Thursday, March 31, 2022

thankful Thursday


Happy Thursday, my friends. I'm joining in with Rebecca Jo and Leslie our weekly thankful Thursday post. We'd love for you to join us! Add your blog to the link-up and link back to us. 

I thought I'd share a little differently today than in the other weeks and just concentrate on one thing. Out of all the things I have to be grateful for, and there are far too many to even count, the thing I'm most grateful to God for is that He saved me and gave me new life in Him. I was saved at a young age, but I spent several years living life on my own, with little to no regard for Him. I lived so differently back then and I marvel at all He has done in me in the years that He drew me back to Him. Ever since then, He took away the desire for certain habits I had, He changed my countenance, He changed my perspective on life. 

So many people believe they're not good enough to be saved by an Almighty and holy God, but that couldn't be further from the truth. He wants us like we are and then He changes us from the inside out. It's often a visible change, or at least it should be, so that He will get the glory for what He's done in our lives. None of this means that I have it all together or that life isn't sometimes hard. It is. But knowing that God is with me, I can face anything. I was talking to someone recently about this, about our perception of what life for a Christian looks like, versus what it actually is. I thought I'd expound on that a little.

First, it does not mean that I don't have any struggles in life. That isn't true at all. I have been known to struggle with debilitating anxiety, to the point of having to take something to help me before a major surgery. I know plenty of friends who take something for depression and/or anxiety and there is no shame in that whatsoever! Sometimes God truly heals someone from something like that, other times He heals through doctors and medication. I absolutely hate the stigma that needing this type of medicine has and how we've turned it into something shameful. So many people want to keep it secret for whatever reason, but what if we actually shared our journeys in this area from time to time? How many people would we find that knew what it was like, from their own personal experiences? I think the numbers would be shocking, as in far more people take something for things like this, than people who do not.

This doesn't mean that I am the best wife and mom. Someone younger than me recently said that, about how they thought I was the best mom when my boys were little. I assure you, I was not, and they'll tell you that as well, if you were to ask them. I did the very best I was able to do and I relied on God for everything. I yelled too much, I didn't pay enough attention at all times, sometimes I paid too much attention to them and not enough to my husband. Life was hard back then! I just muddled through as best I could, like I said, and God did the rest. 

This doesn't mean that I'm in the best of moods one hundred percent of the time. It doesn't mean that I don't struggle with not being motivated or feeling burned out. It doesn't mean that I get worked up over trivial and meaningless things, like just now when one of my sons had too much stuff on the counter in the kitchen for me to start cooking. It doesn't mean that I am always in the mood to find something good in the middle of a field of things that aren't. All of those are conscience choices that I have to make everyday of my life.

That's a great segue into what life for a Christian does look like. It looks like someone who is imperfect and messes up very frequently, who then is convicted when that happens and goes back to make the necessary apologies. I can't tell you how many times I've had to say I'm sorry. I had to do that just the other day when I snapped at one of my sons, as a retaliation of someone who had snapped at me. We all sin every day in some kind of a way, but thankfully His grace covers our sin. 

It means that even though life is hard and ugly and mean, I make the choice not to dwell in that. Part of that is just my personality as an eternal optimist, but it's also a choice. If I have a headache when I wake up and am not feeling particularly cheerful, I don't take it out anyone. It's not their fault when I don't feel good and lashing out at someone never helped any situation. It means that especially when I'm the driver of the struggle bus, I pour it out to the Lord.

I have a general rule of thumb that I exercise often about this and that is before I complain to someone, I take it to God. I pour out my heart to Him because He loves me as my Father and because He wants us to have that kind of relationship with Him. There are books you can read on prayer and all sorts of articles and blog posts about how to go about this gift of prayer that we have, but honestly, the best thing is to just start. Imagine He is sitting right beside you and start talking. There's not a right or wrong way to pray and He isn't legalistic about it, we are the ones who are that way and make it into too much of an ordeal. 

One last thing I like to do has a great impact and is the reason why I'm writing this today. I like to practice the art of gratitude. Way before I started writing these weekly posts, I've practiced doing this. One way that I can tell that I've not been doing this is when I hear myself complaining a lot, or worrying about something. When I catch myself being that way, I try to go and start writing a list of things to be thankful for, or I start praying wherever I am. This means that I've sat in my car for extended lengths of time and it means that I've been known to carry around a journal. These days I keep a note on my phone to quickly jot down something as it comes to mind, but there are a million ways you can go about that. I tried to teach our sons this and often had them do that on their own as a part of every school day. I love what Paul says in Colossians 2:6-7.

So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude. 

(If I've never told you, that's where the name of my blog came from. Years ago I memorized those verses in the NLT translation, which say "overflow with thankfulness".) 

I'll wrap this up with one last passage, one I heard read yesterday at Bible study, It's Psalm 92:12-15.

The righteous thrive like a palm tree and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the LORD, they thrive in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green, to declare, "The LORD is just; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him."

I hope this encourages you. I hope it gives you a tiny glimpse into the life I lead and why I so often ask whether or not you know Jesus. It's my desire (and His!) that everyone would know Him as their Lord and Savior. As always, if you'd like to chat more about this, don't hesitate to reach out. My email address is allboys@gmail.com. I'm grateful for you who read this and who so often encourage me. Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all. 

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