A Time to be Grateful

Monon in Carmel

“The single greatest thing you can do to change your life today would be to start being grateful for what you have right now. And the more grateful you are, the more you get.” – Oprah

As I sit here reflecting on Oprah’s quote I can’t help but think back over the past eight years and see the many blessings that have come my way since my daughter’s death. I believe a person needs to have great faith to see that and to believe that life can still have meaning after such loss. But also understanding that it will be different. Never the same.

I’m a fighter and I have always gotten back up and dusted myself off and took another step in faith that God has my back. He has up till now and I have every bit of faith that He will for the rest of my days. The problem is always me. I get in the way of my own recovery, my own journey because of my human nature to disbelieve.

Life has handed me more hurts and sorrows and at times I’ve often wondered how life could have any meaning left for me. It would be so easy for me to give up, to stop believing, to stop living.

But my faith is so much stronger than my disbelief.

And that my friends is where it begins and ends. So today I am thankful for my faith, for it has carried me this far. My Thanksgiving prayer for you all that is that you can find gratitude in the little things. It is the little things in life that rebuild faith, strength, foundational love and happiness.

Happy Thanksgiving

until next time

M

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Living a Life of Gratitude

Gratitude
 

What to do when you are faced with trouble. And you know, trouble is always around – lurking, waiting to show it’s nasty little head when we least expect it. It’s how we manage it that will enable us to keep trouble at a distance.

When trouble comes….

Live by faith…

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. -Psalm 46:1

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, “move from here to there,” and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” – Matthew 17:20

Live by joy…

“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice! “Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. “Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:4-6

Faith will always be tested, but from that endurance will become stronger so you are prepared for anything.

Never let up the pressure to push trouble away – don’t ever give up.

Live by gratitude…

In everything give thanks.

Even in the midst of trouble, because not everything flows from God.

You have to work at this every day.

Remember: if you are not thankful for what you have today, you will not be happy with what you will attain later.

So the next time trouble comes… instead of dwelling on what you don’t have, be grateful for the wonderful things you do have. Life is too short and we have much to do in our preparation to live eternally in Heaven. Are you ready?

Until next time,

M

Where is the happiness?

This post will be based on Chapter 4  – The Prison of Want: The Burden of Discontent from Max Lucado’s book “Traveling Light” and written from the perspective of a grieving mother, daughter and woman.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want – Psalm 23:1

 

Today in church I sat and listened to our pastor talk about family and how in today’s world our families have become disconnected. Running here and there and everywhere, yet never taking the time to stop and rest. To look at what they have or who they are. They have become this frazzled, anxiety-ridden family who have lost the meaning of what a family should be.

As I sat there next to a family I love dearly, knowing how crazy their lives are and how sometimes very stressful their lives must be going here and there meeting deadlines and traveling from practice to practice. Yet as I sat there looking at them, I was saddened. I was saddened because I no longer knew what family meant – it certainly didn’t look like theirs: Husband, wife, and 3 beautiful kids. You see growing up my family never looked anything like that. It was fractured, broken and most of all empty. Always a sense of we were one step away from a disaster of master proportions – all because a father chose to walk away.

Then I was also reminded that because my mother had died and my grandmother 5 years after her – the family I did know was fractured even further. Then a divorce and the death of my only child left me with a pit of sorrow in my belly I had to leave the church. I so wanted what my friend had – I never felt more lonely than I did at that moment. What had been taken from me was family. Everything I knew to be family – has always been taken from me. What I didn’t realize is that I had always defined myself by my family no matter how dysfunctional or fractured it was it was still my family.

Lucado mentions in the book that we tend to live in a prison of want so often that once we obtain what we want – it quickly looses its luster and again we are imprisoned again by the desire of want. Just wanting that one thing, that one thing that would make us feel whole again. The person who could make it all better. But you know what it doesn’t happen that way. And it’s taken me 52 years to figure that one out.

“Life is not defined by what you have, even when  you have a lot” (Luke 12:15 msg). Heaven does not know you as the fellow with the nice suit or the woman with the big house or the kid with the new bike. Heaven knows your heart.”

 So after reading the passage above I thought then what is it that we are supposed to be looking for to fill that void. What could it be that would create a sense of joy that would overcome the sense of pain and sorrow that now resided in my empty heart.  After finishing the chapter I realized that the only thing that can make a difference in my life, the only thing that can bring me joy that can create in me a sense of peace is God. My shepherd. My Lord.

Then I read the final passage that made it all so very clear:

When we surrender to God the cumbersome sack of discontent, we don’t just give up something; we gain something. God replaces it with a lightweight tailor-made, sorrow-resident attache of gratitude.

When you have realized your gratitude the contentment will come, the happiness will follow. You may see improvement in so many areas of your life that will create a sense of wonder like you’ve never seen before.

As Lucado suggests begin with repeating the following:

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

Again – “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

Again – “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

And Again – “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

I think this can remind us that if we know we shall not want, we will gain so much just beginning with a heart of gratitude.

until next time,

m