On Mondays at lunch, we fast and pray for women and men to bear the image of God in their unique ways, and for marriage to be given to those who desire it.
And just like that Thanksgiving is over and we’re staring at another Monday work day, wow does time fly! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. It’s hard to believe we are in the 2015 Holiday Season already, but here we are ushering in colder weather and pulling out Christmas decorations.
A few months ago a reader commented on my blog post, Right to the Heart, and suggested I read a book entitled, When the Pieces Don’t Fit. I ordered the book a few days later, but due to a black hole it only arrived the other week (kind-of ironic given the book title). Without relaying the entire book to you, let’s just say the author had anything but a “normal” life story, hence the pieces not fitting, yet through illness and challenges her faith grew and her attitude remained positive. Sure it was a book and she could control what she wrote about her life experiences and her attitude, but through the pages she brings the reader along on her journey of working through doubts, questions, and attitude adjustments.
Ever read or hear something only to have that same thought repeated in songs, sermons, conversations, Bible verses, and pretty much everywhere you turn? That’s been happening to me since reading this book. Even the message at church this morning touched on the same topic. I think they call that a theme.
Thanksgiving is a time when blessings are counted, and if you’re like me your mind goes to the many positive things in life. I’ve been particularly grateful to God for indulging my adventurous spirit and blessing me over the past two years with some pretty amazing travel adventures. If there is one thing that singleness offers, it is freedom to do certain things, but by definition singleness doesn’t always provide a partner for the “freedom” adventures, so I’m very blessed to have found some travel companions for my recent trips. The Bible tells us it’s a beautiful thing to be dripping with gratitude for blessings, besides thankful people are just nice to be around.
What struck me while reading, When the Pieces Don’t Fit, is that gratitude should not just be turned towards the blessings in my life, but also for the things I consider crappy and challenging. It’s often through the muck and mire of life that our character is shaped and God is at work refining and molding us to look more like Him. I would much rather skip those parts and just experience the good stuff.
A chick must struggle to break through the egg to build strength and adapt to breathing outside of the egg, if this process is cut short, so is their likelihood of surviving outside of the shell. A butterfly must struggle through the chrysalis to increase blood flow to the wings and be able to fly when it emerges, the struggle out of the chrysalis is necessary for life. Nature provides many examples of struggle producing beauty, so why would I want to shortcut that process in my life?
Remember I said I was running into this theme in multiple places, I thought about this verse in Philippians and added the brick wall background in the Bible app because it seemed appropriate for the view of life I’m currently holding.
I’m to be thankful IN ALL circumstances, even if I’m staring at a brick wall, because I have no idea how the lover of my soul is working in and around me to produce beauty. Sometimes life hands me scenes that are so crazy, not even a screenwriter could dream up such bizarre realities, but through it all I know there is a grander purpose at work and I need to be thankful and open to the character-building moments.
Then in church this morning, this was read (Philippians 2:5, 8 NLT)…
“You must have the same attitude Christ Jesus had…. He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”
And I think a bad day at work or illness is a challenge? Jesus was marred beyond recognition before “God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all names… (vs. 9)” There is so much to work on in my life. Hold the same attitude as Jesus (this is going to be a life-long pursuit). Trust God’s perspective that whatever I face has a greater purpose (Jesus did through death). Practice thankfulness for everything (good, bad, or just plain crazy).
When the Pieces Don’t Fit… God Makes the Difference!