"A Grateful Heart"
A few years ago, Christmas was approaching and it didn't "feel" much like Christmas. I didn't feel much like celebrating. My life had taken a turn that I didn't expect, and I was having a hard time embracing my "new normal." My husband was in an inpatient treatment facility and my marriage was uncertain, to say the least. However, I had four daughters that very much wanted to celebrate.
They had the magic of Christmas in their hearts and the wonder in their eyes. So, I had a choice. I could choose to focus on the things that were not going well, or I could choose joy. I could choose to be grateful for all of the things that were going well. My friend John Woodall often says that good and hard run on parallel tracks. Boy, is that true! How do you bounce back and forth from good and hard? 1 Thessalonians 5:15–28 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
One practical thing I did was to make a list of the things I was grateful for. At first, my frustrated heart could only think of basic things like my health, my girls’ health, our home, my job, my small group, my friends, my family, etc. However, as I kept writing, I realized that I was thankful for people I had met because of the difficult situation we were in.
Yes, things were difficult, but after I thought about the things I was thankful for, my heart began to change. I started to feel a peace and actually began to get excited about celebrating Christmas with the girls. I realized that God was WITH me and FOR me. HE was the one that had provided all of the things I had written on the list. And he was up to something. I could "be still" with a grateful heart.
What is it that you need to be grateful for this season? Are you able to find joy in hard times? Are you able to rise above your circumstances and focus on all that Jesus has done for you? What would it look like to let Jesus carry those burdens so you could be grateful for all that is going well?