Lately I have been reading Ann Voskamp's book, called One Thousand Gifts. The heart of the story is her gratitude journal, in which she writes 1,000 things she is thankful for everyday. Beginning that journal leads to an incredible adventure of learning to be thankful in the hard times, realizing the power of Eucharisteo, and seeing things through God's perspective.
This book has captivated me, to be honest. I have been challenged to start my own gratitude journal, and though I'm not writing a thousand things everyday, I am learning the habit of gratitude. And throughout the learning, I have had to give thanks for some hard things. I've had some days where I've been angry at people, I've had some moments of having to give thanks despite how sick I was feeling, and I've had to learn that giving thanks will always change my perspective.
The situations that have been breaking me, the times when I've been impatient and frustrated with God and people - they have started to look completely different the minute I give thanks. And I think it's all just a matter of perspective. This life is a matter of perspective. We can choose to grow bitter, or get better. We can choose to look at the negatives and the hard times, and feel sorry for ourselves. Or, we can choose to look for the positives and thank God that He has a plan bigger than we can see.
That's what I'm trying to do. I'm practicing the habit of gratitude, so that when I'm bed ridden with endometriosis pain, I can thank God I'm still alive, and there are such things as pain killers. When I'm tired of waiting for a job, an opportunity, and a chance to live more than I have been, I can thank Him that I'm in this season for a reason. I can thank Him that I'm still breathing, and I have a Hope-filled future. Because that is my reality: I am alive, there is Hope, and I am thankful. I have what I need for right now.
He is here. I have what I need. He will be with me through everything.
I want to finish this blog post with a story Ann shared in her book. She shares the story of her brother in law, who has lost both his young boys to the same illness. In the haze of grief, Ann said to him, 'if it were up to me, I'd write this story differently.' He then turned to her and reminded her of the story in the Old Testament about King Hezekiah and Manasseh. King Hezekiah, on his death bed, asked God for 15 more years of life. God granted it, and Manasseh was born. Manasseh led the Israelites to do greater evil than any of the nations around them already had. Whereas, if Hezekiah had of gone with God's original plan, all of that evil and destruction could have been avoided.
The point is, we can never know what would have been. God sees the bigger picture - in everything. Though we cant imagine something or someone turning out evil, maybe it would have. Maybe God does know what He's doing after all.
I'm learning... It's all just a matter of perspective.