Journal Entry ~ 09/29/17

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! 
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble 
3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.  - Psalm 107:1-3

An attitude of gratitude can change our lives, but we have to choose it. The world today is filled with people who complain and grumble about everything - from people to the situation in our lives. All you need to do to see it is turn on the news or scroll through Facebook for a few minutes, and you will be in inundated with a nauseating volume of people complaining about everything from the President to the service in a restaurant. People love to complain - they’ll even complain about the complaining.  The sad truth is that it seems the level of complaining increases every year as people feel more and more free to say exactly what’s on their mind. I’m just as guilty as the next person of this - when I don’t like what’s going on in my life, I complain. I want to be a positive person, but far too often I get caught in the trap of whining about all that’s wrong with people or with my life. People complain to find a common bond with one another, to rally people behind them, to turn people against one another. People complain to get attention, to hold up their problems for other people to admire and feel sorry for them, to find support. It doesn’t take any effort to find a reason to complain in this broken world. 

We can be consumed by what we are ungrateful for if we’re not careful.  An attitude of ungratefulness will lead us down the dark road of despair because it focuses our attention on all that is wrong with our lives and the world. We can’t see all the good in our lives when we’re focused on all that is wrong. In this psalm, we are called to an attitude of gratitude. We are called to rise above all the negativity of this world and focus on the life and the Hope that we have been given in Jesus Christ. God loves us so deeply that He chose to come down to this ugly world full of complainers and give His life so that we may know His love for us, and we may know it forever. That’s simply amazing to me. And despite the fact that we continue to grumble and complain, He is at work in this world constantly giving us little reasons and big reasons to be thankful. Every single morning, He pours new mercies into our lives and gives us a reason to be thankful. Stop focusing on the brokenness of the world, and start looking for what He’s doing in your life. 

I had to tell one of my students I was taking an extended leave yesterday - he broke my heart. This poor child has experienced so much loss already in his young life, he has every reason to complain. But he has the most tender heart.  He was placed in my room because he and I had developed a special bond over the years, and my heart just wanted to care for him. In fact, he and I have talked nearly every school day for the last 4 years about him being placed in my room, and we were both so excited when it finally happened. As I told him yesterday that I would be leaving for a few months, his tears began to fall, and my heart just broke. He hugged me for the longest time as I reassured him I would be back.  All I could think about was this child has every reason to grow up bitter and angry at the world - he was handed a pretty raw deal. If anyone has a right to complain, it would be him. I am so thankful that God has allowed me to be part of this boy’s narrative, that I may be able to play some small role in his life, helping him to see there is Hope in this world. I want him to grow up seeing we are so blessed despite the brokenness we see around us because we have been given life, and in that life, we have Hope. 

I’m heading in to the hospital this morning to have the port implanted for my chemo treatments. It would be so easy to find a reason to complain today, and honestly, the people in my life would allow me to have that complaining attitude. Nobody is going to take away the right to complain from a woman diagnosed with breast cancer.  It’s up to me to choose my attitude. I’m working hard to focus on all that I’m grateful for this morning. I have been so overwhelmingly blessed over the past month of this diagnosis by the people in my life who are choosing to care for me. It’s changing me, and it’s changing the people who are closest to me. It’s broadening our focus to see the bigger plan in life and it’s bringing us closer. I am so incredibly thankful He has blessed me with a husband who has sacrificially cared for me despite my whining and complaining, with children who continue to encourage me and remind me how strong I am, with friends who support me in any way that I need, most especially by pointing me to the One place I can continually draw strength. Above it all, I am thankful for a God who chose to love me and die for me despite all my whining and complaining at His plan for my life. He has given me life, and in that life, there is Hope. I am so incredibly blessed. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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