I was looking at a picture on my phone from exactly one year ago on this day. I was smiling with a big vase of flowers and my eyes looked so genuinely happy. I couldn't help think looking at it that"that was back then". That was back before "insert your trauma here". That was when life was easier. That was when my perspective was more hopeful. That was when everything was right and lately everything has been wrong.
It's really easy friends, to let bitterness seep into your life after you have experienced deep trauma or pain. It's tempting to want to simmer in it, to stay in it a little longer, because the pain is so real and so deep. But slowly, if your not consciously fighting it, the bitterness, the negativity, the pessimistic views can become a new negative reality. And it begins to take down the every day joys all around you, and it can be very easy to lose track of Jesus and his blessings for you.
Is it hard to be grateful in the midst of challenges? Or when you feel like your prayers have not been answered, do you still give thanks?
I think although it's hard, we must keep being grateful. For personal gratitude and faith in God and His gifts for us, is the thing that leads us towards hope and joy. God calls us to be grateful, "to give thanks in all circumstances." This is something that Paul understood- and the secret to being content- that I would like to learn as well. How do we truly "count it all as joy"?
This isn't a post where I say I have all the answers. It's simply me saying "I want to know more. I want to grow in my gratitude. I want to work on processing my bitterness better. I want to work on healing more." And sometimes the recognition of something not going well in your life, and identifying something you want to work on, is the beginning of a great start towards healing.
I do believe this world is a hard place full of suffering. And that's why I know, God has a loving, pain-free eternity planned for us in heaven. I know that God offers hope in the midst of the darkest circumstances and that his love is so strong for us, it can defeat the darkest forces against us. So I just pray, we would encounter Christ's love today in a new way that would give us hope for eternity in heaven and courage to live better and braver today.