A couple weeks ago, I woke up with a cold turned into a sinus infection, ants invading my pantry and ruining some food, spending over an hour clearing out my pantry and trying to kill the ants, having to explain the day of expectations to my house worker, dealing with questions and needs from my day guards, Adalyn seemingly asking a million questions or calling my name for something… all while trying to take care of an increasing to-do list that seemed to continually get pushed to the side.
I was grumpy, annoyed, tired and left with NO PATIENCE. I was venting to Leland via text and he said “Sorry babe. But remember to find the thankful moments even when you’re annoyed. 😀” He sent that text because we are going through a study with our small group based on the book 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.
At that moment, I went to the bedroom and wrote down a few things I was thankful for in my Thankfulness Journal: “Listening to Adalyn talk to Evelyn and hearing Evelyn laugh with her…Comfy yoga pants and tank tops…God’s grace.”
On a day where several things seemed to annoy me, I had to be reminded to remember what I’m thankful for and what brings me joy. The study has helped remind me to think of the many blessings in my life: the small things, the big things, the silly things, the fun things, even the hard things.
And later that day, I was reading the last chapter of Spiritual Survival Handbook for Cross-Cultural Workers by Dr Robert Miller; the following words jumped off the page, and once again, I was reminded of joy.
“Not many of us have had to endure much hardship (*previous examples of imprisonment, martyrdom, burned at the stake were listed before this statement*), yet many believers live defeated and joyless lives. Certainly the pressure is real. The ministry, at times, can be overwhelming but God doesn’t want his ambassadors walking around like they are barely in the ranks of living. He wants to shock the world by shining His joy through our broken lives… Gods intention is that, when our neighbors look at us, they will see a deeper, more permanent joy springing up in our lives… We must learn the secret that has been the battle cry of millions of believers throughout history: ‘The joy of the Lord is my strength.’ When circumstances press in on you, remember who lives inside you and rejoice. When you are weary because of the burden on your shoulders, remember who lives inside of you and rejoice. When you are placed in a fiery furnace and, in the natural, there doesn’t seem to be a way of escape, remember who walks with you and rejoice. Gods joy has miracle working power. Grab onto it and don’t let it go. In His strength we can do amazing things.”
All these reminders were on the same day conveniently when I was in a bad mood with a bad attitude. I was reminded of thankfulness and joy. And that my joy (or lack of it) is seen by those around me. And I was challenged… Do I want to be a person known to have joy even when things are hard or someone who sucks the joy out of a room.