1 Thessalonians 5: 16-19
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.19 Do not quench the Spirit.
I feel like these verses say it all:
1. Rejoice always (be full of joy)
2. pray continually (don't stop praying)
3. Give thanks in all circumstances (God knows what He's doing just trust Him
4. Do not quench the Spirit (don't suppress all that God has for you, embrace His power and strength, and stop complaining!)
As a woman I have had the high honor of having some truly wonderful friends. And we women are really good at sharing our hearts and deepest concerns with each other, from health needs, marriage issues, job struggles, relationship problems, whatever the case may be I have gotten the chance to be a good listener and pray for my fellow sisters.
The more I ask my friends how I can pray for them, more often than not, I end up thanking God for the blessings that I have in my life. My petty problems and trivial annoyances are nothing when I compare them to the bigger picture and problems out there. The more I try to reach out to others and the more I pray for others I realize how good I have it, how blessed I am, and how faithful God is. The more I focus less on myself, I find God showing me others whom I can encourage and be a blessing to.
Have you ever gone to a doctor appointment for a well visit for your kids, and seen other sick kids there, and you stop and thank God for good health? How about seeing a severely handicapped child at the beach or a store, doesn't it make you appreciate good health all the more? When I stop focusing on me me me I stop to see the wonder of God's hand in all of our lives. How He protects us, loves us, provides for us, even when we don't realize it.
It's easy to rejoice and be joyful when your eyes are fixed on Him. He is just that GOOD. He is just that wonderful. Taking the time to praise God for all He has done with your kids or in a journal is an awesome thing. It will make you smile.
This weekend I was in such a bind. I had a meeting that meant a lot to John that we had to go to, but both my sitters, Plan A and Plan B got messed up completely. What was I going to do? Who would I ask so last minute to watch the kids? I texted and called a bunch of people, no response, or not available was the answer. Finally I asked someone who I didn't want to bother at all, it was her birthday weekend, and guess what she responded "YES! I'd love to! It would be a great birthday present to be with Julia and Mark." Her sweetness and generosity was such a balm to my soul and frantic self. (Us Type A people get frantic when their plans are messed up.)
But God didn't stop there. We came to pick up the kids at 4pm, and the girl and her parents begged us to stay longer for dinner. They fed us, let the kids play in the pool, and made us feel at home. That was all God. He was showing His love and kindness like He is so good at doing. Why did I allow myself to get frantic and worry. Why didn't I trust God would provide a way? Why do I always get worked up?
This incident taught me to be thankful for the people, young and old, that God has put in my life to make my life sweet. I'm thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ.
This week I really want to be on the look out for ways I can rejoice over God's goodness more, pray more, be thankful, and not complain.