This week our post is centered around a heart of gratitude. In them, I sensed our communities’ need for joy. Happiness. Hope.
The world is full of turmoil, tragedy, and pain right now. That turmoil inundates our senses because there is little reprieve. Television, radio, and every social media platform give report throughout every second of the day.
Do you agree with me when I say I think it may just be more than our emotions and sensory systems were naturally designed to handle?
But it is our reality.
We can hide, but then be misinformed or unaware and uneducated about the condition of our world and the realities of our people’s greatest needs. Although I believe shutting out the noise and unplugging for chunks of time is necessary and healthy, I don’t believe tuning it all out and hiding is the answer.
So, how do we adapt?
Our spiritual strength is most definitely the key, but what do we need to do to create that space within our lives for stillness? For reflection? How do we create within ourselves that space for God to fill with hope?
I’m sure there are several tips and strategies for creating that space, but I believe a critical one is the focusing of our minds on that which is good in our lives. Even when it’s tough. Even when, at first glance, good doesn’t appear plentiful.
Gratitude is the key to opening our hearts to happiness, letting it trickle in and overpower the surrounding grief.Gratitude is key to opening our hearts to happiness,letting it trickle in and overpower grief #gratitude #MomentsofHope Click To Tweet
Gratitude allows us to acknowledge tragedy and work toward solutions while remaining emotionally healthy and intact.
Because what good can we accomplish as depleted, overwhelmed, and exhausted followers of Christ?
The Happiness Dare
I’ve had the recent opportunity to join Jennifer Dukes Lee on the launching of her book The Happiness Dare. Little did Jennifer know a couple of years ago as the ideas for this book first birthed, that our world would be in its current situation. But I think God knew. He knew His people would need happiness.
We need to see the tragedy and work towards solutions, but we need to hold onto our joy as we do it. This book has been a game-changer for me.
It’s tuning me into how happiness and holiness do go hand in hand.
It’s helping me to release the guilt I experience about feeling joy when so much is crumbling around me.
And it’s making me more intentional about creating experiences that give my step more bounce and my heart more hope.
Her book releases August 2nd, but you can pre-order it right now and get some fun freebies! In the next couple of weeks you will see me posting some more personal reflections from the book because, like I said, it is a game changer. And it got the thinker in me going! (Take this quiz and you will know what I mean by that!)
Let’s Share Gratitude
In the meantime, can we start a great big gratitude list in the comments below? What bright spots did we see this week in what may have been a lot of darkness? They are there. I promise. Let’s just look real hard, k?
Before I close, I’ve just got to share this bit of great big gratitude I have from this week!
My Own Story of Gratitude
My daughter gets monthly immunoglobulin infusions (IVIG) to combat her autoimmune disease. It’s two solid days each month of her little arm being hooked up to an IV as these healthy antibodies pump into her body in hopes that eventually she begins making her own.
Over the last 14 months of the infusions, we’ve had good sessions and bad. Sometimes we see the improvements and sometimes we don’t. Last month we saw great improvement and this week, I am happy to report we saw them again! Not only did we see improvement, but our little warrior took the needles like a champ, too! But it gets even better …
She finished the IVIG Friday afternoon. That evening we headed to our Church to serve in a partnered event with Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) held at each of our 5 campuses. I was hesitant about a 9:30 pm serving time and thought it could be disastrous for our daughter, but do you know, that our sweet daughter served alongside me the entire time? For almost 2 hours she poured cup after cup of rice into bags to create meals for children around the world.
At one point I was getting frustrated with her because she kept looking away and forgetting her turn in the assembly line. I scolded her a little and asked her why she kept turning around. Do you know her answer?
“Mom. I looking at the kids. I see Bulgaria. Kids hungry like me. Like me before in the orphanage.”
Friends, she got it!
She got that the hungry little ones whose pictures we were seeing on the screen were the ones we were doing this for. And even more? She realized that at some point she had been one of them. But she wasn’t anymore.
I didn’t know how much our daughter would ever understand. I didn’t know if she would ever comprehend the miracles God has worked in her life.
But she did.
And that is something for which I am very grateful!
Great Hope from Friends
I read a post this week from a friend and fellow blogger, Linda at Spring Sight, who lives with chronic illness. Her message of gratitude was clear and filled with hope. She is my hero because even though it’s exhausting and overwhelming, she chooses happiness all the time. She intentionally works to stay healthy and keep her joy alive.
The way she does it is by being grateful. Her heart of gratitude is evident as she shares hope through her ministry geared toward those struggling with chronic illness. But that hope is definitely not limited to only those with chronic illness. It is a hope for all who find themselves in the tough places of life.
When you stop by her place, would you be sure to share some hope with her, too?
And, just so you know …
I’m so glad you’re here. ♥