This is Austin Lee the day before his 3rd birthday. He picked out his birthday cake and made it mostly by himself…cracking the eggs and everything! I helped a little, of course, but he really tackled it. He was way too mature for his age. I am grateful now for his maturity because it allowed us to make more memories in our short time together. Today’s Mighty Monday post is about just that ~ gratitude…no matter what.
As I said last week, after Austin died suddenly (about 10 days after this picture), Philippians 4:4-7 became my life verse and picked me up out of my despair:
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Last week our focus was on remaining steadfast in our faith that God is good (What to do When Life Gives You a Sucker Punch~Part 1). Today, we focus on the bold text above ~ Be thankful. In Everything. Sometimes, especially when I look at pictures of Austin, it’s very difficult to be thankful through the pain. On those days, I have to start making a list:
- I am thankful that I was able to get pregnant and have my children
- I am thankful that Austin was healthy, vibrant, and fun little boy
- I am thankful that Austin didn’t have to suffer through some horrible illness
- I am thankful that I have Devin, my husband in my life
- I am thankful for Ethan, who is also a healthy, vibrant, and fun little boy
- I am thankful that Devin and I are healthy and strong
You get the idea. The list really could go on forever. We have so many things to be thankful for if we refuse to let the pain rule our hearts. Believe me, some days it takes a good cry or temper tantrum first before I can turn back to gratitude. That’s ok. I let it out and then I pray ~ I say thank You, God, for a list of things first. Then, I make my requests known to God. I ask for healing, for strength, for hope to fill my heart instead of pain, etc. (Stay tuned for the rest of the story in the final part, Part 3, next week, to find out what happens next!)
3 Ideas to Help You Grab Gratitude and Push Out the Pain:
- Make a list of things you are grateful for today. Start simple. You are breathing without the aid of a machine… (not kidding!)
- If your “sucker punch” is really hurting you today, think about how it could be worse. It can always be worse. Perhaps this sounds morbid to you, but it helps me to remind myself that others have it WAY worse than I do. I add these “it could be worse” thoughts to my gratitude list.
- Listen to music. The song, “Blessed Be Your Name,” usually makes me cry, but it also brings me to a place where I choose to rejoice in the Lord always, during the good and the bad times in my life. I will choose to praise the name of the Lord ~ no matter what. Click here to listen to “Blessed Be Your Name” and you can read the lyrics, too, and make it your prayer today!
Let’s talk about it:
What are you grateful for today? Let’s make a HUGE list of wonderful things the Lord has done for us!
How do you grab gratitude and push out the pain?