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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

I think most people around the world are reeling from the chaos that has been 2020. Here in the United States, we are emotionally overwhelmed from the pandemic, the racial/police tensions, and the election. We are a nation divided. I think we always have been, but we experience times of peace, as well as, times of discord. Are we a nation ready to implode? I don’t know. Will we recover? I hope so. I am afraid though that if we continue to stray further and further away from God, recovery may not be possible.

But all of that is beside the point. This blog post is about the lessons I have learned from 2020. This has been a tough year for me, but also a blessed year. I moved back from Georgia in March after saying that I would NEVER return. I had a shoulder injury that bothered me much of the year. We welcomed a precious granddaughter in March. My parents were supposed to visit in July for their bi-annual visit, but the pandemic happened and now it will be 3 years between visits. I have been blessed to be able to watch my grands this school year. So, it hasn’t been a horrible year. It has had it’s challenges, but what year doesn’t?

Now for the lessons I have learned in 2020:

  1. Change is inevitable – Change is part of life. Transition happens ALL the time. I have had to adapt to change this year. I moved back from Georgia after 10 months. It was a tough decision. I had determined that I was not moving back to Indiana, but it was a better place for me. When I returned, I moved in with my ex-husband Howard and his wife Tami. I struggled with this. Tami and I are best friends, but it wasn’t necessarily what I wanted. I have learned to embrace the changes in life, instead of fighting them. Change happens. Fighting only wears you down to the point of missing all the good stuff that is mixed in with the bad.
  2. God still performs miracles – I had an MRI on my shoulder in February that showed a partial tear in my rotator cuff. It caused me a significant amount of pain and I didn’t have full range of motion for several months. I prayed for healing in my shoulder. In July, another MRI showed no tear at all. Since then I have regained full range of motion with just a little discomfort and the pain is 95% gone. If I over stretch, I feel some pain, but it is so much better. I can use my arm again and I am so grateful for that! Miracles DO still happen.
  3. God knows best – When I moved to Georgia in May of 2019, I had planned on a happy life soaking in the sun and warmth year round. That was MY plan. That was NOT God’s plan. Because I did my own thing and was out of God’s will, life became pretty difficult there. I struggled in a way that I can’t even describe. God allows us free will. God allows us to make our own decisions. I wanted so badly to escape Indiana that I read into the open doors as a sign that I was in God’s will. I needed to know for myself that the grass was NOT greener on the other side of the country. God allowed that and now I am back in Indiana where I belong. God allows suffering to bring us closer to Him. It is often in our suffering that we seek Him the most.
  4. Be grateful for the simple things – I am a simple person. I don’t own a lot of material possessions. I don’t need a lot of things. I am grateful for what I do have. I am grateful for what I have access to through family and community. Who knew that we would ALL be thankful for a simple package of toilet paper or cleaning supplies. Some stores still have empty shelves where what we thought were necessary items once lived. We have ALL needed to prioritize what is absolutely necessary. I have become grateful for the basics. I am not taking anything for granted, because in a heart beat, it can all be gone.
  5. I need my family – From my dark place late 2019 and earlier this year, I thought that my family did not want me and that I would be better off somewhere alone in another community. I realized that my family can not be replaced. We bicker. We don’t “hear” each other when we should. We don’t always understand each other, but we are family. I need my family. In the midst of social distancing I have realized that my family is where I feel safe from the chaos of the world. My family is where I feel loved. My family knows me and accepts me, quirks and all. My life would not be the same if I was not with my family.

In this last week of 2020, I reflect on what I have learned. I encourage you to take a few minutes to do the same. 2020 has not been all bad. What are you grateful for? What good has come out of this year? What lessons have you learned?

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gratitude

 

Ephesians 5:20

20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Exodus 16 and 17, we find the Israelites beginning to grumble. They were hungry and thirsty. Instead of trusting God to provide, they complained to Moses and grumbled against God. Never mind, that God had just delivered them from the oppression of the Egyptians by performing miracle after miracle and parted the Red Sea, so they could walk across on dry ground. They had already forgotten what God had done for them. Instead of being grateful to God for hearing their cries and delivering them from slavery and oppression, they continued to whine. Instead of trusting God to make a way, they chose to complain about their current situation. They chose not to trust God for their future. They were forgetting that God had promised them a land flowing with milk and honey.

I will be the first to admit that when it comes to ¬†being grateful, I sometimes miss the mark. I will admit that I do find myself complaining more than I would like. In all honesty, I can be a bit of a whiner. It’s not one of my best traits and the Holy Spirit has really been convicting me on this heart issue. God has done many wonderful things for me. He has always provided for me and my kids. If I know that He has always provided, then why is it so hard to be content in my circumstances? Why do I find it so hard to trust God for today and tomorrow? Why is it so hard for me to give thanks in EVERY situation? I guess the simple answer is that I am human and it is in my nature to want to know that everything will work out. It is in my nature to want to control the outcome. It is in my nature to want to change my circumstances and fix my problems on my own and in my own timing and when I can’t, I whine and complain like a child.

If I look around me today, I see that I have a house with heat. I have food in the cupboards. I have 5 AMAZING kids who will do great things. I have 2 grandchildren, who are the light of my life. I have a job that pays the bills. Is everything perfect? No. Life can be tough. I struggle, but I choose to trust God for the future. I choose to be content in my circumstances and know that God has a plan for my future.

How do you deal with tough circumstances in your life? Do you whine, grumble and complain like the Israelites, or do you choose to trust God with the future? Are you content in your circumstances? Can you give thanks, even when things are tough? My challenge to you is to reflect on your life right now and find 5 things that you can give thanks for. Make it a habit to give thanks in EVERY circumstance. Choose to be content with the way your life is, right now. Choose to trust that God has a plan for your future.

 

 

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