Yesterday began with me watching our eight month old grandson for a couple of hours while our daughter ran errands. He's tiny for his age, the only sign that he was a premie. He crawls at an alarming rate of speed, pulls himself to standing, and walks while holding on to the edges of furniture, forgetting he can't walk independently yet, letting go, and falling all too often. He grins perpetually, his face visibly lighting up when he sees someone he knows. As I looked in his eyes while he drank his bottle, his brown eyes staring into mine like he could see into my soul, I was struck once again by the wonder of him. A year and a half ago we had no idea that my daughter, who had never conceived in thirteen years of marriage, would be surprised and amazed to discover she was pregnant. She and her husband were content with the family God had given them via adoption, our two amazing oldest grandchildren. Who knew that a little ways further down the road, God had a big surprise, a huge blessing, awaiting them? What an unexpected delight he is to them, to his siblings, to all of us.
That same afternoon I went with my youngest daughter over to her fiancé's house. She and her fiancé will live there together after they get married this May. We were doing a bit of cleaning and organizing when the thought struck me that a year ago my daughter had no idea what was just around the bend for her as she began 2014. That spring she would begin to "hang out" with an acquaintance from church, they would begin dating, fall in love, and become engaged before year's end.
When my husband and I went through what I call our "Job season", everything that could go wrong did go wrong. We were tested and tried in just about every realm of our life. I became shell shocked, afraid to answer the phone or check the mail, because another piece of bad news was sure to be waiting. I became tormented by fear and evil foreboding. I became conditioned to believe that what was around the bend in the road for us was bad news, not blessing. I began to believe we had done something to mess up God's good plan for our lives and that when the Word said He had a future and a hope for us, we had somehow fallen through a loophole in that promise. Right in the middle of that mess, I led a group of ladies from our church through Joyce Meyer's book study, The Battlefield of the Mind. In her book she talks about a mindset of evil foreboding. I recognized immediately that I was dealing with that exact thing in my mind. Per her suggestion, I began speaking Proverbs 15:15 aloud over myself, "I will not give into evil forebodings or anxious thoughts, but I will have a glad heart, resulting in a continual feast, regardless of circumstances." It wasn't an instant cure by any means, but it was a beginning in renewing my mind to expect and see God's goodness and blessing in my life, even when circumstances were tough.
In the fall of 2009 my daughter recommended that I read Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience. I don't think I'd ever even read a blog before! Through Ann's online encouragement, before her book One Thousand Gifts had been published, I joined the "Gratitude Community". I began to journal my blessings, and started my own blog, where I would list my gratitude each Monday and link-up with the other gratitude gatherers at Ann's place each week. This habit of noticing and recording God's blessings in my life began to renew my mindset to expect blessing instead of evil foreboding.
When God began to deal with me to embrace the word endurance as my word for 2015, my mind wanted to revert back to fear and evil foreboding. "Oh, this can't be good!", my thoughts told me, "There must be some rough road ahead that you're going to have to endure." I wrestled with God about it, thinking if I rejected the word endurance and embraced a more upbeat word, that I could control or change whatever circumstances were ahead for me. God gently and lovingly confirmed over and over and over to me though His Word that endurance was indeed a word I was to embrace, and that it wasn't a word to fear, but a word that had amazing promises connected with it. My foundational verse for 2015 is Hebrews 10:35-36 (Amplified Bible), "Do not therefore filing away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward. For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away and enjoy to the full what is promised." So, instead of having an expectation of negative things that I'm going to have to endure, I have chosen to expect the promises given to one who has endured. Yes, I said I have chosen. A mindset of hopelessness, evil foreboding and negative expectation is never from God. satan is the author of hopelessness and despair. A godly mindset is one of fearless confidence in God's love and goodness, and in His ability to keep you in the palm of His hand when you do face adversity. It's the mindset of Joseph who declared repeatedly that even his worst adversities had been used by God for good and for blessing. Instead of expecting some sort of time bomb around the next bend in the road, I'm expecting to see God's faithfulness, God's mercy, God's goodness, God's protection, and God's provision. In fact, looking back, that's what has been around every bend in the road of my life all along.
Also joining THOUGHT PROVOKING THURSDAYS
at 3-D Lessons for Life
Kelli at CHRONICLES OF GRACE