Joyful Words Blog
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.
– Psalm 119:105
– Psalm 119:105
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own…1 Peter 2:9
I came across a story a couple of weeks ago and it was a good one! It was one of those stories that sticks with you and applies to lots of different things. I found the story in a Lenten reflection book written by F. Joe Kempf and I decided all of you needed to read it too.
When Thomas Edison was working on improving his first light bulb, he handed the finished bulb to a young helper, who nervously and slowly carried it upstairs, but near the top step he dropped and shattered it. After a moment of horrified silence, the whole team set back to work. It took them 24 more hours of hard work to make another bulb. When it was finished they needed someone to take it upstairs again, Edison looked around, found the same boy and handed the new bulb to him to do the job. Edison knew that something more important than the bulb was at stake.
I think one of the reasons I love this story is because it so clearly illustrates trust, mercy, forgiveness and unselfishness. It made me think of all the things I fuss about. It made me think about all the things I take so seriously. It made me think of all the things I think I have to be in charge of myself. It made me think of all the silly things I believe are so valuable. But the biggie…it made me realize how easy it should be to give second chances and how grateful I am that God is so good at giving them again and again.
The invention of the light bulb was a pretty big stinkin deal for heaven sakes but Mr. Edison realized the human spirit was far more valuable! The whole story makes me think about how I treat others and what I truly value. It makes me think of some advice I got as a young teacher; people are ALWAYS more important than paper and stuff. Maybe this Monday morning short post can be a reminder to us all.
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of your top 5 priorities…do they match the way you balance your time and attitude? Make someone feel important today!
Blessings on your day!
…but the Lord was not in the wind…but the Lord was not in the earthquake…but the Lord was not in the fire…then there was a tiny whisper… 1 Kings 19:11-12
I have chosen a noisy profession. I spend each day with 260 kids and the moments of silence in our building are few and far between. While it makes me crazy at times, it really is one of the things I love about my job. I love to hear the kids talk, laugh, think out loud and I love listening to them pray and read Scripture. When I was a kid I remember my mom saying, “Ok kids, zip it! You’re so loud I can’t hear myself think!” I used to think that was so weird but now that I’m older and my ears are getting tired I completely understand what she meant!
Today is a snow day and I’m the only one home and it is so quiet! It’s so quiet in fact I sat in my prayer chair for an extra hour and it vanished like a minute. I learned something this week about this story from the first book of Kings. I had another post planned for today but things changed course as I enjoyed my hot coffee and quiet morning. God used a little boy this week to teach me how to hear his tiny whisper so he could answer a prayer.
We live in a world of noise, and God is waiting for us to quiet ourselves and listen to him but a kindergartener taught me this week that quieting ourselves means more than turning down the volume and zipping our lips. The kind of still God is asking involves not just our ears but also our mind and our heart. I’m one of those folks who have a really hard time turning off the world and its distractions. It seems like no matter how hard I try to sit still and be quiet, I still have thoughts bouncing in my mind like jumping monkeys. Sometimes I feel like the wind and the earthquake and the fire are all happening in my mind at one time. I think some days I try so darn hard to make it all quiet I end up adding a roaring freight train to all the other noise. During Lent it has been one of my goals to get better at hearing the tiny voice amidst the noise. I was at Mass Saturday evening and right before Communion I was praying that God would help me hear his tiny whisper. As I was praying, this beautiful little kindergarten boy who was sitting right in the pew in front of me was on his way up to the altar. His older brother who is one of my middle lovelies offered me the sign of peace on the way by and then his little brother did the same but then he turned back around, crawled up in the pew and gave me a giant hug. My heart was so full! On Monday I was heading to the office in a panic over something I forgot to take care of and this same little guy popped out of his classroom and came at me open armed with a giant hug. Not a word was spoken but I physically felt all the tension melt as I finished my walk to the office. At the end of the day I held open the doors so the kids could head to the bus and this same little guy rushed out toward the bus then doubled back and gave me a hug and showed me his wiggly tooth.
