Everything in life has to be evaluated with perspective.
This past weekend I attended a women's retreat. This was not your typical, high energy, fun, stuff your face, stay up until midnight playing games retreat.
This was also not, sing some songs, hear a speaker, get emotionally touched, go home type of a retreat.
This was all about experiencing God. Listening to God. At one point, they even had us bring our pillows and rest - soaking in God's love for us.
It really was a retreat - a rest. But it was emotionally draining as well. Sort of a "dutch uncle talk" with Jesus kind of draining.
Our speaker had been in a horrible car accident when she was 34. She was a mom to two young children at the time. The accident left her a quadriplegic.
When you think of all the things we moms do - especially with young children - the idea of being physically helpless is overwhelming.
She talked a little about her accident, but the words that she spoke about how we "plug" the connection we have to God's love, is what really touched me.
She described three things that hinder us from receiving God's love. I'm sure there are probably more, but these three were enough to start with!
No dancing around the issue there!
Self-pity is one that I definitely struggle with - big time. But she talked about perspective. One man that had been at the same rehab facility she was at came back to visit while she was there. He, too, had a major spinal cord injury, but with rehab, had been able to walk again and almost completely recover. When he talked with the current patients, they asked him how he was doing. I'm sure they were expecting some encouragement, some inspiration. Instead, he complained that he was unable to type as quickly as he had before the accident. Here he was talking to people that couldn't walk, couldn't use their arms and complaining about not typing quickly.
There are many things I complain about. I am a "glass half empty" person. I am the man complaining about typing too slow.
Recognizing the blessings.
Proclaiming God's goodness.
Thanking Him for the air I breathe - the children I hold - the husband I love.
Celebrating the sun - the moon - the food - the dirt - even the snow.
(waking this morning to sub zero temps makes this even more difficult!)
I'm sure many of you remember Oprah's famous gratitude journal. Five things every night before bed that I am grateful for. Silly, but so profound at the same time.
I want to be grown up thankful - not just thankful for the day, the house, my bed - like my kids pray.
I want to be child-like thankful - seeing the bugs, the rocks, the simple things we grown ups miss.
I think God's timing is perfect - no I KNOW God's timing is perfect.
Ann Voskamp has written a book, One Thousand Gifts - A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. I have followed her blog for quite a while and felt quite a connection to her life (and not just the six kids part). I guess you would say more of an awe to how she lives her life. Simple, honest, grateful.
I am starting my own gratitude journal - to see the simple things in my life and to be grateful for every moment.