I could easily get overwhelmed by all of this, but then the Holy Spirit gently reminds me that I am to "count it all joy." I just started reading Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst, and she says in one of the early chapters that even though things happen that are out of our control, we can always control how we respond to those things. I can choose to be bitter and angry, or I can choose to be grateful and joyful. Yes, Charlotte hurt her ear, but it could have been so much worse. She was such a trooper through the whole thing, and her ear is healing nicely. Yes, I have a chronic condition, but it could be so much worse. Even though I have struggled with feeling frustration over the fact that the new medication I am taking is not working yet, I still have made so much improvement from where I was in late October/early November. I am grateful that I live in an age where there are medications available, for this would be a terrible condition to have without medication! Yes, our treadmill and our dishwasher are broken, and while I am not thrilled about spending money to fix and/or replace those items, I am grateful that we have the money to take care of those costs. I am grateful for the sweet little home we have and for the many other modern conveniences that I so often take for granted.
Most of all, I am grateful for the way the Lord continues to mold and refine me. Just when I think I have things figured out, He shows me just how much I need Him still. He showed me how I am guilty of feelings of self-entitlement when I reacted with indignation and anger after our dishwasher stopped working. I am not proud of it, but one of the thoughts I had was, "Can we not get a break, God?" Such anger over a dishwasher, which to some is a tremendous luxury! But as my Sunday School teacher said this past Sunday, we shouldn't wonder why bad things happen to us but instead should wonder why MORE bad things don't happen to us. God does not owe us anything, but He lavishes us with His love and provision anyway. EVERYTHING we have been given is a testament of His grace and His abounding love. He does not owe me a carefree existence, nor does He exist to make me happy. Instead, He wants me to be holy, to be like Him. If it is one thing these past few months have shown me, it is that there will never be a day when I do not need Him, and I couldn't be happier about that fact!
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
I cried to him with my mouth,
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!