Trying hard to be thankful and unexpected Joy

fall cross

“You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Psalm 16:11

Trying to be thankful all day is hard work.  I am retraining my brain and my heart – less complaining and griping, more thanking.  But I have been grouching to God for so many years that my standard method of communication with Him is to:

  1.   Whine
  2.   Plead
  3.   Whine some more, perhaps listing my grievances
  4.   And then say by the way, thanks

I rationalize this by saying “At least I’m talking to Him.”  But this doesn’t lead to a very joyful or joy-filled life.  So when the complaining thoughts come, I am trying to quickly come up with something about the situation to be thankful for – not always easy.  While walking my dog this morning, down the street came a neighbor with 2 unleashed dogs.  My first thought was “expletive, I hate when dogs are off leash” and then I was getting ready to say some not nice things to the neighbor.  But I remembered that I was trying to be thankful so I turned around and went a different way.  I said thank you that the dogs were small and couldn’t reach us quickly, I said thank you that I didn’t yell at my neighbor.  I also realized that the different walk was prettier –  I hadn’t walked that direction in quite some time.

While headed back home I saw the sun filtering through the trees and it stopped me in my tracks.  I took out my phone quickly trying to snap a photo.  But the darn telephone pole kept getting in the way.  As I took the photo I saw the unexpected beauty – the pole is a cross.  Sometimes when we look beyond the surface we find surprising joy.  The cross was a horrible way to die, but Jesus’ death on the cross lead to His resurrection and our salvation.  What could be more beautiful and surprising than that?

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2 Responses to Trying hard to be thankful and unexpected Joy

  1. Fontaine Draper says:

    It is always a surprise to see the wonder and beauty when you least expect it and a gift when out of disappointment you find joy. Thank you, Helen for sharing your thoughts.


  2. nancyo says:

    I saw the telephone pole right away in your photo, and I’m glad you pointed out the cross!


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