I’ve been praying about a big decision for a few weeks and really trying to hear God’s response to my prayer. It’s that time of year when we sign our letters of intent for next year and I was battling to decide whether God was calling me to stay in the classroom or whether he was inviting me to do full time ministry and writing. I was waiting for clarity amidst the fire, wind and earthquake but I just couldn’t find his will. I shared my dilemma with my principal and asked him to pray as well. I prayed that God would give me one swift sign so I could move on. That very next morning I was again walking through the halls, thoughts and tasks furiously rushing through my head and this little guy again appeared in the hallway and gave me a giant hug. This time he squeezed a little tighter and smiled a little bigger. That was the quiet whisper I’d been asking for. I realized that morning I hadn’t been listening the right way. As I looked back over the week, each time that little guy had given me a hug it had been so out of the blue and such a sweet surprise that time almost stood still. I realized that each time he had given me a hug I stopped thinking, worrying, rushing, fretting and planning. Each time he wrapped his little arms around me I felt such peace! I realized that once again God had used a child to show his love and grant his grace. Each hug made me pause and as I reflected on those brief pauses God’s whisper spoke to me and said; stay, rest here for a while longer.
What a week! We often hear that God cannot be outdone in generosity and love. He could have done a dozen different things to answer my prayers but he chose an adorable little boy with a wiggly tooth who gives world class hugs to soften my heart and open my ears to the quiet whisper of his will. The next time I’m trying to quiet the wind, fire and earthquakes that rage on around me I will remember those sweet hugs at the perfect time, then imagine the Father himself wrapping me in his embrace and I’ll let the world evaporate around me. Thank you Lord for the perfect example, image and answer to my prayer.
A Seed To Plant: Use this passage from 1 Kings to settle yourself in prayer and ask to hear his tiny whisper today.
Blessings on your day!
Just so, your light must shine before others, so they may see the good that you do and give glory to God. Matthew 5:16
I got stuck in a long grocery store line not long ago behind a couple folks who were apparently old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while. After the preliminary catch up, they began to carry on about the economy, government, gas prices, insurance costs and even proclaim that the human spirit wasn’t worth much anymore. One of the gentlemen talked about how hard it was to even get out of bed and deal with it all. The other man agreed and said he was glad he never brought children into this disastrous world. I nearly bit a hole right through my tongue trying not to jump in and point out a hundred places to find joy. I decided the better thing to do while I was standing there was to pray for them because I was afraid if I didn’t; the gloom would choke me to death before I paid for my bananas!
We can find most things we’re after if we just look hard enough. That includes good and bad stuff. The two men in the grocery store certainly had a radar lock on the bad stuff! I suppose there was some truth to their words but dad gum it, if the bad stuff is all you’re looking for, that will end up being all you see and pretty soon it clouds your vision completely. I live in the same world they were talking about but I’ve seen some pretty great stuff lately that trumps the bad stuff. I think it depends on where you’re looking and how your perspective is adjusted. Earlier this month at a school fundraising event, a couple hundred people opened their wallets and handed over more than twenty-five thousand dollars in a matter of minutes to make some necessary upgrades to the school. Just this week, I learned about a couple who donated all the milk and butter for a community fundraiser breakfast. Two weeks ago the middle lovelies and their families raised over $1,300 in 4 days to give to a young woman on her way to Haiti to do some mission work. She was able to place every penny into the hands of the priest and nuns caring for some of Haiti’s poor. I also recently heard a story about a woman whose husband was very sick and she mailed the car payment only to have the check returned with a note saying the balance on her vehicle had been paid. These are just a few examples of God’s goodness in the past couple weeks. It happens all the time…all over the country! Generosity is a beautiful and God inspired thing. You’ll be amazed how many times you see it when you begin to look for it.
The magic of this verse from Matthews Gospel is in the intention of the generosity and good works. The purpose of these words is to remind us that our goal in being generous and compassionate is to give glory to God not to ourselves. It’s not nearly as impressive or “Christ-like” when people feel the need to announce the good they do. That whole “toot your own horn” thing isn’t cool. What I love is when someone does a great good or beautiful service as a way to thank and praise the God who has blessed them. There is a lot of darkness in our world but we are called in this Gospel reading to be Christ’s light of goodness to those in need. See, the thing about light, it never touches just one thing…it spreads! The antidote to the gloom and darkness the men in the grocery store were talking about is the light of Christ and his goodness and kindness. Look around and see where you could spread a little of that light and compassion. The good that you do doesn’t have to be huge or costly, simple and sincere is just as powerful. Ask God to point out someone who could use a little “good light” in their life and then share a gift of time or talent with them as a way to give Glory to the Father. I guarantee your heart will be as bright as a sunny spring day if you praise Him in this way. We have to take some time to train our eyes to look for the light and goodness that surrounds us and if we can't see it, then it's our job to create it.
A Seed To Plant: Jot down the names of three people who are going through a tough time right now. Think of a simple “good” you can do for each of them. The second part of your homework is to make a list of all the “good things” you witness for a week.
