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The Practice of Giving Thanks

 

I am not, by nature, a thankful person. I do not wake up each morning with praise on my lips.

Oh, how I wish I did.

My sweet husband reminded me the other day that I tend to be discontent where I am, but look back fondly at the places I have lived.

The 300 square foot plywood house in a little village in Alaska, above the Arctic Circle, with no running water? In the moment, it was dark, cold, cramped and depressing. Remembering it? A quaint little homestead, my own version of the now popular tiny house, a sweet cabin of refuge from the cold outside.

The little house in the city in Indonesia that we called home for many years? In the moment it was falling apart, disheveled, with mismatched flooring and vermin aplenty. And the sweltering heat and humidity along with the incessant sounds of dogs yelping among other things made me crazy. Remembering? A sweet little bungalow that holds all my best family memories, adorable quaintness of a cute home, complete with palm trees, banana trees, and a lime tree.

And so, if I am not careful, I can begin to do the same thing all over again, in my current home here in Uganda. I am sorely tempted toward complaining. 

And that is why thanksgiving and praise are essential for everyone, but especially for those of us who tend toward discontentment.

In the book, Calm My Anxious Heart, Linda Dillow tells the story of a missionary who lived in mud hut in overwhelming heat in Africa. The interesting thing about this woman? She was incredibly content and joyful. When asked why, she replied with this prescription,

-Never allow yourself to complain about anything, not even the weather.

-Never picture yourself in any other circumstance or someplace else.

-Never compare your lot with another’s.

-Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.

-Never dwell on tomorrow-remember that it is God’s, not ours.

Oh my. How many times have I imagined getting on that airplane, returning to the States, finding that cute little house in that cul-de-sac, and living out my days there. How many times have I complained, really complained, about the heat, the mud, the rain. How many times have I dwelled on all the tomorrows, the what ifs and the if onlys.

Too many times, that’s how many.

And this, my friends, is why God gives us the beautiful grace of learning to pray to Him using praise and thanksgiving.

This is how we battle the discontentment and sadness that creeps in. This is how we turn our thoughts from our woes to His goodness.

Psalm 100:4-5 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”

Maybe you don’t struggle to be content where you are, but maybe you, like me, do struggle. Either way, I want you to take this prayer, right here, right now, and thank God for all that he has done, is doing, and will do in your life. Bless his name for his mighty acts and his steadfast love. It turns our mourning into dancing, and turns our eyes back to where they need to be.

“Two women looked through prison bars-one saw mud, the other saw stars.”

My prayer is that today you and I will look toward the heavens and see the stars and give a prayer of thanksgiving and praise to God.

Let me hear from you: Do you struggle to be thankful? Do you ever feel discontent with what God has given you? How has thanksgiving played a part in your journey?

With Love From Uganda,

Joy

 

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Friends, we are SO EXCITED to announce our next eight-week study beginning March 21 — join us as we tackle the book of Ecclesiastes!!  “Vanity of Vanities…all is vanity…” So begins and ends one of the most difficult and challenging books of the Bible. At first glance, this book can seem like a depressing read. It emphasizes the emptiness of life and the vanity of so many good things we experience in the world. But a careful reading will show you that the full message is God-exalting and joy-inducing. In this study on the book of Ecclesiastes, our questions regarding the meaning of life will lead us to Solomon’s wise conclusion: that in order for one to find meaning, purpose, and satisfaction in life, he or she must know God. To know the Lord, to love Him, fear Him, follow Him, and find our identity in Him is what frees us to enjoy the temporal gifts of this life and to look beyond those gifts to life everlasting.

Our Ecclesiastes study journal is available on Amazon RIGHT NOW, and it contains all the things you love including the easy to follow reading plan, plenty of room to write your daily SOAP, weekly reflection questions and memory verse coloring pages! And best of all – EVERY DIME of your purchase supports the ministry!  Click here to buy your study journal and support LGG!

PS: There will be an accompanying children’s journal for this study.  We’ll let you know as soon as it’s available for purchase on Amazon!!

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