THANKSGIVING vs THANKS-LIVING

I have loved the thankful posts everyday by so many on Facebook.  It has been a great month, which likely end either tomorrow or the end of the month.  I have seen people who have been grateful this month that complain every other day.  I have seen people who continue to be negative and post nothing about being grateful; therefore, they are hidden from my news feed.  It makes it harder when they are good friends and even harder for me when they are Christians.

  • Every day God gives new mercies (Lamentations 3:23).  Every day I am alive I get a fresh start.  But some days it takes extra for me to leave the baggage behind.  I have the magnet on the refrigerator reminding me NEW MERCIES!
  • Enter his gates with Thanksgiving, enter His courts with praise (Psalm 100:4) – I do not see anything about whining and complaining.  This year I have had 3 people close to me going through cancer.  They may have mentioned some of their symptoms, but everyday they continued to praise God.  So even when health is not good, we can be thankful to be alive!
  • Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.…(I Thessalonians 5:16-18)   I think this would be a great tattoo.  I think if I am always rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks, I can’t be judging, whining, and worrying.

Mary hates the word, but it is so true – it is all about choice in this lifetime.  God gave us free will to choose.  I can choose to praise Him despite the circumstances or curse Him because of the circumstances.  I can choose to focus on Him (who can solve all problems) or focus on the problem (which will never solve itself).   God knows when things are tough, and guess what He is already standing right in the middle of that problem.  The issue is I am so busy trying to take care of it myself, that I can’t see Him.  Some situations that are tough for many right now:

  • Loosing a parent or loved one  –  I can focus on how tough it is, all my questions why taken so soon, and sadness  or choose to: rejoice I had them in my life, the memories I had with them, knowing they are in Heaven and don’t want to come back, and they want ME to be happy and living life!
  • Health issues – I can focus on how it impacts my day, makes me feel, etc.. or choose to: focus on being alive, doing what I can do to make a difference.  My mom was a model of this – despite her declining health she did what she could for herself and others. Eventually being able to do NOTHING for herself (including feeding herself, etc.) she still was an amazing listener and was still thankful – she still used her ears and mouth the only things that didn’t require movement.  She would get mad and frustrated, but NEVER stopped praising God.  Oh what a legacy…
  • Autism – I have mentioned before I could question why God gave us a child with Autism or I can choose (which I do every day) to focus on what an amazing blessing he is to us.  How blessed we are to be chosen to have him.  Do I worry some days about his future? Do I cry? YEP, but then I choose to look at what a miracle he is and totally change the focus from the problem to the blessing.  I have recently agreed to help for The Lucas Fund (please check it out at https://www.facebook.com/thelucasfund). I love it because it was started by parents with a child with Autism who wanted to help others walking the same road.  They could have focused on the “oh why me” but instead focused on what can I do to help others – they changed it to a blessing!

The other day this was part of my thankful list  – let me set the stage.. I had worked really hard to get the living room cleaned up and vacuumed before going into work the night before.  I came home to no evidence of ever cleaning.  I slept in a little later than I had planned.  Our children are night owls like me so mornings are not always great.  We had several appointments and places to be.  Sam was slow getting up and the dog was driving me crazy until he did.   Jim called me first thing that morning needing something (keep in mind the poor guy had cereal once again for supper the night before without a complaint!)  A friend was having a rough day and really needed some strength, and it put into perspective my little complaints.  Mary was taking extra long to get ready.  Things were definitely not as I planned.  I could have posted “there are days I am not sure why I even get out of bed.  My kids are driving me crazy.  No one appreciates how hard I work etc… “ and started screaming.    Instead I drank a cup of tea in my cup with my reminder to live today with passion… talked to a friend on the phone (because me rushing them would have only made things worse), and posted the following in the morning (which rarely happens – but this day I needed to count blessings and not burdens… an attitude of gratitude not grumbling…)  By posting the positive it switched my mindset for the entire day.  I focused on the goodness of God and not the craziness of life.

  • 1. a living room floor full of toys leaving no evidence of the vacuuming one yesterday means I have an imaginative little boy (that we were told we would never have) –
    2. a dog who is so excited when “his boy” awakens and heads down the stairs – not sure who is happier to see who
    3. a beautiful daughter who cares what she looks like before she walks out of the home
    4. children who are like their momma – night owls… makes afternoons so much easier
    5. a hot cup of tea in my favorite mug EVER that makes me think of my friend who replaced the first one that fell and broke
    6. my mugs message – LIVE TODAY WITH PASSION – great reminder every day!
    7. a prayer request from a friend and her reminder on her egg carton – This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it (p.s. I noticed that on one of cartons too!)
    8. talking to a BFF – not just a text
    9. hearing my husband’s voice on the phone this morning first thing this morning – didn’t get to talk to him yesterday
    10. a fresh start – a new serving of mercies!!!

I focused on the blessings of the day, reminded myself of the promise for a fresh start, and counted blessings.

Where I put my eyes to focus (on God or my burden) will change that moment, that hour, that day, that week, that month.  My children see thankfulness lived out loud.  It changes our crazy chaotic life that could swallow me whole some days into a series of blessings that God blessings me richly every day.   It changes Thanksgiving to being one day a year (or a month on Facebook) to intentional THANKS LIVING (or a life of living thanks!)

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