Blessings on your day!
Wait for the Lord; be stouthearted and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
Being a teacher is such an awesome job! It’s hard, it’s demanding, it’s emotional, it’s miss-understood and at times underappreciated. In the course of one day we can experience drama, tears, anger, frustration, defiance, sass, broken zippers, wet pants and throw-up on your floor. We wipe tears and noses and glue stick out of hair. We soothe sad hearts, rumpled feelings, bruised egos and worried parents. We plan, prepare, teach, re-teach, cheer, cry and pray. We love our job because it matters, because we want to make a difference and because God gave us a gift and led us to our classroom. We don’t do it for the glamour or the pay; we do it because we want to help create a world full of smart, confident, faithful humans. We do it because it’s amazing in ways we can’t even describe. An outsider would see a dozen reasons not to love our job but we ignore most of those and choose to love our job for a hundred tiny reasons that most people wouldn’t even recognize. We love the pictures, notes, melty bead creations, hugs, smiles and the spark in a students eye when they finally start to “get it”! We love to see them develop, mature and outgrow bad habits. It really is the little things that keep us comin back each year. And of course we all LOVE a good snow day!
Snow days are exciting and are like a sweet little gift from God that comes wrapped with a note that says, just rest this day and recharge your batteries and catch up on your paper grading! Knowing how excited we get at the report of a possible big snow, you can probably understand our disappointment this year as we’ve watched each and every major snow day producing storm pass right above or below us here in mid-Michigan. We have only had ONE snow day all year…ONE! That’s crazy talk for this area folks! We love our job but that lovely little surprise day off here and there is enough to make you giddy! As we eek our way toward March the chances for a snow day are dwindling fast. I was pondering this the other day and realized it’s really ok because God is really smart and this year I just so happen to have my room full of middle lovelies I truly enjoy! They have spunk, spark, joy and they fill my days with laughter so I think I’d kinda miss them if we didn’t have school.
As I listened to the weather forecast for the next few days and realized we’d be in the 50’s by Friday it all hit me. What if God waits on us like teachers wait on snow days? What if he anticipated our coming and prepares for our arrival only to have us veer off in a different direction before we actually get to him. What if he’s ready to provide the same rest, surprise and rejuvenation that a snow day does but we never get close enough to crawl into his arms to take advantage of it? What if all we do is talk about it like a crazy weatherman talks about storms and never let our faith materialize? What if all we do is come close and then let the breeze of the day pull us away in a new direction instead of in HIS direction? I realized that as wonderful and exciting and surprising as a snow day is…God is WAYYY better so my goal is not for a SNOW day but to wake up each morning and pray for a HIS day!
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of all the things you are “anticipating”. Are they things that will lead you closer to or away from the Lord? Pray about your list and see if you can trade in some anticipation for some peaceful contentment.
Blessings on your day!
Come follow me. Matthew 4:19
As I walked outside on this sunny 1 degree day I was having thoughts of spring. My mind drifted back to mushroom hunting in the woods with my folks. I used to love tromping through the woods finding stuff. Sometimes I would hear my dad yell, “Don’t get too far ahead” or “hurry up you’re falling too far behind.” He wanted to make sure I didn’t wander off and get lost or travel into a spot that wasn’t safe. He loved having us outdoors with him and he wanted us to be safe; like all good fathers!
I’m in the middle of reading a really great book that has mentioned a similar sentiment a few times. In the book the author talks about all the times we try to manage things ourselves or bear the burdens of the day without calling out to God for help. He also talks about all the times we fail and fall and feel too embarrassed or ashamed to ask God for forgiveness thinking he will be so disappointed in us. The author proposes a beautiful counter thought to the negative stuff we often run through our heads. He uses the example of Jesus the Shepherd. He offers this thought, Jesus says stay with me little lamb, don’t run too far ahead where I’ve not prepared the path for you and don’t lag too far behind where you can’t see where I’m leading you. That just about sums up every low spot or difficulty in my life; all too often I’m the crazy little lamb that isn’t where I’m supposed to be!
If I walked in the woods with my dad today I wouldn’t leave his side. I’d be so interested in talking with him and searching for things together I wouldn’t want to explore on my own. I would want to take in all the love and lessons he had to share with me. I’d ask him questions; I’d soak up his knowledge and his experience and I would rely on him completely to show me the way. In fact, I think I would get so lost in just simply being with him I might not pay any attention at all to where we were, I’d just trust him completely and enjoy being with him knowing without a thought that we’d get safely back to the truck at the edge of the woods. I’d be the little lamb that didn’t get too far ahead or lag too far behind; right at his side is where I’d stay.
