Grateful for the Life You Have

#171 Blog Post- Grateful for the Life You Have

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 

1 Thessalonians 5:18

This week has been a whammy.  Daylight saving time, full moon, Friday the 13th, extra workload, Corona Virus fears, and pandemonium, and my child and I had our heads invaded by lice.  (Cue Scratching.)

The physical and emotional toll lice took on me felt like the end of the world to me.  I counted that I did 12 loads of laundry for over 2 days. I spent a lot of money to have someone come to the house and treat us and purchase new hair brushes, hair supplies, and bedding.  My child had the lice eradicated in 1 treatment, while it took 3 treatments to get rid of them on my hair. My hair is very thick, so I have a hospitable environment for them. Lice are equal opportunity jerks, I felt dirty and poor, even though that is far from the truth.

I went to the dry cleaner to take our comforter to be professionally cleaned.  I already washed it at the laundromat, but it smelled like everyone else’s laundry.  I noticed a post-it note on the wall at my dry cleaner. The dry cleaner scribbled out, “Gratitude is riches. Complaining is poverty.” She had it there to remind her to be grateful.  Little did she know that the quote was the encouragement I needed to help me through my exhausting week.

Even in the middle of this inconvenient and tiring time, I could be grateful for several things.  I only have one child to deal with this. My husband didn’t get it. Bed, Bath and Beyond had a clearance sale on bedding. My washer and dryer handled the enormous loads of laundry.  My house has been Spring Cleaned. And I knew deep in the back of my mind, this to would pass.

In my years of having anxiety and fear, gratitude was never a priority.  If complaining was an Olympic sport, I would have more medals than Olympian Michael Phelps.  I had a complainer’s mindset. When I had a difficult situation to deal with, it seemed like it would never end.  I remember being in a grocery store and started to have an anxiety attack (grocery stores seemed to set me off for some reason).  Then this thought came into my mind: there are plenty of people in this world that would trade their life for mine. So, I began to count my blessings.  The anxious feelings fled, and I carried on with my errands.  

When it comes to the definition of being wealthy, our income may not qualify in the area where my family lives.  However, being grateful truly brings out all the riches in my life. May the person reading this post find something to be thankful for and see their riches!

Lesson Learned: Focus more on all the good things in your life.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for looking for the things I do not have.  Thank you for the blessings that you have bestowed upon my life. I am grateful for everything.  When times are difficult, Father God, I am thankful the time is temporary. Thank you for your provision, protection, and love.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Never be in a Relationship that You Cannot Talk About

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

When I was in my early 20’s, I entered into a relationship that was toxic and unrighteous. He paid attention to me in a way no one had. I entered into the relationship because I did not see myself as able to be loved or valued. Every Sunday, I would go to church, torn by conviction and guilt. Yet the next day, I was emailing and talking to him. This carried on for many months. Then one Sunday, it all changed.

I was hanging out with a friend one Sunday after church. I was suffering from this relationship emotionally and physically. It was taking a toll on me. She noticed that I was distraught. The Holy Spirit prompted her to keep pursuing a conversation with me about it.

I drew in a big breath and confessed to what I was doing it. I bawled my eyes out, condemning myself and asking why would I let this happen. She listen to me and said the relationship ends today. We prayed and she would hold me accountable.

God gave me the strength to stop and end it. I told him to never contact me again and he actually did. He had too much to lose, so I think that is why he did. I spent the next 5 years of my life afterward, still living in guilt and condemnation. I wanted to be free and receive my forgiveness wholeheartedly. But I felt if I did, I would be condoning it. I felt I didn’t deserve to be happy.

The enemy still uses our past to slap us in the face and remind us how much we have sinned. I know the Lord forgave me the first time I asked and each time after that. But I just felt this torment, that I still deserved punishment. When I met my future husband, I knew I was going to marry him. I told him what I did because I felt I had to. He was so loving and understanding about it. God used him to show me what a true and pure love should be like.

This time in my life reminds me to continually pray for protection against temptation. This situation has given me mercy and grace over those who have made serious mistakes. I can see past the initial sin and look deeper to why they may have done something bad.

I felt genuine remorse and wish I could go back in time and stop it from happening. But I cannot. I am blessed by His love that He forgave me and restored my heart. If you find that you are in a situation that is causing you to sin, stop and get help. Live a life of purity and truth.  On this Valentine’s Day remember that you are valuable and lovable.

Lesson Learned: God wants us to not be a slave to our sinful nature. He wants us to be victorious and been in healthy, stable relationships.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for carrying me out of mistakes I have made. Thank you for giving me the strength to end mistakes before more damage is done. Please guard my eyes from being deceived by the enemy. Show me my worth and value. Give me discernment and conviction when I am doing sinful things. Thank you for restoring those deep hurts and filling them with your love. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

We Have a Friend in Jesus

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  Proverbs 18:24

In this age of Social Media, the more likes and views you get, the more important you appear.  Facebook friends, Twitter and Instagram followers, etc.  means the higher your value.  I look at my Facebook friends and the number seems high.  Yet, I could probably count on one hand the number of friends I really have in my life.

A friend of mine went on Facebook and vented about her bad day.  She was completely left out of a work function.  Everyone was included except her.  She is one of the most giving people and always goes above and beyond for a party or project.  As she knows, one isn’t invited to everything, but this was a blatant attempt to make her feel bad by a troublemaker in her office.  One could feel her sadness and rejection.  I am sure her self-worth took a hit that day.  It would have for me too.

