"Sowing seeds of gratitude produces joy" said a KLOVE DJ as I walked by.
I sowed a seed several months ago. A stick thin reed with light green leaves poked out from the dirt several weeks ago, but I couldn't tell if it was a weed or not. Its identity was revealed when it bloomed into a mini-sunflower. A bright yellow orb of happy smiled at me.
Joy can be like that... you keep faithfully sowing little seeds of gratitude instead of discontent, and then one day, you may be surprised at the joy that bubbles up and out of you.
I have joy on the brain as the recent Five-Minute-Friday prompt was "JOY" in honor of Sara (a Christ-loving-blogger). Sara chose Joy in Jesus despite suffering from a terminal disease that kept her housebound. Although I never met her in person, her example and writing deeply touched me. Please pray for Sara and her family/friends as she is in hospice. Read her final words here.
If you read Sara's blog, it becomes clear that she chose gratitude - even when it was hard. She honored God by offering a sacrifice of thanksgiving (Psalm 50:23). By doing so, she inspired all who knew her -online and offline.
Ann Voskamp wrote a beautiful post about Sara titled "when longing to choose joy."
To honor Sara and God, I thanked God for some hard situations today - past and present - because He will ultimately use it for good (Romans 8:28, 29). I had to consciously not condemn myself for not being as thankful as Sara when her suffering seems so monumental in comparison.
I had to remind myself that God doesn't compare His children. He only asks me to be thankful and He doesn't condemn me (Romans 8:1) for not being as mature as Sara. I am grateful for His patience and mercy with me.
I chose to thank God (again) as an act of leaning into His sovereign and loving arms. By giving thanks, I acknowledge that He is good and loving although I don't understand why certain events happened.
God called David a man after His own heart and yet David lamented and complained to God in the psalms, so being thankful doesn't exclude being honest with God about what we are experiencing emotionally.
It is key to share with God so one doesn't stew in painful emotions. I learned the hard way that pain doesn't go away on its own; it needs to be released otherwise it will seep out somewhere else. Trust me, sharing with God and/or a good friend always beats leaking.
When I share honestly with God, it releases me to create room in my heart for geniune gratitude.
I talked to a friend yesterday and she shared that her relationship with God "shifted after" she finally broke down crying and told God how angry she was about specific painful situations. She exuded God's presence as we spoke.
When we give thanks, we recognize that He has already given us a grace-gift indescribable when Christ died for our sins making it possible for God to adopt us as His beloved children.
When we give thanks, even when life is hard, we declare with Sara, that He is trustworthy and that He will never leave us.
Will you join me today in sowing seeds of gratitude? What are you thankful for?
Photo Credit: Tristan_Natalie
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