As all of this puddled through my mind on a freezing cold morning I realized that if I could trust my earthly father and want so deeply to go on another walk in the woods with him shouldn’t I want that same kind of walk with my Heavenly Father; shouldn’t it be as automatic and instinctive to stay right at his side. Of course it should but I’m really going to have to sit with this in prayer for a few days (or weeks) and figure out why I’m not the same little lamb with Him as I would be with my dad. One thing is for certain…this is not about the shepherd; it’s all about the little lamb!
A Seed To Plant: What kind of little lamb are you? Spend some time in prayer thinking about all the times you run ahead or lag behind and ask for the Shepherd to draw you to his side.
Blessings on your day!
The Lord has done great things, we are filled with joy! Psalm 126:2
Happy Lent! Now that wasn’t what you were expecting to read was it! Lent and happy don’t usually go in the same sentence for most folks. We tend to look at Lent as a season of discipline, denial, repentance and sacrifice; none of those being very pleasant thoughts. Maybe we need to look at Lent with a new perspective.
Each Tuesday in my classroom we have a Tuesday Tune. The songs I pick are meant to teach a lesson. I pick all kinds of music; Christian, Secular, rap, country you name it, it could be a Tuesday Tune. After we play it and watch the YouTube video that goes with it, the middle lovelies begin to pick it apart finding words and meanings that draw us closer to the Father. Sometimes we listen to the song as if we are singing it to Jesus or sometimes as if he’s singing it to us. I’m often very amazed at the meanings they draw from a simple song. In preparation for Lent I picked a really unique song this week. The song I chose was in a clip from Sister Act 2. It was the scene where Jamal and the choir sang O Happy Day. The beginning of the song is so hesitant and it seems like the characters are being forced into the performance and they have no enthusiasm or energy only blah and un-invested participation. As the song goes on however they pick up momentum and end the song with excitement, electricity and joyfulness. I asked the kids to compare their performance to Lent and they were full of ideas. The whole purpose of Lent is to draw nearer to Jesus…isn’t that sort of a happy, joyful thing? Hence, the song, O Happy Day because Ash Wednesday is just that…a happy day. It’s the day that begins a 40 day journey leading to an amazing place…the Pascal Mystery; the passion, death, resurrection and Ascension of Jesus.
Every act of sacrifice we make during Lent can be thought of as a gentle kiss on the cheek of the Savior we love. We aren’t expected to take the torture; He already did that for us, he is simply asking us to remove or at least try to go around or hop over those things that separate us from him. I thought as we began to think of Lent as a time of joyful preparation I’d offer just a few new things to “give up” during Lent. Pope Francis in his Tuesday morning tweet said: “Don’t give up booze, chocolate and carbs again, do something merciful and powerful!” So per his instruction, give these a try and…Happy Lent!
*Give away one thing each day of Lent (clothes, appliances, toys, books etc.)
*Give up the snooze button…go ahead and get up and use those 5 or 10 minutes to read the Gospels a little bit at a time.
*Give up being right and first…let others talk more, take a backseat or parking spot near the back of the lot.
*Give up some precious time…babysit someone else’s kids for free.
*Give up gossip, judging, complaining and frequently sharing your opinion.
*Give away flowers each week to someone who needs a boost.
*Give up a little hot water in your shower.
*Give some time to an elderly or lonely person, go for a visit and share a cup of coffee and pray together.
*Give up some texting and trade it for real phone conversation and end the chat with “God bless you”
A Seed To Plant: Go ahead…just try one of the things from the list. For a little extra Lenten joy, pick the one you think is hardest and start there. If you don’t like these google Lent ideas and you’ll find a zillion other choices. Just DO Lent joyfully and Easter will be amazing. Go to YouTube and watch Oh Happy Day to get yourself started!
Blessings on your day!
God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Psalm 46:1
Have you ever put something away in that “safe place” that you were sure was the perfect, logical spot only to spend a big chunk of time trying to recall just where that perfect spot was? I can’t even count the number of times I’ve muttered while searching high and low for that thing I put in the perfect place that I was sure to remember! It’s frustrating isn’t it! Very often when I do finally find it I think, “What on earth were you thinking…that wasn’t logical or memorable in the least!” I’m really glad I don’t have to search for God that hard, or find the perfect spot to store his love and affection.
