One of the greatest encouragements to me has been to daily read Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling devotion book. It took me a few days of reading it to get the hang of how she wrote, but I have been hooked on this devotion book for the past several years. It helps that my dear friend, Miss Elaine, gave me a copy with her sweet handwriting in the front.
The thing about Jesus Calling is that there are several editions of the book. The one I have has a short devotion written as if Jesus Himself is speaking to you and then there are two or more scripture references. It is all based on scripture. To get the most out of the devotion book, you need to read these verses.
And if you don’t have your own copy and are going to purchase one, they have options now that offer the scripture verses included, not just references. It is much easier to use, but I love to see Miss Elaine’s handwriting every day when I open my book.
The other day, there was encouragement to remember to be thankful. This verse was listed after the short devotion:
” Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7
As I processed the devotion and the above verse, I remembered a habit I began a while ago. After I finish writing in my journal each day, I write, “Today I Thank God For…” and I list things that I am thankful for. I have thanked the Lord for the little ladies He has entrusted into my care. For my amazing husband. And now I can even thank the Lord for things I don’t understand: the health concerns, the strained relationship with a friend, the big decisions that needs to be made, etc.
I learned after Daniel died that my mind could easily become so self-centered and so self-indulged (“Whoa is me.”; “Why this?”; “Life is so hard…I am so sad.”) And all I could see is me, me, me. And I was sad, sad, sad.
And that was permission for me to forget to be thankful for anything. Because everything that I thought about was negative.
And I did not even realize it.
But praise the Lord that He helped me to see that life is not all about me even when I am in the midst of grief.
Let me stop right here and say that I believe what the Bible says that there is a time to mourn (Ecclesiastes 3:4). And that time is a different length for each person. Honestly, I believe that we mourn our losses for the rest of our lives…just to different varying degrees. There will be good days and hard days and good moments and hard moments for the rest of my life…and that is okay. It is real.
But as I started to climb out of my grief state, the Lord was so good to show me that I needed to remember to be thankful and even to thank the Lord for hardships.
So daily, I try to thank the Lord for everything that is on my mind – great things and hard things both. And it is amazing how by thanking the Lord for situations whether desirable or not, I am acknowledging that God is in control. That His plan is greater than mine. And I still trust Him.
If you ever find yourself having a hard time understanding God or relating to Him, I want to encourage you to thank Him. We will never understand Him completely, but we can trust Him completely… He is a loving God.
“When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”