“Gratitude never comes from avoiding difficulty but from finding yourself sustained through it.” -Randy Alcorn from his book, 90 Days of God’s Goodness.
We’re probably all learning some important life lessons through being isolated in our homes with our families. These are a few things I’ve taken for granted and have become especially thankful for the past few weeks.
- Good health
What a blessing it is to be able to walk around outside and feel the breeze and sunshine! I’m thankful that this virus has happened in the springtime with warmer weather and more sunshine. (Also, our electricity and gas bills will be cheaper during this time with so many unemployed.)
The privilege to be able to freely come and go is something I’ve taken for granted. Until recently I’ve never thought about what a blessing it is to be able to go to a store and just pick up some necessary items or browse around.
- Fresh air
I’m thankful I can walk outside and not have to worry about the air I breathe. I’ve enjoyed living in the country my whole life, but I’ve definitely taken fresh air for granted.
- A slower pace
I’m a list maker. I like staying busy and getting things done. That can be a good thing, but it has its negatives too. My dad used to often say, “Gaye, will you please just sit down? You’re making me nervous the way you’re always zipping around.” Slowing down can be uncomfortable for me. If I have too much time to think, I tend to become sad. It’s easier to stay busy than to think about some past sins and mistakes, strained relationships, emotional pain, etc. But it’s been healthy for me to have extra down time to process and deal with my bad attitude, what angers me and why, and things I could or should have done better. Now, I can take steps to not repeat those things I regret.
- Time for completing projects
Do you have projects you tend to keep pushing back because you aren’t motivated to do them? I have! Well, I can’t use the excuse that I don’t have time now. So I’ve cleaned out some closets and drawers, organized some messy places, painted, done some much needed yard work, and have sent more cards to people.
I’ve been particularly blessed to have reconnected with old friends during this time. Some I haven’t heard from in quiet awhile have contacted me and I’ve tried to do the same. I’ve realized how much I’ve missed these people. I believe God puts every person in our lives for a reason. He has used my friends to encourage me, to laugh and cry with me, to instruct and teach me, and to rebuke me over the years. They make my life rich and are a gift from God. God uses our relationships with others to mold us into the people He wants us to be.
I didn’t think I could love my family any deeper. I have found I can. I appreciate them more now than I ever have. I’m so thankful for the technology we have today to be able to communicate with our loved ones. We have cell phones, texting, zoom, Marco Polo, and facebook to just name a few. What a blessing it is to be able to keep in touch! I think about how life was just 30 years ago. Families didn’t have any of these ways of communicating.
For most people it’s easy to put on your happy face, and be kind and friendly to those we see outside our homes. But we can’t hide who we are from those living with us. They know all the good, the bad, and the ugly. With this shelter-in-place we’re stuck with each other all day, every day whether we like it or not. Fortunately, I’m married to the best man on the planet so I’m enjoying having him around, but I realize that isn’t the case with everyone. Family relationships can get strained quickly when life is stressful, we’re dealing with disappointment, and worse yet, the whole world seems chaotic and suffering abounds. All while the very things that often encourage us: family, friends, worshiping together in church, vacations, going out to eat, etc. have been stripped away. It’s in these moments we realize how much we need the support of our family. We’ve been given a wonderful opportunity, free of distractions, to learn to love our family well. Let’s be committed. Let’s be there for each other, if in prayer only, when no one else can be. I’m thankful for family.
I’m thankful for extra time to spend reading God’s words, the Bible. I’ve certainly prayed more. The many encouraging sermons I’ve heard via you-tube have taught me more about God. (One of my favorite preacher is Adrian Rogers.) This is a good time for us to draw closer to the God we love but are prone to wander away from.
When we emerge from this unprecedented time like a butterfly out of its cocoon, may we be more patient, more kind, more thoughtful, more humble, more intentional in our living and giving. I want to look and act more like Jesus.
May we not let this time of testing be wasted. We can look at this time of isolation and widespread sickness as training ground to become more of a soldier of Jesus Christ. It’s a time to dig deep, search our hearts, discern what is holding us back from giving God and others our all. May we learn to prefer others above ourselves and become a humble servant. And what better place to learn this than at home with our families? Jesus humbled Himself and became a servant and He calls us to do the same. This is where we will find true joy and peace. And let’s not forget to look for the positive things and thank God for them.
Again, I quote Randy Alcorn, “The degree of joy rises to the degree of gratitude, and the level of gratitude corresponds to the level of God’s grace experienced in our suffering.”
Keep looking up,
Gaye Hughes Hammersley