I talk, preach and practice gratitude every day of my life. I will say some days I have to really rev myself up to be grateful if I fall prey to the media and it’s negativity but overall YES I can be grateful in every situation. Grateful for something even if it’s tiny!
This has been a very challenging year for all of us and I hope that 2021 it the exact opposite of 2020. Peace, good health, financial stability, more people praying and overall more kindness and acceptance of others.
The pandemic has devastated us in so many ways. I am going to talk about the things I found to be grateful for BUT with that being said I don’t want you to think I am making light of any of these topics or don’t understand the severity of each of them.
The pandemic has moved us apart from each other due to the spread of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, I greatly miss my friends but I have noticed that God has removed a few people from my life that were dragging me down. I love these people but where they were headed in their life and choices was so off track from where I was walking. Trying to love and understand others made it difficult for me to not see their negative involvement in my life at times. I would see these folks at weekly events and sometimes multiple times in a week. The pandemic hit and social events were stopped. The few people God knew were not growing me positively He removed.
2 Timothy 3:1-6 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
Now God probably would have removed these people in normal times but this was a good time for it to happen. Social distancing as tough as it is does benefit people in other ways besides preventing the spread of disease. God knows this.
I have said before that my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year. A very aggressive and frightening cancer. The first thing you feel is fear of losing your dad but then I opened my eyes in gratitude. Yes, my dad was sick but my Heavenly Father was caring for him. He provided my dad with outstanding doctors in a close facility and an opportunity to talk to my dad about his faith which we have never talked about before. God also showed me how to appreciate the blessing of still having my parents alive when many of my friends didn’t. I live close so I can help care for my dad as he goes through chemotherapy and surgery. My love and faith in God allows me to see the good in cancer as odd as that sounds.
Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
You probably say that you can’t find gratitude in riots and protests but I disagree. As horrible and frustrating as riots can be, it showed me that I needed to understand the journeys other people have come on to feel this pain and angst. I had my head buried in the sand and absorbed in my own life while people were hurting around me. The riots opened up conversations with friends of different races and ethnic backgrounds for me to hear their stories. I would have never asked in casual conversation about their struggles. Our friendships would have remained superficial. I listened without speaking which was difficult for me but I actually heard words I had never heard before. I took this opportunity to teach a class on hearing others with a clear mind and not prejudging. I am grateful for these talks even through it came with unrest, death and division because it is opening the eyes of many to hearing others.
Proverbs 31:9 “Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!”
Also during the pandemic a close friend and my podcast producer fell ill and was immediately put on life support for 31 days. He did not have COVID (he was tested 12 times….) but his situation was dire and his Living Will had been activated. Oh my gosh, how was I going to find gratitude in this situation? It seemed I was going to lose my friend which was weird because we had just recorded podcasts a few days earlier. This clip is of my friend Mark who still remains in the hospital on Day 49. This video about defying the odds is so appropriate for Mark right now as he battles to regain his health.
Now as I said, Mark is still in the hospital doing all types of therapy to regain strength and speak again because of being on a ventilator for 31 days. But you know what? I know the power of prayer and God brought a group of us together to stand and pray at 6pm every night that Mark was on the ventilator asking God to heal him. I would have never stood one day to pray with this group of people is God hadn’t given us a reason to pray together in community. I’m am definitely not grateful for Mark’s illness and his ongoing struggles but I am grateful to know how many people are willing to interrupt their day to pray for someone else. Hundreds if not thousands were praying for Mark as we saw the post on social media of friends, family and acquaintances posting daily about their prayers.
I know and am confident that God is in control of every situation and because of that I can find something to be grateful for in every circumstance. If you are struggling I ask you to find one thing to be grateful for no matter how small. Gratitude changes your heart and makes Our Father smile. My love and gratitude-LoLo
Isaiah 40:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”