When a Bad Day Becomes A Bad Year

When a Bad Day Becomes A Bad Year

January 24, 2017

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

Devotion Graphic

It started out as a promising family day, with lots of good things packed in, until everything started going wrong.

Someone got impatient. Someone else got mad. Someone’s feelings were hurt.

Suddenly, the good day was a mess.

When it finally ended, there were a lot of reactions simmering in my heart, and none of them led in the right direction. I went over the day again and again. There’s something satisfying in rehashing a scene to justify my feelings, or to vilify someone else’s actions.

It’s also not really helpful.

This was family. We would get together again soon. If I nurtured those frustrations, I’d take them to the next family
event like a bad side dish.

I sat outside that night and held up the day to God.

I asked Him to show me if I played a role in the conflict and, if so, what to do differently next time. I asked that He ease the emotions simmering just under the surface.

In today’s text, Paul reminds us we’re all imperfect. There will be days we have a grievance with each other. People will say the wrong thing. People will react in the wrong way. What we do in response can help us resolve the issue — at least in our hearts.

I have friends who haven’t spoken to their family in a long time. When I ask why, some point to the exact day an offense took place. Others have forgotten the original offense, but the feelings march on as if it took place yesterday.

In both situations, unresolved feelings were stoked and fueled.

One bad day became one bad week, which became one bad month, and it was still doing damage in the hearts of everyone years after the initial offense.

When I invited the Holy Spirit into my bad day, I was able to see some tired and stressed family members. I was able to pinpoint misunderstanding. Although I wasn’t directly involved (at least this time), I certainly played a part in moving it forward.

I needed to put one bad day in perspective and measure it against some really great days with these same people.

I needed to offer mercy, as I admitted the times I’ve said the wrong thing or arrived at an event stressed and out-of-sorts.

Has a bad day turned into a bad week? Are you still reliving that bad day or a bad moment? Talk to God about your painful moments. Share those unresolved feelings with Him.

We were never supposed to live our life tangled up in one bad day. As we ask God to help us move forward, we’ll not only find a listening ear but also help resolving the issues.

And that one bad day can take its rightful place in our thoughts and in our lives.

Heavenly Father, help me offer mercy to others, just as You’ve shown me mercy. I’ve held on to these feelings for far too long. I don’t want to be defined by one day, but live every day fully. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)

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Rewriting old history is impossible, but you can write a new chapter in your story. Suzie Eller shares how in her book, The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness.

Join Suzie on her blog for a series titled 21 Days to Living a Life of Thank You. This free series offers resources and connection to help you discover the joy of intentional gratitude.

When we experience a bad day with someone close to us, our instinct might be to focus on their words or actions. For today, flip the focus onto your own heart.

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the bigger picture of that day. Pray for each person involved. Ask for forgiveness, if you’ve played a role. You’ll be surprised at how the burden will lift.

© 2017 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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  1. My Family has been reliving one bad day and one bad decision for about 3 to 4 now. At first we were a close knit family, i’ve lived with my mother for about 17 yrs, raised my children in her home, respected all her rules about 2009 my oldest brother moved back home so now we’re 3 families in one house yet we managed to make it work. My son returns home from college after one year away for some reason my two brothers decide to play fight with my son in the process my older brother pulls my sons shirt over his head and things went from playing to serious from that day on my brother didnt trwat my son the same he became very hard toward him a few yrs later we go out of town but leave my son who is now 21 home against my wishes but at my mother’s request. My neice and her friend encourage him to have a party and instead of him saying no he agrees. The neighbor shuts the party down everyone leaves but a few individuals who call another friend over as that friend arrives someone drives by and shoots at the house the youngman arriving ends up loosing his life in our house at the door of my mother’s bedroom. Since then the family has been in a shambles. My son has apologised to my mom but my brother will not speak to him treates him as if he doesnt exist as a result of that bad decision on my sons part he has become homeless incarcerated and not allowed to come to my mother’s house, if he is hungry i have to feed him outside. We no loner celebrate holidays here but at my sister’s house so everyone can be welcome but its still difficult because we all sit in small groups just to get along. Very sad for both families the mother who lost her son and me a mother’s son who is lost. I encourage my son daily and pray for him always. He always tells me its still hard dealing with that one bad decision

    • Oh, Libby, how tragic! There are so many heart to heal. This is a God-sized job.

