Overcoming any problem begins with a grateful heart. Those are words to a song I heard years ago. When I first heard them, I thought, “how could that be true?” I wasn’t convinced that the writer of the song knew what she was talking about so I began to check the words out against my problems. Sure enough, no matter what it was I was challenged with, I really did not begin overcoming the situation until I began to look at what I had to be thankful for in it.
Thankfulness adjusts our attitude. Does anyone out there need an attitude adjustment? I remember my mother telling me at times to adjust my attitude. She would do so with her hands on her hips which meant I better adjust it quickly.
I Thessalonians 5:15 is our prescription for an attitude adjustment and just what Dr. God orders for His kids. It says, “Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) God is too good to tell us to do something and not provide what we need to do it. Our job is to obey and He will supply. Our job is also to ask Him for what we need and admit we cannot do it without Him.
Sometimes overcoming begins with simply thanking God because He is good. Psalms 107:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good and his love endures forever.” When we can’t think of anything to be thankful for, we can always start with thanking God for his love. No matter what we are going through, we can rest in the fact that we are loved by the creator of the universe. We may not always feel loved and actually be rejected by people, but nothing can separate us from God’s love for us. His love has comforted me on many a difficult day as I simply made the statement, “God I thank you that you are good and you love me.” Those words help me adjust my attitude and remind me of the truth. I have prayed this prayer to help renew my mind when it has battled looking at all I have lost in the death of my husband. No matter what my circumstances, He is good and He loves me.
Let me give you a personal example of “overcoming any problem begins with a grateful heart.” As I have walked the past four years through the world of cancer with my late husband and then trying to establish a new life as a young widow, I have relied on thanking God for what I do have vs. what I have lost. Gratefulness is my quick access to the presence of God, especially on the difficult days. His presence is what comforts me, gives me hope, helps me and is my anchor. Some days I do better than others, but scripture says in Psalms 95:2 , “Come into his presence with thanksgiving...” (KJV) If you need more of His presence, try thanksgiving. It works for me.
For example, I do not believe God just gives us patience but He will help us to be patient. As we grow in that character, we learn the benefit of trusting His timing. Anyone can quote a scripture or pass a written test, but character is developed in the soil of difficulties.
Thanks is an expression of gratitude and gratefulness. Thankful is an adjective that means pleased or relieved. How thankful are you? Do you have an overall feeling of being pleased and relieved?
Thanksgiving is not just a season in November. God intends for it to be a lifestyle. He loves for His kids to be in His presence. Let’s start today. Will you join me in thanking Him more?
With Thanksgiving approaching, November is a month when many focus on giving thanks.Why should we take time to be thankful? I believe there are several reasons. The first one is that the Bible tells us to be thankful. The number one reason is because God said so. That alone is reason to be thankful all the time, however, there is another reason. It is good for us and good for those around us! There is power that comes into our lives when we are thankful. Power to adjust our attitude, power to focus on the good and the goodness of God and power to overcome difficult circumstances.
It always made me mad as a little girl when I would ask my dad why I needed to do something and his reply was, “because I said so.” Really what he meant to say was, “ because it is good for you.” I was always one of those kids that wanted to understand things and I’m sure I annoyed my parents asking why. I’m sure God sometimes wants to sometimes tell me, “because I said so or because it is good for you Kathleen.” After all, He is all knowing and our job is to trust him.
Psalm 100:4 encourages us to be thankful as it states, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Thanks open’s our heart and gets it in the right frame of mind. Think about it. How many people have said thank you with their arms folded? Not many...When we come to God with a thankful heart it opens us up to see all He has done for us that we might have missed. Thanksgiving makes God bigger than our problems or the things we face. It magnifies Him and His goodness.
Some other scriptures that tell us to be grateful are found in Colossians 3:15 and 4:2 respectively. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
I’ve seen the power of a thankful heart to change me personally. In the dark days of digging through the grief, learning to live as a widow and caregiving for my ill, elderly parents, knowing their life span was short, it was easy to become weary and feel like life would always be painful. Yes, it was a difficult time, but God was also blessing me in some incredible ways. Realizing I needed to focus on the good in my life, I began to write down each evening something I was thankful for or had seen God do for me that day. In the beginning, I had to think about what to write but the more I looked for God’s goodness to me, the more I discovered. An attitude of gratitude began to change my heart and open my eyes.
No, I did not thank God that I was living alone, was lonely and had a lot of responsibility, but I could thank him for holding my hand, leading me and comforting me as I cried. I could thank him that I still had my parents in my life and that someone called me each day. As my list of things that blessed my life each day grew, I began to see my heart change. Even though my circumstances did not change, life seemed easier.
