, you are not who or what you used to be. You are brand new, clean, whole.

With God, there is such a thing as second, third, seventy-fifth chances. There is starting over, re-invention, re-creation. A bad life doesn’t have to end badly.

And it’s never too late because God never, never quits on those he loves.

Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria - I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing,” and her latest book, “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927, Monday through Thursday, or via email at nkennedy@chronicleonline.com <mailto:nkennedy@chronicleonline.com> .