Sunday, December 28, 2014

Top Ten Blessings of 2014

It is time to reflect on the blessings of the past year. I am feeling a little blue as family Christmas time draws to a close and I heard some sad news today. Also I know 2015 will begin with me facing up to some challenges that I postponed dealing with. I think making this list will help me focus on the positive side. This idea was inspired by my sister who wrote her own top ten list on her Christmas card.

1. Working with a client who was a joy in a kindergarten of all places the first half of 2014
2. Spending time with treasured friends whether while attempting to master Zumba or playing a friendly game of Euchre or Scrabble
3. Getting my feet wet with a part-time foot care nursing job and meeting some wonderful clients
4. Drawing closer to God through Immanuel sessions and Sarah Young's devotional writings
5. Visiting Karen, Clint and their wonderful family this past summer in Saskatchewan
6. Gaining health and losing weight and inches since starting Trim Healthy Mama in July (twenty-five pounds lost and now at my goal weight)
7. My wardrobe makeover courtesy of my stylish sister and her friend 
8. Receiving more compliments than I can realistically keep track of
9. Rachel and Joel's beautiful summer wedding and happiness in marriage
10. God giving me the gift of hope 

Sunday, December 07, 2014

A Hard Lesson

There are certain lessons that seem to take me decades to learn. One I haven't mastered yet is "Do not worry" although I have been writing about it since my very first blog post. Another is how to follow the biblical recipe for true contentment, as Paul explains in the following verses, as paraphrased by Eugene Peterson:

  • I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in  the One who makes me who I am.     Philippians 4:11b-13 The Message

I can't say I've reached the same point as the apostle Paul, when he wrote these words. It is very easy to be discontented about the things that are not happening in my life or things that are not going in the way I would like. It is very easy to annoyed by little things that a deeply contented person would just brush off or not even notice. On days when patience is in short supply, my mood is darkly disappointed, and the last thing on my mind is the recipe for being content in every circumstance, I tend to view my life as a portrait in things I lack, things I absolutely must have to be happy. 

But I don't need a successful career, my ideal match, or to be married with children in order to be happy. I don't need my every wish fulfilled and fantasy realized. I need a change in perspective, to view my life in light of the blessings I have received and gifts I have been given. I need to realize that no matter what my situation, whatever material blessings I have or don't have, I can still make it through my life with true contentment and joy, not based on my circumstances but based on the One who gives me my identity, hope and purpose. I am a child of God, a member of Christ's body, a citizen of heaven, God's workmanship called to share God's love and to do the work God prepared for me to do. I have been given much; my hands are full. I have everything I need for life and to fulfill my calling, I have been supplied with all I require to trust and to obey God. Through his strength I can master this recipe!

I wish I would learn this difficult lesson thoroughly and apply its principles faithfully in my life! I hope it won't take many more years to learn it well.