      Lord, you see all the hurting hearts in this family. We ask you to hold them in your loving hands, to give them the time to heal, to cover their scars with grace. They will never forget, Lord, but help them remember the good times, too. Teach them to forgive–themselves and each other. And most of all, Lord, bring them all into the circle of Your Family. May they all be able to say, ” the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

    • Momof3Teens says:

      Dear Libby. My heart goes out to you and your son and family. As well as the young man who lost his life and his family. I pray for healing, forgiveness, and love to restore all of the families involved. I pray for your son to forgive himself and to find a home and a job that he likes. Know that I am praying for you and your family. Big hugs! Tracy

    • Sara Jane says:

      Your story was absolutely moving and heartbreaking; you have my prayers and your son has my hopes that his life is not ruined…forgiveness is is found through actions.

      • I just said a prayer for you, Libby. There is hope in God no matter the circumstance. May God heal your family and the family of the mother who lost her son. May you emerge from this stronger and better than before.

    • Father, I pray for this family. The enemy has had a heyday and we ask that he be stopped. Break down the barriers that have isolated this family. Heal as only you can heal. Open hearts, and as they create room for reconciliation, take up residence in those spaces as healing begins.

  2. Cassy Thompson says:

    I am so sorry. I pray you and your family have a time for healing, peace, love, and forgiveness.

  3. This really hit home. My family is so torn apart, hardly any of them speak to each other and there are no more family gatherings. I dread the holidays and are relieved they are behind me for another year. Some are believers and some are not but there’s no hope for any of them other than prayer because no one will back down or give an inch – they are all dead to each other. It’s heartbreaking.

    • Father, thank you for Gayle’s heart. Whether any one else signs up for healing or not, her heart is open to all that you have for her — every ounce, every drop, every single step toward wholeness. Break down the walls in this family. The root is hurt, and the instigator an enemy of our soul, but you are greater, Lord. Heal that hurt, shut down the enemy, and lead this family back to you and to each other. In the meantime, thank you for the courage of Gayle. May she be a generation breaker, stepping into the freedom of forgiveness and healing. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  4. Michelle Herbst says:

    This was the perfect reading for me today. Had a huge blow out with 2 of my kids over grades, friends and choices. I love the part about asking God to help simmer the emotions underneath for us all. I find great comfort in PROVERBS 31. Thank you!

  5. This really hit home for me. My extended family has been going through a rough few years. Communication between all of us has become very strained. I find myself missing how it used to be and trying to figure out what went wrong. However, I realized through reading your post that I was trying to do this all wrong. I wasn’t inviting God into the situation, nor was I asking Him where I may have played a part in it. I was just complaining and trying to solve in my OWN strength (which we all know doesn’t end well!) Thank you for the reminder that God wants us to invite Him into all of our struggles. He is a help to us always.


    • Brittany, it’s our natural instinct to either try to fix or blame, and we get so tangled in that, don’t we? I’ve been there. I love the “aha” moment you had today and I pray that you sense God close as you invite him into these wounded places within your heart and your family. What a strong act of faith!

