Food for thought on my kitchen counter:)
I called my Dad last week to see how he was doing because my Mom had told me about some serious hip and back problems he was having. It broke my heart to hear my Mom describe how much pain and discomfort he has been in lately. I thought he would be pretty discouraged but as we chatted I was so impressed with his attitude! He chuckled about what a cripple he feels like lately and that yes he has been in a lot of pain and basically everything was hard to do, but he steered the conversation to something he had learned. He is the High Priest Group leader at our church and was preparing to teach a Sunday lesson. The subject was this talk "Grateful in Any Circumstance". He said as he studied it he realized the power and need for him to thankful. He told me that this trial of his health right now made him so grateful that for the majority of his life he had been "strong as an ox" and was able to work long and hard without discomfort. He told me that he started expressing this gratitude in his prayers...thanking God for all those years of great strength and health.
My Dad and Coleman a couple years back:)
I was really touched by his desire to be grateful! When I got off the phone I read the talk myself and have been trying to follow his example to be thankful in EVERY circumstance in my life, especially the difficult ones. It reminded me of a part in one of my all time favorite books 'The Hiding Place' by Corrie Ten Boom...(have you read this book? It is awesome!!) They are in a concentration camp and her sister Betsy thanks Heavenly Father for the fleas which constantly torment them. Corrie thinks this is just absurd! She hates the fleas and can't think of a reason to be grateful for them. Betsy reminds her that in the Bible it says to give thanks for everything. Later they find out that they were able to keep their smuggled in Bible and read it to the ladies in their little area because the fleas were so bad that the guards wouldn't come near them. So even though Corrie couldn't see it at the time--she was grateful for those awful fleas.
Some of my favorite parts of the talk my Dad had read (link above)--the whole talk is great!!
"We sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is. How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?
Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges.
This is not a gratitude of the lips but of the soul. It is a gratitude that heals the heart and expands the mind."
I really do believe that everything in life--every experience... even every heartache can somehow be for our blessing and benefit when we put our trust in God and be grateful. I know that I always feel so much happier when I am thankful.
"How blessed we are if we recognize God’s handiwork in the marvelous tapestry of life. Gratitude to our Father in Heaven broadens our perception and clears our vision. It inspires humility and fosters empathy toward our fellowmen and all of God’s creation. Gratitude is a catalyst to all Christlike attributes! A thankful heart is the parent of all virtues."
So a grateful heart really is the beginning of GREATNESS!