Often life is hard, but God is always good

Posts tagged ‘gratitude’

Do I Enjoy My Gifts?

Photo Credit: Hannah M. Covert

“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! 
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house;
 you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; 
in your light we see light.” Psalm 36:7-9 NIV

So I speak a second language, with some gaps and imperfections, but enough to truly make friends. That is why I learned Spanish. The youth group at my church needed another adult to go to Mexico on the mission trip – a mother, a person who spoke some Spanish. So I went this month and now I am back and I am happy beyond measuring, overflowing with the goodness of God to open up another opportunity to go and make friends in a Spanish-speaking country.

Dylan, another leader on the trip who knows German from his missionary years in Austria, gave me the compliment of saying I expressed “Genießen” (Ge•nee•sen) a German word that means that I really really enjoyed every piece and every moment of the trip, which I did – every sweaty, tiring, stretching minute, and each fascinating person, interesting place, and real touch of the Holy Spirit.

What delights we are given every day. So small sometimes. So precious nonetheless.

My friend Carol recently wrote about her enjoyment of her surroundings: “Watching the rain roll in before supper time while sitting out in the screened-in sun room, the sound of the wind in the leaves, and soft little thunder that quickly passed over reminded me to just witness how everything shifts and changes moment by moment. Noticing these small parts of life instead of rushing around brings more ease and I feel like just being alive and awake is a treasure; nothing fancy -just paying attention with soft eyes of loving my life, as it is, in all its wonderful imperfections.”

God is called the Father of Lights in the epistle to James: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV

Savor the gifts.


Why Wear Rose-Colored Glasses?

Photo credit: Derek Gavey

Photo credit: Derek Gavey

“Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?  I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116: 7, 12, 13 (NIV)

Twenty-five years of marriage feels more like a gift than an accomplishment.  God had to work with some difficult raw material (me)! So much support came from friends, counselors, family, Bible truth, and marriage books and seminars.

But one of the best ingredients in our many years of marriage are the “rose-colored glasses”.  When I place them over my vision I can see my circumstances, my husband, my past, and my future with a perfect mixture of gratitude and honesty.

I look back with chagrin at the newlywed young girl… who hid under the covers when faced with an argument.

“Hey! Where’d you go?” My new husband’s voice floated up the stairs, muffled by the comforter that I had dragged over my head. I didn’t answer him from my refuge under the covers. I felt silly, but I stayed in that suffocating space hoping he would leave me alone.

I thank God that my embarrassing behavior during our arguments drove me to the counselor’s office and that my husband was patient with me as I grew up.

I look back with compassion at the heart-sick young wife…who couldn’t conceive a child.

I truly believed I controlled things like having a baby – “Let’s just start trying and I’ll get pregnant on my timetable”, but even infertility testing and treatment didn’t go according to plan.

I thank God that He was there to catch me when during my free fall into reality and that my husband stuck with me when I was impatient and untrusting of God.

I look back with humor at the young mother…who juggled three children under the age of five (I got what I prayed for!).

It’s a wonder what we moms can do. Once I walked with my kindergarten boy down to the school bus stop while pushing the stroller with my toddler and nursing my newborn baby in the crook of my arm.

I thank God that He buoyed up my parenting insecurities and gave me a husband who was a good father.

I look back with pain at the woman married many years…who criticized everything her husband did.

I kept up a barrage of criticism in my mind and often with my words. He irritated me and I spent all my time looking at all his flaws and being defensive about my own.

I thank God that He patiently showed me my shortcomings and that my husband persevered despite my critical spirit.

I look with pride at the mother of teens…who spent years nurturing, homeschooling, and “being there” for them.

What would I have done without my husband’s willingness to work such long hours while I home schooled the kids?

I thank God that He helps me give them room to grow when I would keep them in an emotional stranglehold and that my husband continues to offer his stability and wisdom while we navigate these years.

 I look with wonder at the woman married twenty-five years… who often wears her “rose-colored glasses”.

I know full well that the man I married isn’t perfect, but I believe in true love that sees with eyes of honesty and gratitude.

God provides these “rose-colored glasses” to us as a gift.  We may humbly receive them when we arrive at that moment of need.  Reach out for them and they will appear on your palm.

Then put them on and take a look around!

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