I challenge you to develop a heart of thankfulness by either writing what you appreciate each day or verbally thanking God throughout the day. Do it because He said so and you will empower yourself. I would love to see the hills alive with a community with a thankful heart!
Celebrating Our One Year Anniversary
October 27, 2013
One year ago today, I married a wonderful man, Stephan Rambie. Our first year of marriage has been quiet eventful, full of unexpected things, full of laughter, adventure and learning. As we visited today, I shared with Stephen that despite the great loss of my parents, the year has gone much better than I had expected. Stephen and I are both pretty strong people and I wondered if our first year would be a little challenging because we are both know what we want in life and are set in our ways. Much to my surprise, transitioning our lives together has been seamless. I remember someone praying that over us and God heard that prayer. I cannot even think of one disagreement we have had. I guess being older, we are a little smarter and have both learned from mistakes in our pasts. We are both easy going and both spontaneous.
The unexpected things began 5 weeks after we were married when my mom ended up at the emergency room, my dad was hospitalized shortly after that. We found out he had a rare bone cancer and 15 hours later, mom had passed away. It wasn't even two months later that dad passed away. Our first three months of marriage were spent in hospitals and funeral homes...
Dove Hunting In Uvlade
Somehow I married a man with a great sense of humor and even in the midsts of everything, he kept me laughing. We have spent much of this year living in two different towns which makes it interesting as I never know where I will end up sleeping! Stephen has done most of the traveling from Uvalde to Kerrville as most of his work is there. September and October, I did the traveling as it was dove season and we have a hunting business, Events Unlimited. We really have not had the time to settle into our life with the loss of my folks, blending our families, new grand babies and life in general. We talk a lot about different ideas but right now, we are enjoying life in both towns.
Fishing at Lake Amistad
I've met lots of new people in Stephen's life and have learned how to fish and dove hunt. He has met at least half of Kerrville, as he puts it, has gone to more social events in the last year than in his whole life! He has enjoyed the adventure and we have even blended the social events with unique purchases! We love to dance and frequently go dancing with friends. We have enjoyed cooking together and entertaining in both Uvalde and Kerrville.
We have loved becoming grandparents and fun times with our kids. We have grown a lot this year and have covered many of life's major events from marriage, death, and birth. We've prayed together through each event and most of all, our love has grown.
Four years ago this week, life as I knew it changed dramatically when my late husband left this earth. He had been a part of my life since I was sixteen. As I flip through the pages of my life since then, I see each page stamped with God’s grace. What do I mean by that statement? God’s power to uphold, cradle a broken heart, lead me into the unknown and give me life again has sustained me. II Corinthians 12:9 was one of the scriptures that God would always remind me of in times that I thought I could not go on. “But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (NIV)
My father always taught as a child to be strong. Even though I was a girl, my dad would always say, “Suck it up, be strong, you are a Jones.” So for much of my life, that is what I did. Yet, I find in scripture, God wants our dependency to be on His strength, not ours. That was a freeing revelation for me as I found it was ok to be weak and dependent on God and embrace our emotions, instead of burying them. I had permission from God to embrace my weakness. I didn’t have to be strong, I just had to trust in Him more, instead of myself.
As I look at the chapter of my life story now, things look very different. Much has changed. There are new people in my life, , a new husband and grand babies, new people I work with, and many new adventures. God’s grace, his power and love have brought me to a new place in life. The key in trials and uncertainty of life is not letting the trial overwhelm you. Many many times, I had to push the overwhelming feelings away and preach to myself to simply trust God in the pain and look to His power, not mine. The greatest thing I’ve gained, is experience with God in the valley of life. Those experiences have made me a rich woman, although the cost has been great. The beauty is, I get to give that life to other broken and afraid people.
Isaiah 42:16 is marked and dated about two years ago in my Bible. I held on to the promise and now I know it is true. It says, “ I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” (NIV) God has navigated me when I was on an unfamiliar path learning to live alone. He has guided me and we have had some really fun adventures along the way. When grief would knock my feet out from under me and life seemed dark, God put me back on my feet and turned the light on. He has given me strength in the rough places and grace to extend to others that haven’t walked where I’ve walked and caused me more pain. God never forsake me, although at times it felt like it.
I am living proof that His grace is sufficient. Wherever you are in life, grab on to His grace. Let God lead you through the darkness at home, in your job, in your relationships, illness, in your grief, or in your finances. He loves you dearly and so do I.