Tragedy to Whom?

But the only person who decided my life had turned to dust was me. The only person who is still deeply troubled about what I’ve lost, even in the face of what I’ve gained, is me. I would never have wanted it this way, but something bright and beautiful has been given to me, and I’m in grave danger of losing it, squandering it, becoming a person who cannot find the goodness that’s right in front of her because of the sadness that she chooses to let obscure it.

— Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines, p. 177

What We Call Curses

I know that it seemed like God was being cruel that year…. But he was not. What I know now is that his kindness burns through even the deepest betrayals and invites life from death every chance we let him. There are things that explode into our lives and we call them curses, and then one day, a year later or ten years later, we realize that they are actually something else. They are the very most precious kinds of blessings.

— Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines, p. 176

Pennies on the Path

Each one of our lives is shot through, threaded in and out with God’s provision, his grace, his protection, but on the average day, we notice it about as much as we really notice gravity or the hole in the ozone…. Once you start seeing the faithfulness and the hope, you see it everywhere, like pennies. And little by little, here and there, you realize that all of life is littered with bright copper coins, that all of life is woven with bits and stories of God’s goodness.

When I look back now, with these new eyes, it’s like there’s a bright copper path I was walking on and didn’t even know it. And it’s the handful of pennies that I’m clutching in my sweaty hand that gives me the faith and the strength to move forward. What gives me hope is the belief that God will be faithful, because he has been faithful before, to me and the people around me. I need the reminders. I need to be told that he was faithful then, and then, and then. Just because I have forgotten how to see doesn’t mean it isn’t there. His goodness is there. His promises have been kept. All I need to do is see.

Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines, p. 127-128


Most of us live with a continual sense of emergency. We have a fear that we are too late and not enough to wrestle a happy destiny from the hands of the gods. What if there is no emergency? What if there is no need to wrestle? What if our only need is receptivity, a gentle openness to guidance? What if, like the Arabian horses grazing outside my window, we are able to simply trust?

When we trust ourselves, we become both more humble and more daring. When we trust ourselves we move more surely. There is no unnecessary strain in our grasp as we reach out to meet life. There is no snatching at people and events, trying to force them to give us what we think we want. We become what we are meant to be. It is that simple. We become what we are, and we do it by being who we are, not who we strive to be.

We are right-sized. We are who and what we are meant to be. All that we need, all that we require, is coming toward us. We need only meet life, not combat it. We need only encounter each day’s questions, not raise a fist at the heavens over the question of tomorrow.

“Just relax” is not advice that most of us respond to easily. We do better with a more active phrase: Focus on the now. In the precise now, no matter how painful our life events, we are always all right. What may be hard is always bearable — not perhaps in our projected future, but there, in that moment, precisely now.

— Julia Cameron, The Sound of Paper, p. 112-113

Here For You Always

“I am here for you always” — those are a lover’s words. They seek to calm the fear that lurks at the heart of every lover, the fear that one day we will be abandoned and again alone. We can celebrate these words. We can hold to them. It is God’s promise to us to never abandon us. It is this promise to which we must cling when we are in times of darkness.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 160

Living a Mystery

In your search for a reason for your illness or tragedy, no reply will be forthcoming. Turn yourself to the comfort of faith in Divine guidance. The purpose of the mysteries of our lives may well be to lead us out of our dependence on human reasoning and its limited ability to account for why things are the way they are and into the acceptance that Divine intelligence is actually in control of our lives. Divine intelligence works in ways that we cannot understand, yet we can come to understand that we cannot completely trust much else. Always remind yourself that you are living a mystery, not solving one. Live within your questions that you have, but do not allow them to take over your life, your thoughts, or your actions.

— Caroline Myss, Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can, p. 177

Allowing Ourselves to be Blessed

Whatever the form God’s good takes, it is up to us to accept it, and to do so we must be openminded. The Psalms tell us, “Truly I direct my steps by all your precepts,” and we must do precisely that. When God shows an intention to expand us, we must be obedient to that intention. As God moves to expand us, we must allow ourselves to be expanded. As God brings us blessings, we must allow ourselves to be blessed. We must accept the goodness that God intends for us. We must not turn aside the generosity that God bears on our behalf. We are told by Deuteronomy 31:6, “It is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.”

What could be more clear? Despite our fears, God is no Indian giver. God is with us always and not less so when he is abundant to us. This is a promise, one of many promises that Scripture makes to us. We must be openminded enough to accept the promises Scripture offers us. We must be willing to receive the abundant goodness of God.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 156-157

Forgiving Jesus

We don’t often know why things have happened the way they have in our lives. What we do know is that we were hurt, and part of that hurt is toward Jesus, because in our hearts we believe he let it happen. Again, this is not the time for sifting theological nuances, but this is why it is so important for you to look at the world the way Jesus did — as a vicious battle with evil. When you understand you have an enemy that has hated your guts ever since you were a child, it will help you not to blame this stuff on God. Anyhow, the facts are it happened, we are hurt that it happened, and part of us believes Jesus should have done something about it and didn’t. That is why we need to “forgive” him. We do so in order that this part of us can draw near him again, and receive his love.

Perhaps part of the fruit of that restoration will be that Jesus will then be able to explain to us why things happened the way they did. This is often the case. But whether we receive this or not, we know we need Jesus far more than we need understanding. And so we forgive — meaning, we release the offense we feel towards him.

— John Eldredge, Beautiful Outlaw, p. 164-165