why do bad things happen to good people

I’ve seen some of the sweetest people I know suffering from an illness, close friends who are loyal get used and played countless times and people who have worked so hard to go after their dreams lose almost everything.  I’ve struggled to wrap my brain around how the nicest people could end up having such bad things happen to them.  I wondered how could God let all these things happen?

Even as I sit here writing this I can think of times where I personally bawled my eyes out lying on my bathroom floor asking God why we have to suffer. From being so sick I could hardly stand or from having my heart shattered into a million pieces or having a close friend stab me in the back, all I could think of is “God what did I do to deserve this?”

When I look back on those times I’ve struggled the most, I’ve come to the conclusion that He was there with me through all those hard times and He will always be there for us in the future. And here is where I know I may lose some of you but hear me out. I think the easiest way to wrap our limited brains around this HUGE concept of God always being with us is through example.

Now I don’t want this to sound like I am saying we deserve the hard times we’ve been through, so please do not make that your take away.  Some of the suffering we go through in life has nothing to do with any choices we make, it’s just part of being human. But sometimes the pain we go through is unintentionally self-inflicted. Now with that being said, we all make mistakes and I am a very VERY firm believer that good can still come from our bad choices even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like it in the moment.

So for my first example, let’s look at Adam and Eve and the first sin to ever happen. There are so many important details to be taken from this situation, and verses that stick out to me, but I think the best verse that is pertaining to this subject is Genesis 3:21…

“And the LORD God made clothes out of animal skins for Adam and his wife, and he clothed them.”

Now you’re probably like, “Courtney, what the heck? This is a scripture on how God clothed them? How is this relevant?”

But I think this verse means a lot more than just God providing clothing for Adam and Eve. Think about the timing. God said this to them AFTER they just committed THE sin that would affect all of mankind forever and ever, but God still continued to take care of them. In fact, He also got them prepared for their next step and the consequences they would now have to face for the rest of time.

Again I am not saying that the bad things that happen to you are earned, on occasion we may be the victims of someone else’s bad choices or just circumstances that happen in life, but other times, we actually set ourselves up for our own failure. But here’s the amazing part, God is with us through it all!! And if we happen to cause pain and ask God to forgive us, He will and He will help us move on from our mistakes. He doesn’t give up on us! Let me give you another an example…

So let’s say you guys and girls have been talking to someone for awhile, someone you start to really like, he or she really likes you back so you decide to take it to the next level. You post the cute couple pics on social media, declare your love for each other then proceed to give that person something only your future spouse should receive. You now have a soul tie with this person, which is something only your spouse should have (soul ties are formed any time and every time there is intimacy in a relationship).
Then let’s say a few months later, you realize he or she has been talking to someone else and decides that you two together just aren’t what they want anymore. You’re devastated and don’t know what to do. You may wonder why this bad thing happened to you. You thought that this person was “the one.”  Terri Savel wrote this about soul ties: You may have ended a physically intimate relationship months ago, but you still feel a pull toward that person. Why? Because of soul ties. Soul ties prevent us from moving on to new relationships, even the ones God may be leading us into. You can read more about how to break these soul ties here.

I know a lot of friends who have gone through this exact situation. Watching their hearts being shattered through this, and still suffering from memories sometimes popping up that hurts them and triggers more bad choices. Although this is a very common scenario in today’s society, it doesn’t make it okay. Having any kind of sex before marriage is outside of God’s will and commandments and if you break those, He can’t bless that relationship. Some people could be like “screw God, I don’t need His blessings” but then years later wonder why they are confused, alone, divorced or struggle trying to love their husband or wife. Again, we are never too far away from God’s forgiveness and blessings so if this is a place you find yourself in, just be honest. Everything we go through, whether self-inflicted or not, can have some kind of good come from it.

Please hear me out on this. This is a tough topic and I am NOT trying to condemn or hurt anyone’s feelings but this is real life and sometimes we don’t understand why things happen and how we may have been able to avoid them. I am standing right next to you in some of these areas of self-inflicted pain.

But another thing that comes to mind when discussing bad stuff happening to us is when people have close friends and family die. So here’s my answer to why does this stuff happen…I don’t really know. I think some of it has to do with the fact that we live in a fallen imperfect world. There is no good way to explain why there isn’t a cure for cancer, why kids are abused or why people die in car accidents but I do know that the devil is real and his only goals are to kill, steal from and destroy God’s children, US! He won’t stop till he’s done with that mission. But I believe my Bible that says Jesus died for our sins and that God has placed things like the cures to fatal illnesses and the ability to help people in need inside each one of us, we just have to dig deep and find it in ourselves.

Overall, I think the best way to summarize this topic is, (I know this sounds cliché but y’all it’s so true), is that God allows us to have free will and He can still make good things come from tragic situations. We don’t understand how and maybe we never will, but I’m learning to try to trust God with everything, even the stuff that breaks my heart.

If you are struggling with something that has happened to you, honestly ask yourself, did I set myself up for this or is there something here for me to learn? Or ask God to show you what good could come of the situation if it’s out of your control. It’s super important to use the Bible as a reference to make sure whatever you are hearing from Him matches up with His words. God isn’t afraid of our questions. Y’all if you ask Him He will tell you. He is so good like that!

