It has been an overwhelming few months. There has been a lot of turmoil and tragedy in our world. Internationally, nationally, and even locally, it seems like most days are filled with new crisis’. Ryan and I’s immediate world has been filled with news of cancer, illness, strokes and accidents, all of which has been paired with abnormally busy schedules and mounds of snow.
In seasons such as these, it is easy to allow discouragement to cloud our thoughts, but, when we face difficult times, the Lord is ever faithful to grow us through it if we allow ourselves to be molded by our potter’s hands. Hard times are difficult, but, in my heart/mind it is even more difficult to put on a garment of praise (see Isaiah 61:3) during times of heaviness.
It often takes a work of the spirit (e.g. has to come from the Lord) and a conscious effort to find things to be thankful for when times are tough. I’m ashamed to admit, I often do not even think about being thankful during the tough times (and I am not as thankful as I should be even when times are going great). Yet, this is exactly what the Lord’s been teaching me to do.
I have been tremendously blessed by Psalms 44 recently. Here are a few snippets from that chapter:
- For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but by thy right hand, and thine arm…(v. 3a)
- For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us. In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah. (v. 6-8)
The Lord’s been working on exposing yet another side of my selfish nature lately. He’s revealed my tendency to always want everything to be “perfect” with no bumps in the road. He’s revealed how my attitude frequently goes down hill when something goes wrong or interrupts how I think life should go, rather than understanding that all the blessings in my life are from the Lord and I should see them as such and praise Him even during difficult times. There are still plenty of things to be thankful for even when things go wrong. For instance, I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of home improvements that we’d like to do in our home, but the Lord has been showing me that He was the one who gave us our home and I should be thankful that we even have a home. Especially in light of some of the natural disasters that have recently happened, we are incredibly blessed to have a roof over our heads and four walls around us.
Even though our lives may be overwhelming, discouraging and even tragic at times, there are still many reasons to be thankful and boast in the Lord. I have been trying to cultivate a more thankful attitude by making out a list of things I’m thankful for each and every day and then praising the Lord for His blessings- even if they seem small and insignificant. This practice has done wonders to improve even the most discouraging of days. Next time you feel weary or downtrodden, try asking the Lord to help you put on a garment of praise. You might be surprised at what happens and how your perspective changes.
So, dear friends, here is what I am thankful for today:
Sunshine. Scented candles. A full tummy. My husband’s comforting arms. God giving me strength (and a good attitude) this week, as Ryan and I did not get to see each other very often because of a busy work week. Our daughter’s sweet spirit. Squirrels and how fun they are to watch. Healthy pregnancy. Extra time with my daughter since her nap times have been getting shorter and shorter. Pokes, prods and kicks from the baby on the way. Not running out of checks. Grass emerging from the snow. A bedroom to clean. The Lord’s abundant grace.