So many times when I feel overwhelmed or pulled in too many directions I call out to God like he’s lost or something. “Dear God…where are you…I’m choking here…HELLO!!!” or “Hey God…woman in trouble here; can world peace wait a few minutes, I need you right now please!” I saw a cartoon featuring Mr. Magoo talking to a lamp post like it was a real person and it was so ridiculous it was funny. I wasn’t laughing so hard when I realized sometimes that must be what God feels like when he sees us throwing a hissy fit or calling out to him impatiently as if he’s on a long lunch and not fully aware of each and every one of our needs.
I’m not sure how many more years I need to wander this earth before I fully wrap my head around the fact that our God does not charge in on a white horse nor does he rein down thunder and lightning each time we call out his name for help. He is a God who comes in the quiet, like a still, small whisper. He doesn’t get lost, he doesn’t ignore, and he doesn’t come a minute too soon or a minute too late. The only walls I need him to bust down are the walls of my heart so I can trust, listen, love and hope harder each day. I don’t need to go around muttering to lamp posts or other inanimate objects expecting them to talk back, I just need to speak to Him in the quiet and know he hears me instantly. I don’t have to hide his contact information or keep him in a corner compartment “on hold” for when I might need him, I know where he is, I know that he hears me, I know that God is present even if all I hear is silence. After all, peace doesn’t mean trouble is absent, it just means God is present; without even tracking him down.
It’s been a loud, busy, crazy few weeks and I think I just needed to remember he is ever present and ever so easy to find. Maybe you needed that reminder today too.
A Seed To Plant: For 10 minutes; just be still and listen for the whisper!
Blessings on your day!
Let the little children come to me…Matthew 19:14
One of the greatest parts of moving from little lovelies to middle lovelies is that I get to be their Alpha and Omega. At least for a couple more years, each class that comes to me in 6th grade will be the same ones I started with in 1st grade. It’s so much fun to see how they grow and change from one end of the building to the other. The best part of all is to see how they have grown in their faith. Since its Catholic Schools Week I thought I’d just reflect on my awesome job a wee bit.
This verse from Matthew is the first scripture verse the first graders learn when they come to St. Mary’s school. They learn a new one each week but this is the one that reminds me that I am so lucky to be a Catholic School teacher. I get to point them to Jesus because He whispers “come to me!” The kids learn they are Jesus’ favorite and He hears their prayers first! They find that powerful knowledge and then we spend the rest of the years learning how to pray and live taking full advantage of that knowledge. I get to point out that the most important thing I can help them learn is how to get to heaven!
Throughout the years they will learn how to read; how to count and add…blessings as well as numbers. We learn to write the words that tell our stories and prayers that share our needs. We get to learn that some things in this world are completely amazing… like how frogs use their big eyes to swallow their food and how chicks have just enough room, food and air inside an egg to last exactly the 21 days it will take them to hatch. We learn that stuff like that can only be explained by the statement… “Only GOD could think of that!” We realize every single day that we don’t do the same things the same way as everyone else and that’s something to celebrate because that’s the way God planned it.
We learn that being part of a community is far more important than being independent. We learn that when we join together in prayer we have awesome power through Jesus. We learn that when we pray for others we become less selfish and when we see God working through our prayers we learn what it means to be humbly thankful. At St. Mary School we pray for all kinds of things; lost dogs, sick guinea pigs, sad hearts, bodies that are sick and hurt and friends and family on their way to join Jesus and the Communion of Saints. Through prayer we connect to people we’ve never met but they have let us know they are struggling and need our prayers. We don’t know their faces but we know they need our prayers so we join them in their most intimate place…their hearts, through our simple prayers for them each day. We feel the power of community as we join together each week for Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. We don’t understand all the mysteries of our faith but we look forward to knowing and understanding more.
One of the greatest parts of teaching in a Catholic School is watching the kids learn to call upon the Holy Spirit as they work hard to overcome the nerves from public speaking or test taking or being in a play for the first time. In first grade none of the middle lovelies were in the CSW talent show but this year every one of them had a role to play. They boys came dressed in tutus and neckties taking the stage with yoga balls, blenders, homemade robots and light sabers. They risked looking silly just to make the younger students laugh and show them what courage looks like. The girls took the stage to sing, act, dance like huge pillows and show off giant red lips and amazing facial expressions. They showed all the little girls what it looks like to use the gifts God gave you and find a way to make people smile even if you look a little silly doing it. I was so very, very proud of how much they’ve grown and how much they love life, and enjoy their role as the “big kids” in the building.
