there are times when i get discouraged and overwhelmed by life, just like every single person reading this blog. there are a handful of things that i like to do to help get me out of my funk and back into a right view of life - two of which are reading the Bible and cultivating a thankful heart.
i have mentioned in the past that i like to read the sermon on the mount (matthew 5-7) when i am struggling particularly with my view of money. i have written about examples of this here, here, and here. there is so much in that portion of the Bible that is Jesus' first public sermon that strengthens and encourages my heart. a regular practice of mine is to read it every week right before i work on our home finances (usually monday mornings). it does something to get my heart correctly aligned with God's perspective of what is important as well as a correct view of God as my Provider when i may be tempted to strive to make things work for myself.
another tool i use to get my head screwed on straight is telling God all the things i am thankful for that He has done for me. sometimes this consists of a list in my journal. sometimes i will sing it at the piano. other times i will just force myself to put it on my lips out loud while driving or in the shower or in a conversation to someone. you can tell how discouraged i start out by how general my things i am thankful for start out as and how i start growing in encouragement as i get more and more specific into fine details of provision or blessings i can list off.
here is a list of the things that come to mind right now as i think about what i have to be thankful for as i am wrapping up a very long and tiring day.
my thankful list
1. i have 4 beautiful, healthy, loving children that God has given me. i always dreamed of being a mommy and having a big family, and i have a big family!
2. i have a great husband. he really is a great husband. we have been married 8 years and he is so helpful and loving he even cleaned up a terrible mess of diarrhea that our 2 year old made at my grandma's for me because he knows how nauseated i get with that kind of stuff. it has almost been 10 years since we first met, and i can honestly say he is my very best friend i have ever had.
3. God provides for us over and over again in so many different ways. there have been countless times that we "shouldn't" have made it financially, and yet He comes through for us. did i mention that we bought an amazing van in cash???? as full-time intercessory missionaries living on support?? it amazes me every time i drive it that it is really ours.
4. friends. we had great friends come over to visit today with their kids and they treated us to dinner and she, mary, made me the cutest purse and coffee sleeve after already giving me the coolest baby carrier (the one pictured in my previous post), and did i mention she has 3 kids 4 and under and one due in 2 short weeks? we have the coolest, most thoughtful friends and God has surrounded us with many people just like this family who came to see us today.
5. sleep. i do not get much these days and i am thankful for any good stretch or even just good quality of any short amount i do get.
6. the community of believers we live among. we are so amazed constantly about the love that is poured out by other believers and followers of Christ. with this recent new addition to our family, people have showered us with baby clothes, diapers, money, meals, chocolate, and love. we have been so blessed to have a refrigerator full of food for several weeks that has been from the abundance of food brought to us either in the form of a meal or as plain old groceries. this is such a blessing and makes my heart warm and happy to be loved in such a practical way.
that is where i will stop for now. what are ways that you encourage yourself when you are down? what are things that come to mind that you are thankful for? do you have a favorite passage of scripture you turn to when you are down? i would love for you to share in the comment section and read comments from other readers. you encourage me with your own stories and insights.