  6. This story is awesome because it helping me with a situation at church. I’m feeling separated and distance since a new person came into the church and was allowed to take over the ministry I was given without any input from me. She stated she wanted it and could do better job and since her family were members longer than I they gave it to her. Does not matter what is best but they way it was done was wrong. Lies and deceit were used. So I have decided to leave the church. I have been accused to be a racist and a liar. Cannot fight alone. Every one say they know the truth but no one will come forth. I now choose not to go to church. Feel lonely and betrayed. No one checks on me when I do not come to church as I do when they do not come. That was what I did as a Deacon. One member of the family even said I did nothing as a Deacon. How quickly people forget what people did in there time of need. Church hurt is what I have. Resigning from the church in the process of typing up my letter. The issue is that I also work as the church Secretary and my position there was attacked. Still praying to God. The last year has been very difficult. December they tried to get me fired. I work in fear of being fired. Do not know how much longer can work like this. Do not sleep or eat any longer. Please pray with me for peace. Dropped out of school because it was affecting my ability to reason.

    • In my book, The Mended Heart, I share how people (even those in the body of Christ) can harm our heart and how to heal from that. I pray that you’ll pick that up as a resource.

      May I make a suggestion? God still has a ministry for you, and since it’s all his anyway, it doesn’t matter where it is or what it looks like as long as Jesus is the one in charge. So, thank him for the season you had in ministry at this church and open your heart to the next season. : ) Let the last season go, so you can see the new ahead. <3

      Blessings on your new season!

    • Searching for purpose says:

      I know exactly what you are going through. Being hurt by loved ones and by our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ is much more difficult than by any stranger or acquaintance. And when the ministry you have served in is taken from you, you are manipulated out, or they just don’t want you because a family or friend will be put in your place it has all the marks of betrayal and of suddenly being lost. At least that is how I feel right now. We attend a Big church and anyone who knows of the situation says oh, well there are plenty of other places to serve. Or worse “there are other churches you can serve in maybe God has another church for you to go to” This makes the pain worse because it’s like they do not care at all. Even those who know the truth, and that is no more than 2, won’t speak up because it doesn’t concern them and that would be having to face some “icky facts” about what is going on behind the scenes. And they do not want to pull the curtain away to expose the small, flawed wizard running things. They want everything to appear perfect to the world. But God knows everything about what has happened and the hearts/motivations of all involved.
      I am praying for your heart, and peace of mind as you walk through this.
      May God wrap His arms around you so tightly during this period, and may He show you the beauty He has for you from the ashes.

  7. Dori Sheese says:

    I have two sisters that haven’t spoken to each other in 8 years. They had a fight when my dad was sick with cancer; over something petty, I feel, and haven’t spoken since. I have prayed about this situation, and I get along with both of them, one more than the other, because one still gets really mad when I am friendly with the other one. It’s a tough situation, and very hard on my mother. I covet your prayers!

    • I also can relate, I have a older sister and brother (my sister is 6 years older and my brother 15 years older both in different states) Right when I got married everything was a dysfunctional mess but my mom has been the one at the head of it it seems. It’s been 2 years since I’ve spoken (an actual conversation) with my sister. She was mad because I wouldn’t tell her the gender of my son at the time, got mad at me and went to tell my mom how rude it was and that it was ridiculous to post it on Facebook as a fanfare. She also backed my parents up for how poorly I was treating them by not visiting more than once a month etc. (I was still not wanting anything to do with my mom after how she behaved at my wedding and said “this is bull* when the pastor asked both families to make an oath of not meddling in our marriage. We had a sit down talk with both my and my fiancé pastor and my parents before we were married. My sister has blocked me twice on fb and the first time we tried working things out she demanded I friend request her to be her friend on fb again. I told her I had a problem with that because I’ve always felt like she was bossing me around/like another parent and not my sister. Well she denied my feelings and I gave in and requested her anyways. Since the gender mishap she’s had me blocked ever since. My mom always has something to say to me about how she can’t fix it and can’t make us talk but she would’ve thought since we have Christ in us we’d be talking by now. But I don’t really think she’s taken herself out of the equation and let God because she tells me things that’s going on in their lives and I know she tells what happens to me and my son to them. She’s always had control in mediating and that bothers me. My mom says they care about me, my son (our fam) so much and so deeply, yet she never acknowledged his birth or that he’s alive or has said one peep to me about him or even sent a card (he’ll be 2). Sorry so long,I’m ashamed of holding onto these wrongs but she has also shown repeatedly she doesn’t want a relationship by blocking and keeping me blocked on fb.

