When we pulled out of the driveway, heading toward seminary, part of me wondered if we were crazy. But we had prayed about this change for months and invited our family, friends, and church leaders into the discernment process. We felt sure of our trajectory, sure of where we were headed. The thing we were most unsure about? Money. My husband quit his job to become a seminary student; I quit mine to move. We knew we wouldn’t have much money coming in for a while. But what we did have in front of us was a choice. Would we worry? Or would we choose thankfulness?
We had experienced lean times before and I had spent years worrying about paying the bills. This time, however, I made the intentional decision to say no to worry and yes to peace. To say no to fear and yes to thankfulness. It wasn’t easy. I tend to be fearful rather than fearless. But I had walked the path of fear and worry before, and I didn’t want to choose that path again. So I chose to be thankful for what we already had — our health, extra time together as a family, food on the table, the opportunity to learn to trust God afresh. And I found that choosing gratitude sustained my spirit over months of uncertainty. Focusing on God’s provision for us, even in the smallest things, turned my mind to thankfulness and praise.
When I received a $50 check in the mail for some freelance work I had done several months prior, I found myself in awe of God’s kindness — and timing. Choosing thankfulness has changed me. It’s made me appreciate the ways, both big and small, that the Lord has cared for our family. And it also led me to peace in Christ’s provision — one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received.
Let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body,
rule your hearts. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15 (CSB)
This message was written by Ann Swindell and appears in A Moment to Breathe, a 365-day devotional from the (in)courage community.
Focusing on God’s provision for us, even in the smallest things, turned my mind to thankfulness and praise. - @annswindell: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
So thankful for a God who gives us “God winks” at the very moments when we need them. Feeling rather low, I got a very touching and uplifting comment directed toward me on my blog. After another surgery and bills floating in, I got a check for some freelance work I had done months ago. Sometimes, even a parking spot opening up close to the store when it’s pouring rain can be a wink from God. I am always having to rechannel my thoughts from worry and dismay to thankfulness and gratitude which ultimately usher in peace.
Lynn Koukal says
Yes, as in everything there needs to be a balance. The question I have often asked myself is why? Why am I needing this or that. I now know we go in and out of seasons of learning, maturing, changing.
Let’s not just target the world of commerce and selling as a business, but the Christian and religious arena pushing everything to make you more “Godlike” from devotions, journals, reminder plaques with scripture, and self help books and numerous different bibles.
Its business! Just like marketing for Christmas, so overdone, kids think it’s about “them.” God loves to give good gifts to his children for sure, grace, peace, joy, and the smallest blessing is rich.
We really need to not only guard or heart and mind and impulse as being human, to Ask Him in all moments, when we do, we find the relationship with him more personal as it should be, And strangely enough, with more of Him, the world grows strangely dim.
Beth Williams says
It is so easy to get discouraged in this Earthly life. Our journey is full of troubles & trials. You get a bad medical report, lose a job, family member has to be hospitalized, etc. Turn on the news & you hear all kinds of bad stuff going on. Worry is the natural instinct when any of that happens. It takes discipline to change our mindset from worry to thankfulness. My solution when I get down it to make a thankful list. Putting on it everything from big stuff like God, Home in Heaven, Sins forgiven, to small stuff such as changing seasons, pens, paper, etc & everything in between. My list has gotten as big as 200+ items. We are so blessed in this country. Many of us take that for granted. God promises to take care of our every NEED!! We just need to trust Him for the provisions. God loves to surprise His people with “winks”. A simple text message asking how you are or saying hello, nice card in mail, freshly made meal. Ways we can help God give winks to others. God winked at my hubby yesterday. He was at work & found out they get extra pay for working holidays. His next one is Christmas. Turn those worry frowns upside down in to smiles & be thankful for what we have & this great journey we are on with God!!
Thank-you for this post,
After a challenging week being able to share the orange & pink sky with my son this morning was such a touching moment, that I am really thankful to God for.
Have a blessed day all,
Nancy Ruegg says
Dear Ann, Praise God for his provision that also prompted growth in faith and peace during a challenging season of your life. Several decades ago my husband and I also set off for seminary with little in the way of earthly goods. Our seminary duplex housing did not include a refrigerator; we did not own one. But I received a state income tax return from two years previously, and the amount covered the cost of the appliance with a little to spare! Hallelujah! P.S. Thank you for the reminder that gratitude sustains the spirit. An all-important but easy-to-forget truth!
Irene Bandeen says
Yes, worry can overtake us, if we’re not careful. Right now my daughter is having a rocky recovery from a recent surgery. She lives several hundred miles away. My mom instincts tell me to drop everything and go there. But I spent a week there earlier. Maybe I need to trust and pray. Right here.