I hope no one took offense to this post, but it’s been tugging at my heart to write about for awhile. You see, I tried doing life without God being a priority and I caused and felt a lot of pain and confusion. I’m not saying everything is perfect living my life making God a priority but it sure does make me feel a lot more peace and I can make better decisions this way. Thanks for reading and please know I am praying for y’all. xoxo

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fun summa ideas

Let me just start this by telling you guys that summer is my season. I’m serious. I get tan, my hair gets lighter, my clothes get cuter, and my favorite part, there’s no school! With that being said, I think it’s a very stereotypical thing to want to party and do crazy stuff all summer to “make it memorable” but like do you really want to do that stuff though? It can still be memorable without all the partying so I’m going to share ten (I think are pretty awesome) summer (sober) ideas!

1. Go hiking. Yes, I know it’s so cliché, but if you know me, you know this is one of my favorite things to do as soon as the temps go above 50! You get to take amazing photos in nature, make great memories and you even get a good workout, too! Some of my favorite places to hike are…

* Boyd Big Tree Reserve in Fishing Creek

* Mount Gretna (be sure to stop at the Jigger Shop afterwards for ice cream!)

* Ricketts Glen (the waterfalls are awesome here!)

* HACC Wildwood Nature Trail (this is a great walking and bike trail, not so much of a hike!)

* Peter’s Mountain (hiked this a few time over the years when I was at Camp Hebron)

*Kings Gap in Boiling Springs

2. Drive-in movies. You literally can’t go wrong with this. Just grab your friends, favorite snacks, chairs/blankets and take a friend’s mini-van to bring a bunch of people. This concept also works for fireworks and music festivals.

3. Beach trips for the day. This also includes Mount Gretna. I love the beach and I’m guessing at some point in my life I will live within 10 minutes of one! Until then, I like getting up early driving to Ocean City with friends and staying for the day. After we change from a day at the beach and grab boardwalk pizza, we leave to get home by midnight. It’s pretty cheap and super fun to just get away for a day! Just be sure to wear sunscreen because speaking from experience, it’s an excruciating car ride home when you fry your skin!

4. Volunteering. I know this may sound kinda of out of place in a post about “fun” summer ideas but this is a highlight of my summer. The love and joy you feel in your heart the moments after volunteering and helping others are PRICELESS. And you would be surprised how much fun you have and the great people you’ll meet. I like to go down and hand out food and water bottles in the city or help at outreach events just talking and praying for people who are going through tough times. I suggest checking with your church or family members about places you can help by collecting and handing out food or even just make little snack bags to give to people on the streets. Maybe you have an older neighbor you could mow the grass for or a new mom who could use a meal brought over. Those are the little things that make a huge impact on people’s lives.

5. Make your own tournament (or game nights on rainy days). I’m not talking about beer pong either! If you have corn hole, invite some friends and family over and do a tournament. Or a basketball hoop, soccer net, volleyball, Frisbee golf or anything just make it a competition. Play until there’s a winner and then if you can and it’s not 95 degrees outside, finish the night with a fire.

6. Take your mom, dad, sister or brother to dinner, lunch, a movie, ice cream or mini golf, etc. For me personally, my whole life my parents have always appreciated the little things and that includes just taking some time off to hang with them or just shooting them a text to grab a quick lunch. Maybe because I’m graduating I appreciate them now more than ever. So basically just take the time to show your love to your family. Don’t always be thinking you are going to miss out on “cool” stuff this summer because you choose to hang out with the fam.

7. Go on a missions trip somewhere away from home. Now I know not everyone has access to this one, just with cost and depending on your church you attend but guys, if you want to go on one… GO ON ONE! They are ridiculously rewarding and throughout the time you are there it changes your perspective completely. I can honestly say that on the two I went on, even though I was there to help others, I left changed and so grateful. If you can’t go on a missions trip (or even if you can), go on a youth retreat if your church has them. They are so much fun and there’s nothing quite like getting away from all the distractions to spend time focusing on things much more important than the material things in life. I admit there were times my parents nearly had to force me to go, but afterwards I was so glad I went.

8. Make a day to pamper yourself. Maybe this is more for the girls, I’m not sure how guys “pamper” themselves lol. Personally, I am going to have to work two jobs and a lot of hours this summer just to make bank for college, but with those few days off, I think sometimes it’s okay to just stay home and chill. You really don’t always have to be doing something adventurous to have a good time. And spending time alone isn’t a terrible thing; in fact that’s when we can get creative. Just head over to the store, grab some of your favorite ice cream, a good scrub and face mask, a little nail polish and just chill.

9. Journal. I know this isn’t like a onetime thing just for the summer but I will advise you to keep a journal and set an alarm everyday to jot something down. You will thank yourself one day when you have the opportunity to look through it later in life and see the amazing summer you had. Plus it’s also an opportunity to write down your goals, dreams and prayers and then check back in a few years to see where you ended up.

10. Last, but not least, devote this summer to loving yourself. Truly loving yourself completely and forgive yourself for past mistakes. Once again, I know this isn’t a onetime activity but it’s so important to value yourself and really grow into the person God has created you to be, which I promise you is awesome. Don’t try to compete, compromise or compare yourself because you really are unique. So I challenge you to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually this summer and do things your future self will thank you for.

So I hope you guys read this and get excited because summer is SO CLOSE Y’ALL !!!  First though,  we do still have a school year to finish so don’t give up just yet (that’s as much for me as for you!).  Enjoy these last couple weeks of school and trust that God has an amazing plan and loves every single one of us! xoxo