Nov 20, 2015

Giving Thanks Through The Struggle And Pain


Thanksgiving is next week, are you struggling to find things to be thankful for.  Do you feel like your life isn't going the way you had planned?  Do you feel like your body isn't cooperating and the pain is sometimes just too much to handle?  Are you wondering where you'll get the money to pay the medical bills much less a turkey?

I have a hard time being thankful, especially when I'm in pain.  This past year I've felt very thankful for the blessings, the healing and the changes that have taken place for us physically, financially and relationally. It's as if that dark cloud that was hovering down over us has finally lifted.

Nov 10, 2015

Learning To Be Thankful

I can hardly believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  I have been so busy I actually woke up this morning in a panic thinking it was next week.

The past few months have been filled with packing, buying a house, moving in, unpacking and getting settled.

It sure has been a whirlwind of activity.  As usual, I tend to think a lot about my experiences and even try to recognize life lessons and what God's doing in my life.

The older I get the more I find myself interested in personality types and human behavior.  It could be because I'm a mom. I'm fascinated over how completely different each child is even though they have the same parents and brought up in the same environment.  I've also been amazed at how men and women can be so completely different in their thinking and behavior.

I've found that people are either introverted or extroverted and can recognize behavioral choices and thought patterns that result.   I've also seen how some are naturally grateful and optimistic while others, uh hmmm, tend to be ungrateful and pessimistic.

I often find myself fitting the latter category and despite my best efforts to be positive and grateful I find myself falling hard back into my natural ways. I usually say I'm a realist and cautious but if I were to be honest I do complain.

Our family recently moved into a home that my husband and I just fell in love with when we first walked through.  Only a few short weeks after living in the house I found myself complaining. I don't know where to put things, there's too much to clean, will I ever get everything unpacked, I'm so exhausted, why do I always have to be in pain?

The basement leaked after a two day spurt of heavy rains from hurricane Patricia.  I grumpily called it flooding but my husband said it was leaking and he went to work to clean it up.  I even complained that the house is old, which is one of the things I wanted in a house.  I've always loved older homes, I think they have lots of character and that's exactly what we found here.  Here's the clincher, we prayed for this house and yet I still found things to complain about.

If you know your scriptures, you'll remember the Israelites also complained, relentlessly to the point of driving Moses crazy and making God angry.  Oohh, can we make God angry with our complaining?  I believe so.  He always loves us, just like we always love our children but when they're ungrateful and complain we as their parents most likely get angry with them.  We want them to be grateful.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching I'm reminded that God wants us to give thanks for all things, even the water in the basement, the grumpy kids and our chronic illness.

I've decided to be more proactive about being thankful, not just for Thanksgiving but that's a good reason to start.  Each time I'm tempted to complain or catch myself in the midst of complaining I'm going to instead give thanks. I'm going to remember the many blessings I do have and enjoy those blessings despite my circumstances. I might even pick up my gratitude journal and begin writing in that again.

How about you?  Are you a complainer?  What do you have to be thankful for that maybe you've forgotten.  Will you join me in making gratitude a way of life?