Let Everything That Breathes Praise the Lord!
It's been a crazy last couple of months for us. Whether you've been directly affected by the virus or just indirectly in the fact that you can't go your normal places, everyone in the world has been touched by this. One thing that God has especially been teaching me through this time is how to be "settled" in Him (the title of my website), including how to give thanks more.
First, I just quickly want to say that I know this (giving thanks) is a very hard thing for many people to do right now. This isn't the primary purpose of this post, but I want to say my heart hurts for the people in the medical field watching people die alone, the people at high risk who have maybe been stuck at home alone for weeks, the same people who soon have to make the decisions about what to do to stay safe until there is a vaccine, and people who have lost their jobs and possibly their businesses forever. Those and many other things are very scary and hard situations. I think it is VERY important, if we want to truly love others well, that we acknowledge that these things are very real and challenging, as well as realize that our world as we know it is changed completely (at least for the foreseeable future).
But, despite those things, we can STILL be thankful. I think it is very important to empathize with others and listen to their feelings, but I also think it's very important to admonish and encourage others with truth. Because of this, we can't just sit around and wallow in our sadness. We must choose to take the grace that God extends to us and choose joy. I think that joy is not smiling all the time or being giddy, but a true settled peace deep inside us knowing that no matter what happens, we have God and He is taking care of us.
Because of these things, we have been working on choosing to look at things to be thankful for. For some people, that's pretty easy still. For others, it seems almost impossible. But we must remember God's gifts in order to take our focus off ourselves and turn it back to Him. We have been writing down things with our kids at dinner. This is a great time to sit down together and think about the day and what happened and what we enjoyed the most. Of course, for the kids, it often just turns into listing the different foods they like haha, but that's not a bad thing to be thankful for. So I challenge you- make a list. Maybe daily, weekly, once, whatever works best for you. Write down gifts that God has given you that you can be thankful for. And when you get discouraged (which happens to all of us), look at that list. It will help encourage you to focus on what God is doing and all the good things He has given us. The Bible tells us many times to remember what God has done. If you need somewhere to start, read Ephesians and start writing things down. The first half of the book is especially packed full of all we have in Christ. Praise the Lord today for what He has given us in Him!