Today, I want to give some things that I am thankful for. Of course I'm thankful for the "normal" things....my family (well, they aren't really normal, but you know what I mean), my health, my house, my car, chocolate, deodorant, etc., etc., etc. There are other things that I am thankful for that I would probably never put on that list of blessings. I started thinking about this yesterday after I heard a sermon about being thankful for your circumstances. No matter what you are going through, be thankful for it, because you never know where it is leading you. We've had MANY circumstances to choose from in the last several years. (God must really trust us.) Here are some that were blessings in disguise:
- I am thankful that we had to leave our house. At the end of 2007, we could no longer afford our house, so we made the very hard decision to give it back to the bank. (Well, we tried. It's 5 years later, and the house is still in our name. Different story.) At the time, it was heart breaking, and I mourned my house for a long time. (I still can't go in the Goose's nursery without tearing up.) This was the first home we lived in as a family, and it was a house we intended to stay in until we died. Having said that, I can now say I am thankful for being forced to leave it because it made us free. We are not tied to a physical dwelling, and we can go where ever we are led. It awakened a "gypsy" spirit in me, and I am ready to go whenever I am told to.
- I am thankful for an ugggg-ly falling out I had with someone who was close to us. (Did I mention it was ugly?) I could probably safely mention her name here, because I'm pretty sure she would never read anything I had to say. She still doesn't speak to me, and I'm confident that she would not want to read my writings either. It was not pleasant, and it was not something I would want to repeat. It did, however, cause me to toughen up and stop wearing my feelings on my sleeve. (Well, they are still there, but I just pad them a little better.) That was the first real falling out I had ever had with anyone, and it prepared me for worse things to come. I have fought some battles since then that I could have never survived if I had not been put through that first.
- I am thankful that our pottery business closed down. Especially now, at Christmas, the most unpleasant retail time of the year, I can say that I am so happy not to own a store! At the time we closed, it was heart breaking because we had worked so hard to get the business going. However, I have not spent one minute missing it, and I am thankful that we are not stressing out and worrying about our declining sales. I miss some of my customers, but I am very thankful not to be dealing with some others.
- I am thankful that we have no stocks and bonds. We have no investments, and we have no savings. We have absolutely nothing to lose, so there are no worries! Oh, the stock market plummeted today? Sorry for your luck. Come join my club.
- I am thankful for our second pottery business burning down this year. That's a weird thing to be thankful for, but it's true. I'm still not completely sure what the purpose of that was, but I do know there was a purpose. I can already see some good things coming from it, and I know more will come.
No matter what your circumstances are right now, stop and give thanks. You really never know how God will use your circumstances in life. It always amazes me to see how things come out in the end. His plan is much better than ours could ever be. A favorite verse of mine is Jeremiah 29:11. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Many times when I am talking to someone who is hurting, I tell them that a year from now, this will all be a memory. That thought is actually how I have dealt with a lot of hurts in my life. It's so cliché, but time really does heal. When I am panicked and wondering how I am going to survive the next hour, I try to step back and remember that this too shall pass. My dear friend, A* (names changed to protect the innocent), says that her favorite words in the Bible are, "And it came to pass....." I hope your circumstances come to pass soon. Philippians 4:11-13 "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Remember to stop and count your blessings! -Al