January was hard y’all! That’s the only way I can put it.
This post has been particularly hard to write. I’ve had several days that were just, for lack of better words, bad. I’m sure you’ve all had moments when nothing seems to work out and you feel that anger and resentment toward whatever is causing your problems begin to build. These days are the days when I feel least Thankful. Frustration, anger, sadness, confusion all seem to be blocks to that sort of spirit. What God is showing me in this season, though, is that these times are the times in which I need to be Thankful. Like I said, I’ve been struggling to write this and that is because even though God is telling me to be Thankful in the hard times, I don’t know how to tell you how that will work. But as my pastor at Mission City Church in San Antonio has said, what I preach to you is what God is teaching me. I have learned several benefits of being Thankful in these bad days and hard times.
The first result is a complete perspective change.
It was during a time when I was struggling with my sons’, um, strong personalities (ahem) that I learned this one. We were locked in combat over whether or not to take the shuttle in the church parking lot to our car less than 500 feet away when I was bit. Yes bit. My son has never bit anyone, but apparently we were both at the peak of frustration and words had failed him. At this moment I had two choices: I could visualize his future 20/20 interview in which he blamed me for “his turn to the dark side” on the Crime network, or I could find something in this situation for which I could be thankful. One path led to tears (almost walked that path all day) and the second path led to a good learning time with my boys and much less screaming and crying. The situation still, forgive me please for putting it this way, sucked, but I was much more equipped to handle it and much more apt to turn to God with my frustrations instead of taking them out on my boys and my patient husband.
The second result is the relief from carrying heavy grudges and resentments.
When I’m going through hard times, I often feel very heavy. I am not sure how else to describe it, but I feel like I’ve been carrying a huge weight all day and I’m just exhausted. Recently, my husband has had to work a lot in Dallas and that has left the work at home to me. I know that he is working really hard and I am so proud of him and how smart he is that I could pop, but I won’t lie, it is hard to be at home alone with two boys and two dogs. I began to feel like I couldn’t carry any more, then I began to write this post and it reminded me to pick up my Thanksgiving and put down my resentments. I praised God for having this all in hand even when I did not. I didn’t completely believe the words when I began them, but God has a way of echoing the words you need and I began to hear them over and over. On the radio was a song that said that God has got this, everything I was reading in my Bible Studies reiterated that God has got it all in His hands. Finally, I felt stronger because I was not holding on to the resentments anymore. My hands were busy Thanking God for all that He had in hand. When I’m tempted to pick up the grudges and the resentments again, I have to repeat “Thank you God” and I am only able to focus on His provision.
The third result has been to really irk Satan.
I think that sounds so simple, but simple is truth in this case. I’ve had many opportunities to dwell in Genesis lately. There is so much more there than you would ever have thought going through the stories in Sunday School. In the very beginning, Satan tried to bring us down. He had plans to destroy us (God’s creation) at every turn. Adam and Eve fell, Cain killed Able, Noah got drunk, Ham made fun of his father, The Tower of Babel was built, Abram and Sarai tried to bring about the promise on their own, Isaac’s family was all drama all of the time…You see where we’re going with this. But through it all, after every story is repeated: but God had a plan. You can bet that the success of God’s plan despite the complicated and convoluted plans of Satan was irksome to Satan, to say the least. Satan is our enemy. He does not want what it best for us. So, it is a good then when you can irk your enemy. Praise God, thank Him for all that He is doing and going to do and irk the enemy. Remember Joseph’s perspective at the end of Genesis after what had to be one heck of a bad time:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
Really, it is more than irksome to Satan. It totally disarms him when we are looking to be Thankful to God for what we know He can do.
Let’s disarm this bad time and be Thankful in it. Let’s be stronger, carrying fewer cares and looking wholly to God.