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Mar 17 2013

Ever heard the saying “Have an attitude of gratitude”?

Give thanks in all things-- Unwrapping His Grace @ surrenderedlivingnow.com

In learning to “surrender my shoulds”, God is reminding me that He wants us to give thanks in ALL circumstances.

I asked God to help me see my current health circumstances with eyes filled with thanks.  And I remembering that when we learn to see our circumstances with eyes of gratitude, what we are doing is allowing God to transform our thinking which transforms our attitudes.

Ever heard the saying “Have an attitude of gratitude”?

Well this week that is exactly what we are going to do.

I am focusing on thanking God for this time of needing more rest than I used to need.

I am focusing on thanking God for this time of slowing down and being forced to not get so busy that I can’t appreciate the gift of each moment of this life.

Tonight’s devotion is about just that.  Learning to give thanks in all circumstances…instead of focusing so much on asking God to change our circumstances.  If you are anything like me, sometimes it is easy to get focused on what WE want our circumstances to look like…how we would like things to be different. I’m learning that when we are able to thank Him in all circumstances it actually means that we are willing to surrender our own desires and trust Him to be in charge and use our lives for His glory.  Last summer I was doing a lot better about giving thanks in the middle of difficult circumstances than I had been recently and it is time to get back on track.

Life doesn’t always look the way we think we want it to look.  But God can work all things together for good…no matter how difficult or bad things may look to us.  God sees the big picture– past, present, and future– all at the same time.  The question is…do we trust Him with our circumstances?

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV

So instead of wishing or “if only”ing our lives away, let’s decide now to commit to giving thanks in the circumstances that we find ourselves in now.  I know when I have done this in the past, I felt so much closer to God and I was able to see blessings where they weren’t obvious.

Today, I have to make more choices and can’t do everything I want wish I could do. But I do have choices…and that is a huge blessing.

Today I thank God that I have the blessing of being in cantata at our church.  I thank God He has given me my church community with whom I can serve the Lord.  I thank God for the many rehearsals that give me the chance to get to know my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I thank God for the mistakes I make in rehearsals that are great opportunities to laugh at myself and learn something.  I thank God for making me teachable.  I thank Him for the times when I am exhausted and need to lean on Him more than ever and am forced to stop and rest in Him.  I thank Him for my Christian brothers and sisters who accept my boys who struggle to remain quiet while we are practicing.  I am thankful for the times when Josh and Michael run around because eight months ago they were recovering in the hospital from emergency surgery on their legs and for five weeks following surgeries they were in confined to wheel chairs followed by months using walkers and in physical therapy.  So instead of getting frustrated with the fact that they don’t seem to remember how to walk, I ask God to help me see their running with gratitude that they can run again.

See what I mean?

It isn’t just about seeing the obvious blessings.  It is about learning to thank God in all circumstances.  As we learn to thank Him for the trials we learn to realize that when we have God we have everything we could ever need or want.  I know that once I realize that I have everything I need with God…I learn to be content in all circumstances…and in learning to be content I learn to completely trust Him with my life.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11 NIV

So this week am challenging myself to find a Scripture that reminds me to give thanks in everything and to make a list of five things/circumstances that I am thankful for.  If you are journaling with the Blessing Journal Challenge, instead of using a journaling guide this week, let’s keep it simple this week.

What are some circumstances God is teaching you to thank Him for?  Is it hard for you to do this?  Ask God to help you.  He is right there ready to lead and guide you.

I hope you will share some of your list with me in the comments below. I would love to see them!  And I will be praying for each person who comments. Just click here to comment.  It is that easy!

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Giving thanks in all things,

Mary Joy

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About the author

Mary Joy

I am a broken daughter of God and a work in progress. I am passionate about encouraging women to embrace God's grace and faithfulness as I discover and share His faithfulness, grace and even joy in the messiness of my journey as a widowed (less than 2 yrs), homeschooling mom with a missionary's heart. I am in awe of how God fills me up and carries me through each day. My Heavenly Father leads me as I continue to parent and home school my two recovering and very active boys and encourage my beautiful teenage step-daughter (long distance) during her first year in of college. In every moment I see incredible evidence of God's healing love, grace and faithfulness. I am so blessed to be the creator, manager, and an author of Unwrapping His Grace as I lean on my Savior to lead us in this special web-ministry.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/2013/03/17/ever-heard-the-saying-have-an-attitude-of-gratitude/

  • JOANNA SILVEIRA

    allelujah! “It isn’t just about seeing the obvious blessings. It is about learning to thank God in all circumstances. ” So good, Mary Joy. Read it through tears. Help us Lord to see Your grace in all things. Blessings, Joanna {The Crafty Homeschool Mama}

    • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing

      Thank you so much, Joanna. I am so blessed that God encouraged you through what He is teaching me. Thanks for commenting. Your encouraging words mean more than you know. We are always learning! God bless you! And know…I love your blog!!!

