Our book club just finished "1000 Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.
The whole premise of this book is to live fully where you're at by finding things daily to be thankful for. Yes. Giving thanks in all circumstances. Beautiful, ugly. Easy, hard. Fun, mundane. Being thankful.
At one point she talks about not realizing she needed glasses until she was in 6th grade. How she had lived her life in a blur until she got these glasses. She compared it to living without gratitude and how we can't see clearly apart from giving thanks and seeing how God sees.
"The practice of giving thanks . . . eucharisteo . . . this is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes. We don't have to change what we see. Only the way we see." (p.135)
Probably the hardest place for me to give thanks or see my circumstance with gratitude is our infertility. We are 0/17. It is so easy for me to ask "why", get angry with God, jealous over other people, etc. It is so easy to sin in my circumstance when my vision is blurry. Like Eve, I begin to think that God is holding out on me, I doubt His goodness, I doubt His sovereignty, I live in ingratitude. I am not thankful for ALL that He has given me, but look upon the one thing He has withheld, and lust.
This reminder to be thankful in all circumstances has led me to see what is, not what isn't. I don't have a child of my own. But, I have time during my week to invest in about 70-80 children. What a gift! The LORD has not blessed my womb, but he has blessed my hands and my heart by building relationships with children all over this city! I would miss that blessing if my eyes were fixed on what he hasn't given me, instead of what He has.
And as He blesses the womb of others around, I'm tempted by the enemy to become jealous or bitter. Instead I rest in knowing He is sovereign! Hello, He is creating life all around me! For whatever reason, it's not our time. I don't want to force something that is not in His plan for me, because there is obviously a reason and I trust His timing. Finding contentment in difficult circumstances is hard, but I know that His grace is sufficient for today and He fills me with His peace when I seek Him daily. The LORD hasn't change my circumstance, but He has changed my heart and my perspective.
So though it is not our time, I walk in faith knowing that there is a reason for that. (Oh LORD help me to be a quick learner!) And I certainly don't want to pray against what He is trying to teaching to me or pray away from His will for my life.
So I put on my gratitude glasses to change the way I see and thank Him for all that He has given to me!
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)