I have come to believe that hidden in the center of every difficulty is a precious gift from God. The beginning of this year has offered many difficulties already.

Normally, I see struggle and turn into a full on brat. I cry or throw tantrums or dwell. To my surprise, I have gotten up each morning with a grateful heart. I have allowed myself to feel the uncomfortable, but I have not held on to it. I have found silver linings without intention.

At the beginning of some of the turmoil my family is currently facing I realized that patience had little to do with my ability to wait. The timing was out of my hands and the waiting was inevitable. What I do while I wait, HOW I wait is where my patience is measured.

My parents had a really unruly child. I would be up to no good or gone for an extended period of time. Most of the time they did not know where I was or if I was even alive. I would come home to my bedroom and it would be just as I left it. Nothing out of place. When I changed my ways I reflected on that a lot. It was almost like how when someone dies their family ensures everything is left as it was. Almost like their ghost will come back and be grateful their car keys were in the same spot so they could drive to the store.

I cannot imagine how they waited. What I do know was I was always greeted with love when I returned. Sometimes the love was accompanied by tough talks or new boundaries, but the love was always there (and I was unlovable). My things were all the same, but time had not frozen. They faced each day in a world of worry and chose to keep moving. They stayed present and hopeful.

I want to wait with love like that. I often lose so much present by having one foot in the past and one in the future. I’m either worrying about yesterday’s accomplishments or what may happen tomorrow and the beautiful moments of today are lost.

With children in our home, losing those moments, even one, is absolutely heartbreaking. If I’m honest, I have allowed my worry to steal the full joy of many moments. So, I am waiting gratefully and with the full expectation of God’s grace and mercy. Not because I deserve it, but because I have a history that shows me how highly favored I am by my Higher Power. He has got this. If I get myself out of the way, I can enjoy the peace of knowing that it is not mine to manage or repair.

I cannot even convey the amount of injustice and pain my family has endured. By my standards I should be eaten up by resentment and anger. By God’s grace I am hopeful and present.

My new year’s resolution was to be more present and less worldly. When I first made the decision to be less worldly this year I was thinking simply in terms of material things. I see how much stuff we all have and it sincerely makes me sick. I feel blessed to have it, but sick to see how driven we are by it.

Memories from an experience are replaced by souvenirs. Things we bought trump doing something together. Little did I know that worldly meant a lot more than things. I have lived in such a worldly mentality.

I have committed feelings to forever outcomes. I have approached obstacles with that gnawing notion of impending doom. I have been jealous or insecure. I have been egotistical and rude. There is so much world and so much self in me I could vomit.

There are so many spiritual treasures that can replace these little uglies. I just don’t naturally grab for those first. I don’t know if anyone can relate or if this makes any sense. I just don’t want to waste any more of my time. I have had a shift in my heart.

I don’t want to manage things that are not mine. That is His job. I do not want to sit in this constant state of what is next. I have so many days when I get home and think, “What else do I HAVE to do?”

I say it all the time, “I GET to do these things.” But how often do I really allow myself to really feel that gratitude? I want my mind to be transformed and every joy to be renewed in my heart.

Dishes mean my family ate that day. The power bill tells me we had heat. My early mornings mean I am employable. Wrestling kids out of bed each day means I care about their futures. Arguing with my spouse means we are getting closer to a solution.

It’s all in how I choose to look at it. Do I think I will do this perfectly every day? Nope. Debbie Downer will be around some. But she won’t stay.

Gratitude keeps me objective and trust keeps me present.

This evening I actually chuckled that the laundry was just as I left it.


Romans 12:2

Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

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