      Blessings!

      Mary Joy

    • Gina Marie

      Praying for you, Joanna. May God’s Grace comfort and keep you close.

  • Faith @ Artistic31Mama

    Just what I needed to hear today! Last year for the first time in my life I was an “athlete.” I worked out five days a week for an hour at the gym played racquetball with a friend. I lost 43lbs and felt great! My body was strong, I could keep up with my kids, etc. Then I injured my ankle. I was on crutches for three weeks and have been in a walking boot for two months. I’ve gained back some weight and my ankle is still not healing right. I’ve been trying to find the positives in this but some days are harder than others. I’d been struggling asking God for healing to change these circumstances and was losing sight of the blessings I do have. Thank you for this reminder today. :)

    • Gina Marie

      I am praying for you, Faith…. It’s so hard to deal with seeing our hard-earned work spent getting healthier slip away as we deal with health problems.

      May you experience healing in your body and may you stay encouraged in the name of the LORD.

      • Faith @ Artistic31Mama

        Gina,
        Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and prayers. Yours and Mary’s words encouraged me today as I started to think about the negatives of my situation. I stopped and focused on the positives and it was a comfort to know I had people praying for me. Thank you!

    • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing

      That had to be so hard, Faith. I know how focusing on asking God to improve or change our circumstances can begin to take over our ability to see the blessings we do have in our lives. I am so blessed that you shared your story with us today. Please know that I will be praying for you. You are not alone. I hope that beginning to make a list of the blessings that you do have…including slowing down to be able to focus on relationships and lean on God even more…encourages you. If you want to share some of the blessings here, we would love to hear about them!

      Blessings!

      Mary Joy

      • Faith @ Artistic31Mama

        Thank you Mary Joy! Your posts are so inspiring and uplifting. I truly appreciate your prayers and sharing your heart on these topics. I’m so glad I found your blog! A few blessings off the top of my head (Yes, you’re completely right about being able to slow down and lean on God)….also I’m thankful I can walk and get around even if it is with a walking boot. I’m thankful for my family’s overall health. The love of my family. Comfort and peace from my Savior and so much more. :-) Sometimes a change of perspective is just what we need.

        • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing

          Thank you! You are such an encouragement to me!!! Wow. I know what you mean about a change in perspective helping. I love your list, Faith! I love how you are looking at the blessings to help you overcome the frustration of not being able to do what you are used to doing. I am praying for your healing of your foot. I know that has to been hard. You have blessed me so much with your comments. Praying God continues encouraging you and carrying you through this challenging time.

          Blessings!

          Mary Joy

  • Gina Marie

    My list:

    I thank God for my new health challenges because I am learning so many things during this time; having to cut back on the extras has meant that I am able to focus on the things that matter the most to me.

    I am grateful for being able to homeschool my kids and have them home all day with me; when things get noisy, I can remember how much missed them when they were in school.

    I appreciate having an older home in an older neighborhood; living in a neighborhood that is established means we have long term residents here who are great neighbors.

    I could go on and on – but to God be the GLORY for showing us moment by moment how blessed we are no matter our circumstances.

    Love you! Great POST – such a blessing to read and take action in my own life from it, today.

    Gina Marie

    • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing

      Amen! I love how God is able to turn around what we struggle with and help us to experience a different kind of unexpected blessing. I am so glad that you shared your list, Gina Marie!

      So glad that you found something here to encourage you and use in your own life. You are such a blessing!

      Blessings!

      Mary Joy

    • Faith @ Artistic31Mama

      What a wonderful list and great perspective. :-) It’s hard to think positively sometimes, but the more we remember to focus on blessings and make it a habit the easier it becomes (I’m talking to myself here too :-) )

      • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing

        It really does help a lot. It can be so hard to remember to do in the middle of the mess but wow does it help me. Thanks for sharing this, Faith!

  • http://momstheword--livingforhim.blogspot.com/ Nan

    I love how you are focused and intentional about looking for things to be thankful for, and how you are looking for Scripture to apply! Awesome idea, my dear.

    I also love what you said here: “…..what we are doing is allowing God to transform our thinking which transforms our attitudes.”

    Yes, when God transforms our minds and our hearts than our attitude and our behavior and actions will change! That way WE don’t have to do it, lol! ;)

    Thanks so much for linking up to “Making Your Home Sing Monday” today! :)

    • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing

      Thanks, Nan!

      I love how God changes us from the inside out. Makes things so much easier…when we let him and don’t take control back. LOL

      I love your linky party. I can’t wait to go visiting! Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      Blessings!

      Mary Joy

    • Faith @ Artistic31Mama

      I was just reading about this in our small group at church while studying “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyers. She talks a lot about bringing your thoughts under the authority of Christ. Our thoughts affect our attitudes which affect our actions. This is so true. How easy it is to forget when facing tough circumstances. This post and all the responses are great reminders! :-)

      • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing

        Amen! So true!