“We cannot be grateful without being thoughtful. We cannot shift our mental gears into neutral and maintain a grateful lifestyle. This is why gratitude requires contemplation and reflection.” Robert Emmons: Author, Scientist Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier
My focus determines who I am. Today I choose to focus on being grateful for what I have instead of being accusatory about what I’ve experienced and/or what I don’t have.
Today I’ll focus on what I can count on . . .
- My basic needs of food, water, safety and shelter will be met.
- My Father God will listen to my every prayer and thought.
- My father God has a plan for me today. I don’t have to be over-whelmed or stressed out.
- Nice weather.
- My circle of supportive family and friends is a phone call or tweet away.
- The Bible really does have a message for me today.
- My car is in working order.
- My colleagues are godly, inquisitive, loving, fun people. They even like me and encourage me.
- My to-do list. I can use it as a guide and NOT as a bludgeon.
- Snuggling with Chip and visiting with my daughter.
What can you count on today? Can you name 10 things?
“Gratitude creates happiness because it makes us feel full, complete. Gratitude is the realization that we have everything we need, at least in this moment.” M.J. Ryan
Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Everyday of Your Life
Place to live
Time for a Sunday nap
Internet access – especially Google
Plans that include “friend” time
Breyer’s natural vanilla ice cream
Something to look forward to (graduation & trip to Jordan)
I do have all I need in the moment . . .
What would you put on your top 20 list? What makes you feel complete?
Today would’ve been 27 years married.
Instead it is 7 years torn apart.
But God is in it and God is good.
And he no longer claims my heart.
To mend a shattered heart is impossible.
To unlove someone is a difficult task.
But God is in it and God is good.
And it’s in the Lord’s miracles I bask.
I don’t deserve His miracles.
Quite frankly neither do you.
But God is in it and God is good.
His power & love will get us through.
Thank you, Lord, for this miracle of healing. I look forward to this next chapter where I can live with my heart fully experiencing life, hope and joy.
The theology one has about God makes all the difference in how one handles the pain of hard times. It is the person with faith, the person who sees God rightly, that can say in the most painful of times, “God is in it and God is good.”
I recently heard John Stumbo’s story from this video. He is the pastor of Salem Alliance Church in Salem, Oregon. At the beginning of the week of October 17, 2008, John thought he had the flu. By the end of the week that was far from the truth. Many months and 100 tests later, the doctors still don’t know why John’s body weakened to the point of death (several times). One of the medications produced delusions some fun, but many dark and eerie.
Overview of John’s Reactions to Pain (Illness)
- John described having a deep peace despite his desperate illness.
- The hope John had in seeing Jesus upon his death helped John get through the dark, delusional times.
- This deep sense of hope helped keep John sane.
- The prayers and encouragement (verbal as in calls and cards, practical as in money and meals) aided John in his journey during the dark times and now in his journey back to health.
- These events have been good for his spiritual journey, marriage and congregation. God has already begun to use it.
- After 100 tests the doctors still don’t know what was/is wrong with John. But God is still in it and God is good.
Quotes I especially liked
- I had my hand on death’s doorknob ready to push the door open but I had about 3000 of you pulling back on me not letting me in. I didn’t have a chance to get into heaven with all you people praying for me.
- I’m running a marathon I didn’t plan on running.
- I don’t really like the journey I’m on…but God is in it and God is good.
- Some of you don’t like the journey you’re on either right now. You’re in a tough spot . . . Economically hard times . . . Financially bad news . . . Relationally tough situations . . . Physically struggling. Please know according to Psalm 139, He is the God of the light and the darkness.
- God is in it and God is good.
When I’m going through a painful time in life, I listen more readily to people who have been through their own painful times. John has been through such a painful time. Yet he still clung, and clings, to the truth that God is in it and God is good. I love this example of perseverance and faith, this illustration of a man’s deep love and trust in God.
Many times life doesn’t make sense and in fact its not always a likable journey. But it is also a fact that we, Christians, don’t travel alone. God is with us. And often, often we are surrounded by a faithful group of people who cheer us on with their prayers and encouragement.
Let’s Talk About It. Where are you in this journey?
- Needing prayers and encouragement? Who will you contact for this? Will you do so today?
- Able to offer prayers and encouragement? Who has God laid on your heart to help? Will you do one thing today?
- Do you believe that God is in your painful journey and that God is good? Why or why not.
- Listen to the video. What are your reactions? Favorite quotes?
We just spent a lovely weekend right by Lake Tahoe. The weekend’s topic was an overview of Boundaries and presented in a low-key, sensitive manner. One attendee said she enjoyed how the topic was shared without guilt. Me too.
I also liked the word picture that boundaries, like fences, should have a gate.
Boundaries are supposed to be able to “breathe,” to be like fences with a gate that can let the good in and the bad out. Individuals with walls for boundaries can let in neither bad nor good. No one touches them.
God designed our personal boundaries to have gates. We should have the freedom to enjoy safe relationships and to avoid destructive ones.” (Boundaries by Dr. Cloud & Dr. Townsend, pp 52-53)
At the end of a retreat, class, or seminar, I like to evaluate the experience. This helps me to see what I learned and how to incorporate the learning into my life.
