Just in case you are curious, my original blog was about judgment and how guilty I am about it. After I read my blog, I knew it would cause a slew of comments in agreement / disagreement and well, my goal in life is to avoid arguments. I truly pick my battles and they are usually for my family. I really need to save my energy for those types of battles.
But, I also believe that many think I have a perfect life because everyday I am thankful. My journey began when I read the book 1000 gifts by Ann VosKamp. There are times her book is a little “thick” on a deepness that I just don’t have. I also had a hard time when I read it understanding how she could be thankful for hard things like watching her boys fight (I thought she was from another planet). But now, I understand how she looked at the tough times as a blessings, but only after counting the blessings every day. But, overall she made me think about the little things of everyday. And I started writing them and then decided to share them on Facebook with the hopes that they would make people pause and think of their blessings. I have been recording about 10 a day for over a year so about 3,650 blessings. When I focus on my the blessing deposits into my life it is bound to change my life. Mary also enjoys reading them and when a parent can make daily positive deposits in their lives, it is priceless!!
There are days my blessings are harder to find, but they are always there. It is just how I choose to look at life. It is my favorite word CHOICE (ask Mary as it is a constant recording in her head). It is taking the moment out of the crazy day that God has blessed me with to COUNT BLESSINGS – I guess it is like the old hymn – Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings see what God has done. The other thing about counting them is seeing what HE has done, not what I am waiting for him to do. It is being thankful for what I have without expectation for more. I guess my list could be a prayer of praise, instead of my typical “wish list” that I often present Him (not that He doesn’t want to hear that list too).
Anyway, this weekend as we were getting on the elevator at the hotel and something happened that I am still thinking about (and could still almost cry). Jim was wearing a fireman jacket and the lady on the elevator in the most sincere of voice said “Thank you for your service”. An honest attitude of gratitude for a complete stranger, but she took the time to say it. Jim never thinks twice about the sacrifice, even though it is usually as a volunteer. That moment meant so much to me. The power of a simple thank you – it took a moment but touched a life (mine)!
There are days that blessings are a little harder to post but that is because I haven’t looked for ways I can say a simple thank you. Everyday, I could list the same 10 – my God, Jim, Mary, Sam, parents, siblings/wives, friends, house, health, and jobs (and I could go on). So, if I am struggling it isn’t because they are not there, it is because I am not looking. The harder days are the days that I CHOOSE to focus on burdens and not blessings.
I get amazed at the number of “Christians” who continually post negative thoughts. I will have my moments, because I am human. But I am called to be the light to the world (Matthew 5:16a). If I am the only person that a person would read that day, I pray that it is a heart of THANKSGIVING to GOD despite the external events in my life. I want it to be a candle burning bright, not cold ashes.
I CHOOSE to live in the “THANKFUL I AM ALIVE” instead of “poor me”. If I ever need a reminder how great life is, chances are I can scroll down just a few people on FaceBook and find someone going through so much more. Or I can turn on the news. Or work in the hospital. I have seen a lot of people going through a lot of stuff (big stuff like cancer), who can still get on FaceBook and praise God! I am instructed to praise continually DESPITE my circumstances. Hebrews 13:15 “Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God.”
Two simple words – THANK YOU is even enough because God already knows all the thoughts that follow.
I listened to a sermon by Steve Furtick of Elevation Church entitled “How to Love the Mud” http://elevationchurch.org/sermons/how-to-love-the-mud He opened it on how we can focus of the messes of our children as a negative or how the mud in our cars and homes means we have children to love and be involved in their lives. He carries the theme across scriptures and how something dirty like mud can even be a blessing and a miracle.
It’s a choice… a blessing or a burden – I could focus on
- My husband is gone a lot in training OR THANKFUL he is willing to serve.
- Our daughter thinks differently than I do OR THANKFUL that she is prepared with her beliefs and stands strong to them.
- Our son has Autism and has daily struggles OR THANKFUL that we have a son who has taught us more lessons about living than can be counted.
- Our children make messes in our home OR THANKFUL that we have children when we were told we never would be able to.
- Not having my mom on earth with me OR THANKFUL that she implanted strong values in me and I will see her again in heaven.
- Our house is small and often crazy OR THANKFUL that we have a roof over our heads.
- I don’t have enough hours in a day OR THANKFUL for the time He gives me daily.
- Our finances are not where I want them to be OR THANKFUL we have good jobs to meet our needs.
I know there are areas I need to work on in the gratitude area to God – more in actions than in empty words. He knows everyone one of the areas. I have poured them out to Him, but slow to release them to His control – thankful He understands. . But the beautiful thing is He is patient when I move slowly.
God already knows what is on my heart. But just like the lady in the elevator who took that brief moment to say THANK YOU to my husband. Is it really too much for ME to say to my Heavenly Father daily? On the days I don’t have words… maybe my only post will be THANK YOU- He will know the rest.
So for another year, I hope to shine on. If I am having an “off day” and my light is growing dim, I am so thankful for the “friends” who take that moment to lift me up – give me oxygen to my flame. And for the days I am dim, the Heavenly Father who mounts me on the wings of eagle.
p.s. THANK YOU to those who take the time to read