As we come to the end of the year, we have so many things to be thankful for. I read a quote from author Nakeia Homer that summed up the year perfectly. “Things to be grateful for: What left, What Stayed, and What’s on the Way.” It is easy to dwell on they what could have been. I think it is human nature to want what we don’t have. The “grass is greener” mentality is a real thing!
When something leaves our lives, whether it is a job, someone, a lost earthly possession, or a lost dream, we mourn the loss. Sometimes the loss can become our entire personality. The loss can feel so suffocating that you can forget who you are. The most difficult loss I have ever experienced was the loss of motherhood. I prayed for my entire life to be a mother. I knew I wanted children and when I got married, I just knew that dream, that prayer, would be fulfilled. However, God had chosen a different path for me to walk. Finding out that I would never be a mother in the traditional sense was the hardest loss I have ever endured, and it became my entire existence for a few years. It has taken lots of prayer and encouragement from family to be thankful for this loss. I may never fully understand why I can not be a mother, but I know that God only gives the best to his children, even when the child may not understand. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 9-11
Being thankful for what stayed or what we already have, can sometimes be overshadowed by us wanting what we do not have. Learning to be content in your place in life is a skill, for a lack of better words, which takes lots of work, time, and focus. God will always provide for his children, and we are all blessed beyond measure. No matter what your station in life, someone is looking at you and dreaming of being where you are. I look at my life now and sometimes I compare it to where I was 5 years ago, and boy oh boy, the number of blessings that have been poured upon me are astounding! No matter your station in life, being thankful for what you have and where you are in life is a spiritual discipline. “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to tread on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:17-18
The excitement of things to come can keep you going, even when times are tough. Our refrigerator right now proudly displays a calendar that features pictures of beautiful white sandy beaches with a countdown to our cruise. It has been a fun thing to look forward to. Sometimes, focusing on “What is on the Way” can keep your spirits high and keep you in a thankful state of mind. God wants what is best for us always. Sometimes our life can feel like it is hard and unbearable. Even in our suffering we are called to praise the Lord and serve him. Times of trouble help polish our faith and can help us be stronger. Placing your eyes on heaven, on the reward to come, makes the troubles of this world seem temporary and able to endure with God’s help. God will continue to guide our steps in the future and that should give us so much joy looking towards what is on the way. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Happy New Year everybody! Let’s look to the future and be grateful for “What we left, What Stayed, and What is on the Way!”
This week’s recipe is a sweet Christmas goodie. We love having this sweet treat at Christmas time, and it makes a great gift to share with your neighbors. I hope you love it as much as my family does!
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:7-10