The middle lovelies are too old for show-and-tell but every day is like Catholic show-and tell for me. Every day I’m lucky enough to walk through the front door of St. Mary Catholic School I get to do show-and-tell for my Creator. I get to weave His amazing love and wonder into each and every thing I do! I get to see 260 lovelies through His eyes and teach them how to see each other the same way. I get to discipline by quoting loving words from scripture and bless children with Holy Water and prayers on difficult days. I get to demonstrate how virtues in action are more powerful than any words ever spoken. I get to show and tell about Christ’s mercy, forgiveness and grace. I get to see them progress from “Are we ‘gonna pray again?” in first grade to “We should put that on our prayer jar.” or “I wanna go to Adoration and maybe hear God’s voice like a whisper in my ear!” How lucky I am that God trusted me with this job and how lucky I am that He lets me come back day after day to try and get it right!
How lucky I am to work with the AMAZING staff at our school. How lucky I am to be led by a principal who is strong and faithful. How lucky I am to have a wonderful pastor who leads and loves our school. How lucky I am to teach in a community that is grateful and supportive. At this point in my writing I can hardly stop the tears of humble joy rolling down my cheeks…that’s how lucky I feel to be a part of Catholic education! That’s why I KNOW I am the luckiest woman drawing breath! Thank you God!
A Seed To Plant: What are you grateful for? Go ahead and make a list and if you can, thank a former teacher who touched your life.
Blessings on your day!
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34
Did you ever trade something from your lunch box when you were a kid? I remember trying to trade tuna salad on Friday’s but it never worked. Apples and oranges never seemed to give me much negotiation power either. I do remember the day I made the trade of the decade. On that memorable day mom put 2 fresh Chocolate Chip cookies in my lunch and I was able to trade them for a Twinkie! I was so thrilled and I couldn’t believe the kid fell for those homemade cookies while I walked away with that little package of golden deliciousness. I’d never had a Twinkie but they were store made; something we didn’t have at our house so I was sure they must be amazing! I took a bite and I was instantly disappointed but I didn’t let on! As the afternoon wore on I learned a valuable lesson about assuming things were better just because they looked fancy, expensive and well presented. That was the last time I ever made a lunch trade and I never told my mom what I’d done because I thought it would hurt her feelings. I also learned that day that homemade by hands that love you trumps everything so be very careful about the value of what you’re trading!
Since the disappointing Twinkie trade of the 70’s, I’ve become a much more skilled trader; I’m pretty good at not winding up with unwanted stuff. Recently I learned from a good friend that sometimes you actually can trade away negative things. I have some jealousy I’d like to get rid of but it isn’t one of those things somebody else wants so it often just sits around my heart and stinks things up. It causes me to judge and envy and resent sometimes. None of those things are attractive, productive or “disciple-ish” but I didn’t know what to do with it. That’s where my friend came to the rescue. She had one simple idea from a favorite Pastor and she gladly shared (not traded) the advice with me. She said that jealousy could be traded away to the Father who loved me with all His heart. The trade was simple; give him all my jealousy…in exchange for gratefulness.
It was that simple! The pastor told her that the bigger jealousy is the smaller our gratefulness is so you trade one for the other. I’ve been working with my new trade and it’s true. If I’m jealous about someone else’s stuff or opportunities then I’m not being grateful for my own. If I’m busy comparing my situation, bank balance or work load with the next person’s I’m not being grateful for all the blessings God has given me. When you look at it that way I realize how absolutely and completely LUCKY I am and that there isn’t one single thing in my life I’d trade for a fancier, more expensive, newer, and flashier ANYTHING! Grateful is way better than jealous. Reminds me of how much better mom’s cookies were than that stupid Twinkie. I may not have marble countertops but I have an awesome husband who is my rock. I may not have a dream vacation to take but I have three kids and a room full of middle lovelies that are greater than I ever dreamed. I may not have a closet filled with fancy clothes but my body is wrapped with little people hugs and the joy and love of a building full of kids each and every day. I may not have treasures to be sold but I have freedom, love, faith and a life I get to share with friends, family and a community I love. Jealous…that’s as crazy as a Twinkie snagged in a bad trade!
A Seed To Plant: Start a list of things you are grateful for! Include it all, big stuff, small stuff and everything in between. Keep the list handy and add to it every time you think of something and use it to help you trade the negative things; the things that pull us away from the love of the Father.
Blessings on your day!
Sheri's writing can also be found at Faith Catholic Publications and on CatholicMom.com