Below are some questions to ponder after your next retreat.
- What were your expectations and hopes regarding the following: The topic . . . Yourself . . . The ladies . . . God?
- Were your expectations and hopes met in each of the four areas? Why or why not? How?
- What one or two ideas made a great impact on you this weekend?
- What will you do with this information?
- Who will you share it with?
Your Turn – – – How did you answer the questions? What questions would you add?
- Copen, Lisa J. Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend. San Diego:Rest Ministries Inc, 2008.
- Copen, Lisa J. So You Want to Start a Chronic Illness-Pain Ministry. San Diego:Rest Ministries Inc, 2002.
- Harvey, Greg. Grieving for Dummies. Hoboken: Wiley Publishing, 2007.
- Kassan, Stuart S. and Charles Vierck, Jr and Elizabeth Vierck. Chronic Pain for Dummies. Hoboken: Wiley Publishing, 2008.
- Koestler , Angela J. and Ann Myers. Understanding Chronic Pain. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2002.
- Thomas, Richard. Alternative Answers to Pain.Pleasanton: Reader’s Digest Association, 1999.
- Wells, Susan Milstrey. A Delicate Balance: Living Successfully with Chronic Illness. Cambridge: Da Capo Press, 2000.
- PainFoundation.org, The American Pain Foundation: Library has information on a variety of topics related to pain: qualifying for disability from Social Security, diseases that cause chronic pain, pain relief studies, therapies
- Pain.com, Danemiller Foundation: Information for patients and a forum where pain medicine experts answer questions
- MayoClinic.Com, The Mayo Clinic: Diseases and conditions are listed alphabetically – find updates in research and background information.
- MedlinePlus.gov, Medline Plus: Access to summaries of many medical journal articles, extensive information about drugs, interactive patient tutorials, illustrated medical encyclopedia, and latest health news
- aaPainManage.org, American Academy of Pain Management: Database of 6,000 physicians and accredited pain centers
- AmPainSoc.org, The American Pain Society: Database of pain treatment centers identified by location, services, classification and setting (home or hospital-based)
What books or websites have you found helpful?
Read the rest of this entry
The Bible, God’s revealed Word, doesn’t give just one answer for the question of why there is suffering (pain). It gives many answers. The list of 25 Reasons for Suffering (below) infers that one, none, or a combination of reasons could explain the “why” question. But there is no specific way to determine which answer (if any) belongs to which questioner.
Go here for the rest of the article on How Theology Impacts a Woman in Pain.
I find this list to be encouraging as it shows me that pain (suffering) does have a purpose. Today I’m drawn to #4, #5, #10, #18 and #25. Going through these reasons with their corresponding Scripture would make a good Bible study.
Which of these reasons are especially helpful or encouraging to you today?
25 Reasons Why Christians Suffer by H.L. Willmington. Willmington’s Book of Bible Lists, (1987).
||To produce the fruit of patience
||Rom. 5:3; James 1:3–4;Heb. 10:36
||To produce the fruit of joy
||Ps. 30:5; 126:5–6
||To produce the fruit of maturity
||Eccles. 7:3; 1 Pet. 5:10
||To produce the fruit of righteousness
||To silence the devil
||Job 1:9, 10, 20–22
||To teach us
||Ps. 119:67, 71
||To purify our lives
||Job 23:10; Ps. 66:10–12; Isa.1:25; 48:10; Prov. 17:3; 1 Pet. 1:7
||To make us like Christ
||Heb. 12:9, 10; 1 Pet. 4:12–13; Phil. 3:10; 2 Cor. 4:7–10
||To glorify God
||Ps. 50:15; John 9:1–3; 11:1–4;21:18–19; Phil. 1:19–20
||To prevent us from sinning
||2 Cor. 12:7, 9–10
||To make us confess when we do sin
||Judg. 10:6–7, 15–16; Ps. 32:3–5; Hos. 5:15; 6:1; 2 Chron. 15:3–4
||To chasten us for our sin
||1 Pet. 4:17
||To prove our sonship
||To reveal ourselves to ourselves
||Job 42:6; Luke 15:18
||To help our prayer life
||To become an example to others
||2 Cor. 6:4–5; 1 Thess. 1:6–7
||To qualify us as counselors
||Rom. 12:15; Gal. 6:2;2 Cor. 1:3–5
||To further the gospel witness
||Acts 8:1–5; 16:25–34;Phil. 1:12–13; 2 Tim. 4:6–8, 16–17
||To make us more than conquerors
||2 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:35, 37
||To give us insight into God’s nature
||Job 42:5; Rom. 8:14–15, 18
||To drive us closer to God
||1 Pet. 4:14; 2 Cor. 12:10
||To prepare us for a greater ministry
||1 Kings 17–18; John 12:24
||To provide for us a reward
||Matt. 5:10–12; 19:27–29;Rom. 8:16–17; 2 Cor. 4:17
||To prepare us for the kingdom
||2 Thess. 1:5; 2 Tim. 2:12
||To show God’s sovereignty
||Rom. 8:28; 1 Cor. 10:13;Ps. 66:10–12; Gen. 45:5–8; 50:20