This was supposed to be an amazing year. It began with an optimistic to-do list and lots of achievable goals. We were going to get so much accomplished and make so many family memories. Everything was going great. And then I realized my plan was not His plan, and the year took a different turn.

For us, it happened quickly. A wildfire came through in unprecedented fashion and wiped out 1,100 homes in our area. We, unfortunately, had one of those homes and lost everything. The pain from an event like that through the following weeks was unbearable. Sitting in our hotel, I realized we couldn’t even meet the basic needs of our children in that moment. They only had a few items of clothing and I couldn’t feed them anything that didn’t come from a drive-through. All our special memories and most basic possession were gone.

Maybe you are one who had a tough year, too. Maybe it was the end of a marriage, or the death of a spouse. Perhaps it was the loss of a family member, or a catastrophic change. Or maybe it wasn’t just one devastating thing, but a series of difficult events throughout the year. Financial stress, a difficult parenting season, car or job trouble, family tension.

Whatever made this year a difficult one, I encourage you to take the time to find the good. Finding the good in pain does nothing to minimize the pain, but instead gives it a purpose. Speaking from experience, seeing the good is not easy, especially when you are in the mist of pain. In the weeks following the loss of our home, people would tell me that something good would come from this. And I did not see it. I couldn’t see past the pain. But now, a few months later, I can see the goodness that is coming from such a horrible, devastating twist in my plan. There are lessons to be learned, ways I can help others, and opportunities to come closer to God.

In the midst of the of this year, I have learned many life lessons that I hope to pass on to others.

People want to help and it’s good to accept their generosity.

Home isn’t found within the walls of a home, but wherever we are with family (even in a hotel room).

Kids don’t need material things to know they are loved.

Kids are resilient. Usually we don’t want to have them go through the difficult things that lead to resilience, but, with our support, it’s good for them.

Goodness will always prevail, even when we think evil has won.

We can lose everything incredibly quickly, but holding onto what is lost in our hearts will not prevent us from moving on.

We don’t always want what is given to us in life. But there is a reason, and whatever that reason may be, there is a chance to reach others or something we can learn. There is an opportunity to help others with what we have learned. There is the chance to be the light and goodness for someone else.

The saying “God won’t give you more than you can handle” is a popular one. But I have come to believe it isn’t true. He will definitely give us more than we can handle alone. And that’s why we desperately need Him.

I pray that no matter what made this year more than you can handle, that you are able to find the good. That you are able to find the comfort of knowing you are never alone. That you are able to find the lesson and the way to reach others.

2018 may seem like it was a year we want to forget, but let’s never forget the lessons. We can enter 2019 more resilient and ready for whatever trials come our way.

Emily Scott

Emily Scott, PhD, is a stay at home mom of three, and part time parenting consultant and blogger who has written and spoken on various parenting topics including child development, ACEs, and tips on raising responsible kids.