I had thought I would do a video for this post. I'm really trying to stretch myself these days, and video's are an area that really intimidates me. I'm not sure why. I used to speak in front of hundreds of people at a time. Anyway, I decided I would write this out because I was really afraid I wouldn't get through the video without blubbering & shedding every tear in my head.
This time of year is hard for me. There, I said it. I feel guilty for it being hard because I know that part of it is my own attitude towards our living situation right now. We still live with my husbands parents and sometimes I just don't understand why the Lord would continue to keep us here. Then there are days when I know why he has. But that doesn't make it easier.
So, gratitude can sometimes be hard for me.
Then today happened.
Last night, me along with 6 other dear friends threw a Christmas party for our Young Living team members. It was so much fun to love on our team members and bless them.
We asked each guest to bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to our local food pantry. They gave so generously and today the kids and I had the pleasure of delivering the items to the food pantry. We pulled up to the little building and were surprised to find people already in line for food.
The kids helped me to unload the car and as I stood there waiting to speak to the coordinator I looked at those in line. How humbling it must be to stand in line for food because you have no money to buy it. I thought to myself, "That could be us".
You see, that was us at one time, except we never stood in line for food. We had no money for food. We tried to stretch our dollars as far as we could but it would never go far enough. I know what it is like to open my refrigerator and not see anything there to prepare for dinner. I know what it is like to go to bed at night and not know how we will eat the next day. It's a horrible way to wake up.
We had to rely on the government for a time to purchase our food. We were issued a card to use at the grocery store. It was humbling and humiliating. I felt as though all eyes were on me as I swiped that card to pay for our food.
I can still remember the day when I left that card at home because we were finally able to buy food with our own money again. There was freedom and empowerment in that.
While I'm thankful I never had to stand in line to get food for my family, I recognize that sometimes God uses ways to provide for us that we may not like. I was thankful we could have plenty of food, but I never liked how the Lord provided that food for us. I'm just being honest here. I thought I was being thankful. I thought because I would say with my mouth, "Lord, thank you for providing us food" that I had a heart of gratitude. But, really...I didn't.
Gratitude is one of those attributes that leads to other attributes. When we practice gratitude we experience joy, freedom and happiness.
We are told to be thankful! We aren't asked. I find that very important in scripture. I never find the Lord saying, "Can you be thankful?" "Can you have gratitude?"
No. He says, "Be thankful". It is His will!
I think that is because he wants so much for us, he created us to live an abundant life. He came so that we may live and live life more abundantly! Yet, our attitudes so often hinder us. We are unable to experience His joy because we can't find gratitude hidden in the life he has given us.
I am a work in progress. I'm not going to tell you I'm all there because I'm not. Obviously, because the Lord keeps bringing this up I still have a lot of work to do. But that is the wonderful part about living this life for Him. He never gives up. He's always there, waiting for us to "get it". His love never ends and his mercies are new every morning!
I challenge you to write down things in your life right now that you would like to change. I'm talking circumstances, things happening around you. Read them out loud. Now, rewrite them and turn them into a prayer of thanksgiving. Pray them daily for 30 days. Come back here and comment on this post and let me know how you are doing.
Did you find your gratitude?
If you are on Facebook, follow my page, Joy Moms. Come say hello!