How I Kicked Trouble In The Teeth

Count it all joy?

Mr. 4-Ever and I had been in the car for 5 minutes of a 12 hour trip when a car pulled into our path and Dave had to make a quick adjustment to save our lives. Unfortunately, I was drinking a large bottle of frappuccino and when he made his heroic maneuver, and I spilled half the cold, sticky, sugary drink down my front. It splashed into my hair, dripped off my necklace, and soaked my top down to my bra!

Count it all joy?

Earlier that week, on a trip to Florida, I felt something hard in a mouthful of pudding. When my tongue kicked the hard thing out onto my hand, it was the crown from my front tooth! I was 1700 miles away from my dentist with a scheduled speaking event the next day.

Count it all joy?

The same week, an email from the publisher started with,
“Hi Dave and Robyn, I’m sorry to tell you that the truck carrying 5000 of your “The Widow Wore Pink” books to the distribution center caught on fire and ALL of them burned.

Count it all joy?

Girls! Do you have days, weeks or seasons like this? How do you face bad news and big inconveniences?

Stuff happens. And when it does, God’s Word says to count it all joy.

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Thankfulness Is Key To A Better Life

Want a longer life, better relationships and improved health? Be thankful! 

When my kids were little, it was important to instill the character quality of being thankful in them. They were prompted to say thank you to anyone who served them or gifted them. Their prayer time always started with a long and creative list of thank yous. As they grew, they thanked bus drivers for shuttling them, the cafeteria workers for doing the dishes and tow truck drivers for being so prompt. 

Being thankful has myriad benefits.

Being thankful rewards us with better health, cheerier dispositions and deeper, more meaningful relationships.

Thankful people enjoy a stronger sense of well-being, suffer fewer symptoms of depression and are less likely to seek revenge against others. They are more likely to have empathy for others.

We are told in Scripture, “In everything give thanks.” It is a directive straight from God, recorded by Paul. It is a divine expectation.

So how do you develop a habit of thankfulness?

1. Go without.

To gain a whole new level of appreciation and accelerate your thankfulness, go without something you take for granted!

Spend one day doing without food or electricity or hot water. Sleep on the floor a night or two. Give up sugar or coffee for a day or two. Spend a day or a week without television or radio or internet. Trust me, going without jumpstarts thankfulness.

2. Speak out thankfulness.

If you’re not ready to forego running water … spend a bit of time every day thanking God. You can speak it out or journal it, but see how many items you come up with. These are the first 25 in my journal.

  1. My salvation through Jesus’s death and resurrection.
  2. Mr. 4-Ever.
  3. The kids.
  4. My moms and dad.
  5. Holy Spirit guidance.
  6. Flannel sheets, slinky sheets and clean sheets.
  7. Heat in my house.
  8. A closet full of clothing.
  9. The color green.
  10. In house refrigerator, washer, dryer, garbage disposal.
  11. The work and ministry I do.
  12. All the safety I enjoy every day.
  13. The bills that are paid.
  14. My family of origin.
  15. The taste of raspberries.
  16. Freedom to vote.
  17. Ability to read.
  18. Coffee, tea, soda pop.
  19. Clean water – hot and cold.
  20. Medicine.
  21. First responders.
  22. Dogs and Cats and pets of all kinds.
  23. Mail service.
  24. Music.
  25. Kissing.

Thanking God reminds us of God’s faithfulness to us and the authority he holds in our lives.

3. Be thankful in all things – even if they’re hard.

Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, wrote: “The best way to demonstrate faith is to say ‘Thank You.'”

You don’t have to be thankful FOR rotten things, but you can and should be thankful in the midst of them. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”

Find the silver lining. Look for the small bright spot in the situation. I call these lousy tradeoffs. When my kids moved out, I suffered in my empty nest, but then I realized how clean my house stayed – lousy tradeoff. In my grief after my man died, I lost all the weight I’d fought against for a decade – lousy tradeoff. When my mom was hospitalized with cancer, I got to spend lots of time with her – lousy tradeoff. All these hard seasons had a spot of hope or joy in the midst of them.

Thankfulness is character building and leads to a better emotional state, improved relationships, and clearer understanding of God’s heart.

Friend, I wish you the very best Thanksgiving. I hope your jello set sand your marshmallows don’t burn. May your turkey get done on time and be juicy and delicious. Let the people at your table encounter Christ through you. Spread thankfulness habitually!

In the comments below tell me what you do or you’re going to do to develop thankfulness.

3 Steps To Contentment

Do you ever have what my friend Lauren calls a MOMENT?

You know what I mean? Everything is just “fine” and then something hits you sideways and you have a MOMENT. Maybe you had a Facebook moment when you saw that you weren’t included in a party or conversation or outing. Maybe you had a home improvement moment as you watched all the options HGTV had to offer. Maybe you had a Pinterest moment when you tried your best to recreate the image on your computer screen and it was an unrecognizable failure.

Maybe it was your car, your house, your kids, your boss, your husband, your scale, or your mirror … and you just had a MOMENT! The MOMENT dissolved your contentment.

My most recent moment. 

My MOMENT came at the Tax Guy’s office. As he looked over all my documents, his mouth tightened into a disapproving grimace. “Robyn, I know this God thing is important to you, but I have to tell you that at your age, you should be thinking about your future. You need to get a real job.”

Ugh.

I explained how faithful God continues to be and even though the numbers may not show it, I am experiencing his peace and pleasure as I partner with him to proclaim Jesus’ name and teach the Bible from coast to coast.

Don’t let this happen to you!

As I left his office, my Contentment asked my Confidence for a date and they took off for parts unknown. The evil twins, Discouragement and Dissatisfaction, moved in to take their place.

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