Archive | September 2012

celebrate.

3. There’s Always More to Be Grateful For

Consider the difference between wealth and value. While material wealth is important, it is not the only source of real value in our lives. We can all celebrate value, even when the material wealth in our lives is taking a beating.

-Rabbi Brad Hirschfield

tell.

I have found myself smiling – even in moments of despair. Where could this possibly come from? I say God.

2. Articulate It

Tell a friend or loved one a story about something for which you are grateful.

Don’t be surprised to find yourself smiling by the end of that story.

-Rabbi Brad Hirschfield

thankful.

It’s a challenge to think about being thankful when you’re facing difficult times. I know first-hand what it’s like to not have enough money to pay the bills, to shop with $40 for the week and have to decide between cheese and bread or eggs and bread.

I used to hate the optimistic quip “when life gives you lemons make lemonade!” It seemed too easy. Too pat. Too happy.

But now, I get it. It is reckoning with the fact we live in a broken world where lots of bad things happen. But lots of good things happen, too. When we think too much about our difficulty, we become consumed with it.

Choosing to think about the good things isn’t positive thinking. It’s coming to terms with what is true and choosing to find what is good and happy in your life – and being thankful.

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield gives us “8 Ways to Stay Thankful in Hard Times” – we’ll look at 1 each day.

1. Find What You’re Grateful For

      

The real uncertainty we face about our economic future can make us quite fearful and sad. Locating those things for which we can still be grateful, brings joy even in the face of those challenges without pretending they are not real.

http://www.beliefnet.com

look.

Sometimes, life is uncertain.

Complex.

Disarray.

Turmoil.

But then, if we look closely …

we will discover certainty.

Simple.

Order.

Calm.

God.

choice.

The Bible tells us about Job and the horror of his pain. He lost everything he had – even his children – and was attacked with physical pain.

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.

This was Job’s response to God.

That’s not to say he didn’t question his demise, but after processing all that happened to him, he made a choice to trust God. This is an acknowledgement of accepting that God is over all. It begins and ends with Him.

It’s a choice every Christian comes face to face with. It is a choice that reveals one’s devotion to God. Because if the going gets tough, it’s easy to bail out.

God wants us to have joy and peace. No matter what the circumstances, we will have both when we choose to trust God with everything.

If we choose not to trust God…we won’t.

spring.

Sometimes, life feels like the long, cold days of winter. There are cozy moments of watching half-dollar sized snowflakes drift while sipping a cup of frothy, hot chocolate. But most of the time, our activities may be limited as we endure the monotony of chipping ice off our windshields, darkness at 4pm, and paying fuel bills.

But, spring is coming. It always comes. It never misses. Ever.

Jesus said the natural world helps us understand spiritual things – those things pertaining to God.

You may be in the “winter” of life with many concerns that are covered with a blanket of uncertainty. Maybe you feel stuck between where you were and where you are going.

Whatever it is, spring will come. Just when you least expect it, something will change. Wait for it with expectancy!

struggle.

You may have tried to do everything right. But despite your hard work, you are gripped with despair, disappointment, and discouragement.

Everything can change tomorrow.

Brick walls are penetrable.

worry.

Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

-The Bible

triggers.

Each year, the memory fades like the colors of summer’s end. Not of him, but the day I felt the suffocation upon learning of my son’s death.

Books, support groups, and counselors may tell you to celebrate your lost loved one in some special way. Everybody has a well meaning tip.

Yet, many of us manage a smile, nod our heads in gratitude, and feel our hearts being squeezed as the lump comes into our throats. We walk away feeling alone and empty, asking ourselves why we allow ourselves to be in these situations.

When one realizes that only God knows the depth of your sorrow and pain, a silent relationship is built between you and the Creator of the Universe, who holds all things in his hands. And you know, you just know, that your loved one is safe in God’s arms.

Some who do not believe in God think this is some kind of fairy tale thinking. It’s not. Because if it were not for God, the pain would be too much and we would want to die.

I have no fancy tips to celebrate your loved one. In fact, silence from a friend is the best. Just sit with me.

Animals will go in hiding when they are in pain. People do, too. Sometimes, the noise is just too much.

Triggers will come –  a scent, a sound, or the way the sun is shining on a particular day. Feel the momentary pain and it will subside. If you smile, then smile. If you cry, then cry.

But then, move on and enjoy with purpose the life you have – and the hope of being reunited with your loved one.