How God is teaching me thankfulness in all things:
We finally installed a pressure tank in the basement of our ‘coming soon’ home. Which means that the frost free hydrant outside can issue forth water when I lift the handle. It is absolutely amazing!!!!
You’re probably wondering why I am so excited. “You pulled your hydrant lever and water came out. I do that every day. Why would that make you excited?”
When we moved onto our property last November we had no power or water. We had a well but no water lines or well pump. We went over a month without power; running off of a generator. Want to know how long we went without water? 7 months!!!
To get water, we loaded a 300-gallon tank onto the back of my husbands truck, drove down the road to a friends house and filled it up with 100 gallons of water. (Thank you, Cory and Sarah. You are life savers. Thank goodness you had an outdoor hot water faucet.) We then proceeded to drive back home and pour that water into the camper’s water tank. We did this every week.
You can imagine how excited we were when we installed a well pump and had water coming through our frost free hydrants. Yet, we still did not have a pressure tank. To get water, I had to turn on the breaker that was connected to the pump. I would go outside, turn on the power, fill up the camper, then go turn the power back off. It was much better than hauling water but still not as easy as opening up your faucet and water miraculously spilling out.
I was overjoyed when I was able to fill our 5th wheel (bus-house as our 3 year old calls it) with water without having to go switch the breaker on. It was a big step for us and it made me realize how much I take for granted. I forget how good God is to me.
I tell you my sad, little story in order spur you on to thankfulness. In no way do I want pity or for you to feel sorry for me. The past year has been rough but also a rewarding one. A simple life within a fifth wheel has been a time of refinement. It has taught me thankfulness and simplicity – character traits that I believe are very pleasing to God.
Do you truly realize how blessed and spoiled you are? Maybe you don’t have extra money to spend on all the things you want, but do you have a home and bed and a tummy full of food? I know I do. Yet, somehow, I still find things to complain about. “Oh, woe is me!!! I have to live in a fifth wheel and unclog my backed up toilet every month and dump my reekish black tank that smells of sewage and kind of makes me want to barf!” Heck, Shiree! You have a toilet!!! You aren’t having to dig a hole in the dirt every time you go number two. (That’s a relief, let me tell you. I might have drawn the line at digging a poop hole.)
Thankfulness is seriously lacking in most of our lives. We lose sight of how good we have it. We seem to think that the ordinary, mundane things of life are merely happenstance. Life owes us that which we desire. Heaven forbid if our day doesn’t go the way we want it. We find ourselves frustrated and irritated over ridiculous things, such as:
~Gosh darn that old farmer holding up traffic again with that gigantic John Deere tractor of his!
~The laundry never ends!! What? ANOTHER BLOW-OUT!!!??
~Why is the grocery store out of my favorite ice-cream? I’M GONNA LOSE IT WITHOUT MY FAVORITE ICE CREAM!!!
~Why is the line at the coffee shop so looooong? I have to be to work in five minutes. Just order a simple coffee, you bearded hipster!! Don’t you know that real men take it black?!
There is always something to complain about. Without us realizing it, we complain about the weather, our clothes, our kids, our husbands, our car, or our neighbor. I find myself groaning about the fact that my coffee doesn’t stay hot long enough. It’s rather silly when I think about it.
The Bible says to give thanks in all things. To do ALL things without grumbling or complaining. Even when poop blows out of the back of the boys’ diaper or the carpet got another stain on it from spilled grape juice? Am I really supposed to give thanks in those things? How? How can I be thankful for things that drive me crazy or make me sit on the kitchen floor and cry like a tired, hungry toddler?
It’s one thing to quote verses about thankfulness but it’s a whole other story to actually live it out. Day to day. Hour to hour. Minute to minute. Life will never be easy and there will be plenty of things to grumble about. So, how do we live in thankfulness and kill the grumbling disease that so easily infects us?
We choose it. We choose to see the good. Allow yourself to dwell on all that you love about your life, not all that you wish was different. Being thankful will be a powerful weapon you can wield in the battle of life and the fight against the enemy. Because if you don’t know already, Satan wants us to grumble.
He wants us to look at all the wrong things in our life and lose perspective. When we begin to look upon the bad and brood upon the hurt, our insides fester with discontent and our trust in God begins to fade. We begin to wonder if God is really who he says he is. We wonder why he would let life get us down if He actually loved us the way He says he does. Why would God not give us sunshine and lollipops every day? Doesn’t he love us and want the best for us? Shouldn’t this life be easy now that we believe in Jesus? Didn’t Jesus die on the cross to let me live a good life?
Yes! But not always the way we want it to be. Jesus came to give us life. A life that is full, made new and filled with joy. A life that could be lived in victory even when everything around us is still crumbling and falling apart. We are new creatures in an old, broken world. Pain and hardship will be with us as long as we live on this earth. But we no longer have to succumb to it. The blood of Jesus has given us victory over the world. We have the power to enjoy the journey on our way to everlasting life. Even when that journey is a hard one. Or perhaps, just an inconveniencing one.
So, I encourage you today to live in thankfulness. Don’t let the disappointments, no matter how big or small, drag you down into the pit of discontent. Learn to look on all that you have as a gift and a blessing that God has given you.
Be grateful for the dirt that your children track through the door. It means you have the joy of motherhood.
Rejoice in the laundry you have to do. It means you have a family.
Give thanks for all the dirty dishes. Your family is not hungry.
Smile when you see your husband’s shoes strewn on the floor. It means you have a man to take care of.
Rejoice when your favorite ice cream is nowhere to be found. It means you don’t have to feel guilty later for eating it. 😉
“Again I say, Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4