There is an “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy was feeling forgotten by her husband and friends.  It was her birthday and no one seemed to remember.  It turns out they were planning a surprise birthday party.  She was so distraught that she went walking for hours.  Lucy ended up in a park and a group of people, called “Friends of the Friendless”  came marching through, literally marching band and all.  They asked her why she was sad and decided to make her their friend because their goal was to make sure no one felt lonely.  She marches down to her husband’s night club, where the party was planned, to show him her new group of friends.  And as “I Love Lucy” episodes happily end, she sees the surprise party and forgives all.

I wish there was a group like “Friends of the Friendless” to appear for us when we get hurt or rejected.  Sometimes, we feel like the only ones in the world that aren’t included.  However, we really do have a friend in Jesus.  Honestly, though it sounds ridiculous since we can’t see Him.  But we need to invite His presence to be with us at times of loneliness.   In turn, He will provide a person in our lives to comfort us.  They usually say just what we need to hear.

That friend, who was jilted by her co-worker, had a flooding of comments to that post.  Some people told her how much they love her, others warmly threatened this jerk.  The enemy wants us to feel isolated and rejected.  We end up feeling so lonely, we retreat in our misery and find it hard to come out of it.  Thankfully despite her vulnerability, she reached out and let people know she was hurt.

Lesson Learned:  When we are hurt by people, may we seek comfort in the loving arms of the Lord.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, in times of rejection, help me to find your love and peace.  May the arrows of affliction reflect off of me.  Thank you for creating me uniquely.  Surround me with people who are my true friends and family and remind me how loved I am always.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Sharing the Same Thinking

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”  Ephesians 4:2

 

There was a nice Facebook post that my friend shared about flooding the Internet with Art instead of political posts.  People are getting so sick of over-shared opinions.  As it is always dangerous to go on social media and talk about politics (or anything controversial), right now  Social Media seems like a war zone.  It seems however, no one can be civil.  No one can share an opinion without it being shoved down one’s throats or being told they are wrong.  I think my husband was right in never getting a Facebook or any Social Media profile.

 

The same goes for me being a (wanna-be) Minimalist.  When I began this journey to live a more simple life and without a lot of unneeded stuff,  I was on a rampage to clear out the clutter.  Yet, my husband and daughter have no problem with having stuff.  My parents are the same way. They love new gadgets.  They also love buying things for my daughter.  Of course Grandparents are known for buying too much for their grandkids.  However, my daughter was starting to expect this from them.  

 

I was telling (more like complaining to) a friend about all the stuff grandparents give their grandkids and how I wish there was a better way.  I have suggested experiences and lessons for sports/art instead of toys.  But those requests seem to fall on deaf ears.  Then my dear friend said something that was heart-wrenching.  She went on to tell me, how she was feeling the same way.  Her mom would send her kids random things-knicknacks, stuff that was cute but not of any real use.  But then her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and those gifts stopped.  She said how she would rather deal with the clutter, than know her mother can’t remember her own  grandkids.   

 

In that moment, I realized while I can passionate about something, but I can’t expect everyone to share the same opinion as me.  Sometimes displayed passion can make the subject more intriguing and change someone’s mind about it.   I believe in being a living testimony.  People need to see how one has changed for the better and to share it with others.  But if someone doesn’t agree, I can’t tell them they are wrong.   I have to keep living by example.

 

Lesson Learned:  Love and pray for people always even if they don’t believe what you believe.  Love changes, not shame.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for pointing out the spec in one’s eye when I have a log in my own.  Give me patience and compassion for people.  While this world will always have disagreements with one another, let God’s justice prevail and goodness and love seep through.

Imitating Jesus

 

“If we say we are His, we must follow the example of Christ.”  I John 2:6

 

This morning, I was listening to the radio and a singer was talking about the birth of his daughter.  He said prayed that he would not mess up that relationship.  He asked God to remind him to treasure his daughter everyday and to know it is an honor to be her father.  

 

Of course, I immediately felt convicted.  

 

I thought about the times when I get mad at her making a mess or dropping and breaking something expensive.  But then I heard the saying, “WWJD-What would Jesus Do?”  An oldie but a goodie… If Jesus saw my daughter, He would love and speak over her encouragement.  You can still discipline and show love.  I’ve just been showing anger and disappointment.  

 

At church my pastor also reminds of showing the love of Jesus.  When he wants us to greet others, he says, “If Jesus were here, He would give you a hug.”  I want to think like this all of the time.  But it is hard sometimes to do this.

 

Every time I want to write a post for this blog, the fear comes up.  I am disappointed and impatient in how very few people seem to read this blog.   Everyone is just too busy.  It could be that it is just junk and that is the sad truth.  Then something keeps encouraging me to keep going.  In the last two days, there were 2 articles and a video that I came across regarding dreams you wish to accomplish.  I think God is trying to tell me something- just keep doing it, but as He would.

 

When I want to write but I can’t think of anything, I will pray for the words that God would want people to read.  If I encounter a problem, pray to God how He would want me to handle that situation.  Life is complicated, but Jesus makes it more clear and simple.  We can do a lot on our own, but with God it is usually the right way.

 

Lesson Learned: Imitate Jesus not the world.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for taking on the burden of every problem.  I need your wisdom and encouragement Lord.  Give me discernment for every issue at hand.  Show me how you want others to see you through me.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”