Thankful in All Circumstances

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)

making listsHave you started your list yet? Last night Shereen suggested we take the “Joy Dare” Ann spoke about and begin counting God’s gifts in our lives. This morning my list began with the gentle patter of raindrops on the eaves troughs by my bedroom window. During last summer’s drought I would have paid good money to hear that sound, yet this year after several weeks of more rain than sunshine, I tend to grumble rather than accept the rain for what it truly is—a gift. But this morning I chose to be thankful, and Ann was right . . . it brought me joy.

In yesterday’s class, Shereen spoke about how she learned to be thankful for something in her life she had once viewed with dread. For those of you who missed it, here’s an excerpt of what she said:

God’s way with each of us is a divine Mystery. As we begin this class, we invite you to investigate your life and your soul. This has been my practice for many years . . .  asking God who I am and praying to notice the person He is calling me to BE.

Sometimes this happens in the mundane and daily . . .  like laundry. I’m not a fan of laundry. I’d like to hurry up and get it all done with at once and not think about it for another week, but as a mother of three boys on a farm, laundry has often been a daily dread.

Until a summer nine years ago . . . the summer of the tornado of 2004.

Everything surrounding our house was destroyed – 1500 acres of cropland wiped clean, buildings and bins crushed like tin cans, truck and tractors scratched and scraped, trees twisted and toppled. Our house was damaged, but fortunately (or should I say unfortunately?) we were able to live in it while the rebuilding began.

Rebuilding involves people – scores of contractors and workmen climbing around our property. And I’m a private person who lives in a private place, suddenly shocked by the attention and interest of the world. The tornado put us on the MAP.

In all the chaos and uncertainty, there was one thing I could control every day.

Laundry.

And because my 3 boys found a lot of mud holes that summer, I could expect laundry as a constant in my very inconstant world.

I began to look forward to that pile each morning.

Wash. Dry. Fold. Put away.

Order in the chaos.

I was thankful for laundry!

When does a daily dread become our daily bread?

 “We’re not giving up. How could we? On the outside it looks like things are falling apart on us, but on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace”  2 Corinthians 4:16 TM

God was doing something in my private, closed up world that summer . . .  something that took a tornado to accomplish. He was teaching me about unfolding grace. He was showing me that my life wasn’t to be kept neatly on a shelf, but to be shaken out and hung up. His Spirit began to blow through my soul.

I began to notice His Presence in small things.

And I gave thanks.

During our study last night, we were also reminded how our Lord gave thanks during his Last Supper with his disciples. He gave thanks for his body that was about to be broken . . . for his blood that was about to be spilled. Eucharisteo. Grace. Thanks. Joy.

Which brings me to our discussion point of the day: Is there something on your list that was once a “dread”? Something that on the surface doesn’t look like a gift at all? Would you share that with us today? I’d love to hear your comments.

6 Replies to “Thankful in All Circumstances”

  1. Twenty five years ago one of my daughter’s asked if a friend of her’s could come and live with us as her father was mistreating her. This opened the door to several teenage girls living in our home as foster children. The friend of my daughter was not a foster child so she was free to move out two months later.

    About twelve years ago, she was the head of a department at a healthcare facility and hired me for one of the openings in that department. I enjoyed the work and stayed there until I retired.

      1. When I opened my home to foster teenage girls I learned a new concept of “my home”. My home was truly a home given to me by God and my life was a moment by moment event.

      2. Moment by moment – that’s just the way Jesus wants us to live with Him. So good!

      3. I’ve learned that when I finally let go of the “my’s”–MY house, MY children, MY dreams, MY life–that’s when I live in the freedom and joy God wanted for me all along. Living with an open palm rather than a clinched fist like Ann said in the video. Hard to do sometimes, but so freeing.

  2. I love the analogy of open palm vs. fist. Thinking through the ways/ circumstances when I tend to emotionally clench – grip – clasp – constrict…

    when I have unmet expectations of myself or others
    when I am not engaging with God in a way that lets Him be the One in control
    when my focus is narrow

    The sooner I can release – relax – trust – be thankful, the better I feel and the more sane person I am!

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