  8. Lizz Lopez says:

    It is amazing how God shows up and puts this in your path just as you were experiencing this exact scenario. I struggle with forgiveness and every time I think I have a handle on it and I am truly ready to move on, something else happens that sets me back. I am grateful for these devotionals that help open my eyes. Thank you for sharing that story!

  9. My family has struggled for years with holding grudges and rehashing old offenses and is terribly dysfunctional in many ways. I have made my peace with a lot of it, but I find myself doing the same at times. Just this weekend, I held onto my anger all day on Sunday after my husband said something insensitive. Even after we talked about it, I told him that I was just too angry and would be the rest of the day. I don’t want to be that way! This devotional was so timely and has been the perfect reminder that it really is as easy as saying, “I forgive you” or “I’m sorry.” Thank you for the humbling reminder.

  10. Thank you for your post Susie- 2016 became my one bad year. A serious rift occurred between my siblings and myself in caring for our mom. She’s now on Hospice care and I have very few interactions with my family. My children (all adults) have been affected as well. I’m in process of forgiveness and healing but our family needs God’s mercy to bring healing amongst us. Your post brought so much truth and light to my heart and soul thank you!

  11. janny holder says:

    I am so ashamed of the way I let a bad day or encounter mess with my time with Jesus. God forgive me so I can forgive others , teach me to love regardless of the circumstances. I ask you in the name of Jesus to teach me compassion, love and patience with everyone that I encounter. Thank you for giving up the ghost and dying for my sins, teach me to represent you in a better, bigger way…Amen.

  12. Yes, I too have had those kind of family events where usually it was ME who showed up angry and mad at the world.But I never knew why…nothing was ever good enough no matter how people tried I managed to always find fault with it. Needless to say it wasn’t a very happy family gathering and I was not the person you wanted to be around. But my family continued to Love me anyway. At age 51 yrs old divorced after 2 failed marriages, raised 2 wonderful and successful children pretty much on my own I became addicted to prescription pain pills and alcohol. But putting them down was the easy part…but what was between my ears was the HARD PART. You are all my life I had been told that I was a MISTAKE. I was born to a Mother who was almost 40 yrs old who had2 children 8 and 10 yrs old and she did NOT want me. Everyone else in the family did which included my 10 yr old sister and a very living Nanny.So the older I got the more resentful I felt for being this “mistake” that I heard over and over. And as we all know if you hear something long enough you will begin to believe it no matter how hard others tell you no. But to skip to the good part….after I had hit my bottom with my addiction to pills and alcohol I slowly but surely began to change. My thinking had to change, my beliefs had to change and my friends had to change. But the GREATEST thing of All is that I found GOD again! I thought all those years that He had abandoned Me. No, it was the other way around. GOD NEVER LEAVES ME…BUT I CAN LEAVE HIM IN A NANO SECOND! But growing up and all of the hurt and pain that I had indeed and I was AVery Angry person at God. Where were you when I needed YOU?! Well friends HE WAS RIGHT THERE. Protecting me when I drove home from bars in a blackout drunk or in between my parents when they were physically fighting and on and on. SO GOD DOES FOR MR, WHAT I CANNOT DO FOR MYSELF. Today I believe this with ALL my heart. I am no longer an angry person I forgave My Mother 3 yrs ago and realized how lucky I was to have had 3 MOTHERS! My real Mother, My Sister and My BELOVED Nanny. My Mother passed away 14 yrs ago so God helped me get through this with prayer and inner Peace. I believe that The Holy Spirit lives inside each and everyone of us and that is the GOD IN US!! ISN’T THAT AWESOME!! I LOVE HIM SO MUCH….HE SAVED MY LIFE. I was deep in depression and dsspair when I hit my bottom almost 6 yrs ago that I even thouguy of taking my own life. But by the GRACE OF GOD my TEST has become my TESTIMONY. So if you don’t feel like you belong I am here to tell YOU that You Do Belong, You are NOT A MISTAKE!! YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD AND GOD DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES!! YOU ARE LOVED BY HIM AND BY ME! YOU ARE WORTH IT, I PROMISE YOU ARE!!!!♡♡♡♡♡

