Friday, November 23, 2012

A Thankful Heart Is A Happier Heart

This is a repost of an entry from two years ago. I'm thankful that revisiting this post encouraged me, since I've been feeling pretty blue lately. I think it would be a good idea to keep a Gratitude Journal
once again. Maybe if I focus on counting my blessings again, I'll be able to kick this funk to the curb. I hope it will encourage you to give thanks to our Creator as well.

As the Thanksgiving season approached this year, I took on the daily challenge of posting something I was thankful for. Facebook became my daily platform to share my thankful thought for the day. As I contemplated what I would include that day, I realized how much this exercise was turning my thoughts to all the blessings I enjoy. I love the idea of keeping an inventory of the many blessings that come my way. As I contemplated the celebration of Thanksgiving I am sure that many of us are indeed thankful for all we have, but I wonder if we are all mindful of where our abundant blessings really come from.

The dictionary defines thanksgiving as an expression of gratitude, especially to God. By participating in the simple act of being thankful, my spirits were often lifted as I deliberately changed my focus, in spite of the way I might be feeling. I wonder, if maybe that is one of the reasons we are often encouraged to give thanks in so many scriptures in the Bible. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18  admonishes  us to: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus".

I have learned that it is possible to be joyful in spite of heartache, but it sometimes requires a conscious effort to search for, or at least take notice of joy-filled moments, and there are many to be found when we are looking for them. As the verse goes on, I don't think for a moment, that God expects us to be thankful FOR all our circumstances and the difficulties we face, but rather we are commanded to give thanks IN all circumstances. That is very different.

For me, that means that even when I'm struggling emotionally, with the Lord's help, I can remember and recognize that He is on this journey with me. Through tears, I may pray, "Lord, I'm hurting right now and sometimes I don't understand, but I thank You for what You are doing in my life and I trust You and know You have my best interest at heart as well as the best interest of those I love. Thank You for the good You will bring from this situation and for drawing me closer to You as You empower me to take baby steps towards my future."

Having a thankful heart comes easy for me because I have been so very blessed and have seen the hand of God in so many ways throughout my life, but never so obviously as during the past, almost, two years, since this chapter began. He continues to go before me, in this totally foreign territory of widowhood. So often, the Lord shows me the next step by bringing people into my life to help with the many decisions that need to be made. This is a tremendous comfort to me!

I have decided that I would like to continue my daily thankfulness inventory. Perhaps I will share my  Gratitude Journal from time to time. I encourage everyone to try keeping a record of thanksgiving and rereading it whenever we need an emotional lift or attitude adjustment.

As William Shakespeare said so eloquently: "Let never day nor night unhallowed pass / But still remember what the Lord hath done." May we all take a few moments to thank God for the multitude of ways He blesses each of us everyday! We are all richer than we know! God bless you and your loved ones as you celebrate this holiday season! You are a tremendous blessing in my life

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Divine Consultant

My heart goes out to all those who lost so much and to all those who are still without power and basic needs in the aftermath of the storm. I was very thankful not to lose power and for the minimal damage from the deadly storm to the residents of the area where I live.

As anticipation built for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy a few weeks ago, I prepared as best I could, just as all of us did. I kept a watchful eye for any unwanted water in my basement that Monday, as I had experienced this one other time when there were several days of rainfall. I was thankful that the Great Stuff expanding foam had taken care of that problem. However, I found another place where water was seeping in and it became my primary focus and consumed my energy and attention. There was rain water coming in where a large pipe went through the basement wall. Unbeknown to me, there were two hairline cracks in the mortar surrounding the pipe, allowing a steady flow of water to enter my home.

My attempt to stop the small stream with an application of Great Stuff wasn’t effective because the mortar was wet. I realized that nothing was going to seal those cracks until the mortar was completely dry. Attending to the incoming water was my only option until the storm passed by. I felt fortunate to have discovered the leak before it created a watery mess. In an attempt to keep the water off the floor, I tucked a piece of rope into the foam, creating a wick to carry the water to a five gallon bucket.  To my dismay, the bucket filled in an hour. So, for three hours, my life was all about disposing of the accumulating water. After many trips up and down the basement stairs, I was wearing out. At one point, the rope fell down while I was transferring water to a smaller bucket, making it more manageable to carry. I tried three times to get the rope back in place and it repeatedly fell to the floor.

Although I meant no disrespect, in my frustration and fatigue, I had “words” with the Lord: “ YOU COULD BE HELPING ME OUT HERE, YOU KNOW!” Immediately, a foreign thought came to my mind. What I perceived was this: “Just let the water roll down the wall”. My first thought was: “Are you kidding me? If I do that, I’ll have a big mess on the floor and it will be a lot harder to clean up”. That made no sense to me and I was totally skeptical, but I listened and watched with astonishment as the water escaped and disappeared instead of collecting and spreading as I had feared. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!

For awhile, I returned every ten minutes to make sure there wasn't a growing puddle on the floor. In my skepticism, I set my alarm clock to wake me every two hours to be certain there wasn’t a pond in the basement. After two waking cycles, I finally trusted that all was well and I had to laugh. How good God was to me, as He revealed what I didn’t know or understand about the construction of my home.  I thanked Him for His kindness in blessing me with this new information. Even though I was complaining and never thought to ask; He blessed me anyway! It is my hope that the next time I need help, I will remember to ask instead of complain. Thank You for Your continuing faithfulness to me, Lord, even in spite of my grumbling.

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.