    • Lynn – I am so sorry that you heard the message “not wanted”. It’s not true! You were meant to be. God ordained every one of your days from the beginning of time. Jesus prayed for you and me and all believers yet to come. I wish you heard the message “you are my gift” or “you are my bonus baby”! I found out I was pregnant at age 43. I call my baby (16yrs old) my Christmas present because I found out I was pregnant at Christmas. She has been a tremendous blessing. I am sure you were,too. Some people just don’t get how hurtful and damaging their words and actions are. But, God knows and He saw. May God’s love shower down on you today!

  13. Lisa-Marie says:

    But how do you forgiven when someone chooses to make the same mistakes or chooses to do what they know is wrong, says they care about and Love you but continually hurts you by the choices they make.

    • Oh, Lisa-Marie! That is truly a frustrating experience. I wish all problems resolved easily. But some require lots of patience and time and energy. Lord, please be with Lisa Marie- show her the path she should take. Let her take comfort in knowing You see and know every detail about this situation and that You will guide her. It may not be easy, it may not be quick, but she will get through this with your help and guidance. Amen!

  14. Ms. Eller,
    This is our family. No communication since Christmas Day, over a Facebook post meant to be
    sympathetic to the rest of the family who had been sick. Now, my husband had the GI bug and
    we couldn’t have the Christmas dinner as we had planned. The oldest adult stepdaughter went
    ballistic and the younger one, for the very first time in her life, supported her older sister.
    All over a Facebook post saying we wouldn’t be able to have the family dinner.
    I’m the evil stepmom, who for over 34 years, has been the victim of this dysfunctional family. When your
    Christian counselor and your minister tell you and your husband to walk away from them, and stay away, you know it’s bad.
    We’re reading and re-reading your devotional, trying to decide what to do.
    Pray for us.

  15. Vicki L Lawrence says:

    Thank you! I needed this so much tonight!

  16. Amy Gomez says:

    I really needed this!!! Ive been having bad yrs cause by one really bad thing in my marriage I just cant stop thinking about!! Im really happy that I got this!!

  17. Hello…
    I would love prayer right now. I don’t know where to begin. My husband filed for divorce after 20 years. I admit I had a problem with taking too many meds that the doctor prescribed. It started after he became addicted to porn. I was devastated when I found out. It happened to be around the time God was peeling an onion with me from childhood sexual abuse. I seriously thought I had been healed from all that until after I had my baby, something changed. After God showed me I had not slowed down enough for him to deal with me. I began to listen, heal then bang I find out my husband is doing porn. I don’t know what the heck happened but I went into a complete tailspin. Well shortly after I forgave him,so I thought…asked him to get help, he did not. We lost our home,business, everything..church family,friends…decided to move to Florida. Well then I got really really sick. I have chrons disease and had a flare that nearly killed me. My husband was doing his best taking care of me, Kayden and working all the time. I was good a lot of the time, but when I got sick I was in the hospital. The last time it happened I ended up in ICU. He left took my daughter, and I had no one but God. He saved my life for real. No one else just God. I took my husband back after he left. Did well for 1 year. I started to get angry all of a sudden for a lot of stuff he put me through that I never said anything about. It spiraled from there. I asked him to get help with his anger or I wanted a separation. He at that time quickly filed for divorce behind my back so that he would get joint custody of my daughter. He did. Now I’m stuck living with him just so that I can see my daughter daily instead of every other week. We are getting along better than ever but I still have my moments once a month. I want to leave, get my own place but I can’t leave my little girl. I’m stuck

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