Disappointment or Gratitude

Lately we’ve been hit by multiple unexpected expenses that have thwarted our efforts to be “gazelle intense” and become debt free. It’s been discouraging, to say the least.

Each time our budget has been assaulted by these unwanted expenses, it has been tempting to complain, to whine, to say “this isn’t fair – we’re doing everything right, so why is this happening?” It would be justified to allow ourselves to feel badly about it and to feel defeated.

But, as I’ve been diving in and studying Scripture in preparation for writing a Bible study, I’ve been reminded (over and over) about how the Israelites lived life in the Old Testament. They focused on the past, on what they had in Egypt (conveniently forgetting that they were SLAVES and were mistreated and miserable), on what they lacked instead of all that God had provided. In short, we shouldn’t follow their example.

Their attitude would have been so different if they had only focused on all that God was doing, all that He had provided. He rescued them from slavery and did miracle after miracle. He literally rained food down for them every day. They could SEE His presence as they traveled. And yet they whined and complained because they wanted more. 

In light of this, I’ve been focusing on what God is doing and not what I wish He’d do.

When we realized how close it was going to be, I told Brennan that we had a choice to make: we could be disappointed because this unexpected expense was preventing us from putting money into savings and we’d have to have a super tight budget, OR, we could be thankful that God had given us exactly what we needed to pay this expense AND our normal bills/needs.

We chose to be grateful.

This doesn’t mean we didn’t waver; it took many reminders to shift our perspective back to gratitude. It took encouraging each other when we felt defeated. It took remembering God’s faithfulness over and over.

Though we didn’t know how we’d make it to the end of the last pay period, He provided. We had just enough to pay our bills, we had just enough food to get by (even though it wasn’t the healthiest of choices), and we survived. I cannot tell you how amazing it felt to shop on pay day and get everything we had been needing. It felt like a gift, like such a burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I was so excited about God’s provision. I didn’t take it for granted.


One of the reasons we love budgeting is because it’s a twice-monthly reminder that God always provides for our needs. I fill in the spreadsheet with our bills and needs prior to knowing our income; and EVERY time, God provides. It may not be in excess of our needs, but we are always able to eat, give, and pay our bills. And for that we are abundantly thankful.

Where is your focus today? Are you lamenting over what you do not have, or are you praising the Lord for what you do have?

Perspective is everything, and when you are filled with gratitude for all the Lord has done, that’s worship.

 

Respect is For Everyone

I’ve recently been in a mildly frustrating situation on a weekly basis. Tonight I decided to say something to try to change it, and it wasn’t well-received. Well, it may have been but only time will tell.

After weeks of listening to these women complain, sigh (the worst part), have side-conversations while the leader is talking, and essentially act like middle schoolers (an age group with which I am very experienced), I finally confronted them.

There were two things that kept me from saying something weeks ago: my age (they are at least 30 years older than me) and my time in this organization (less than two months) compared to their tenure. I wasn’t sure that it was my place, even though their disrespect for the leader was frustrating me as they sit right behind me and I could hear every word, every sigh. Their negativity is contagious and I found myself feeling uncomfortable about being happy there.

Tonight, I just couldn’t take it anymore and I turned around to ask them to stop. All I said was, “All I hear you three do is complain.” The ringleader said, “I’ve been in this organization for thirty years so it’s my right to complain. Turn around.”

Had we not been in the middle of the meeting I might have said more.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a part of something – you still have to be respectful. If you don’t respect the leader, then leave. Those who have been there for decades should be an example for those of us who are new, those who will keep things going into the future instead of criticizing everything the leader does.

It doesn’t matter how old you are – respect should be shown to and expected from everyone in an organization such as this. Being older doesn’t mean that you can do as you please. It’s not only disrespectful to the leader, but it’s also disrespectful to those around you. Again, you have the opportunity to be an example – be a good one.

Change is NOT all bad. The leader of this organization is new this year, but he has decades of experience. They don’t like the changes he is bringing (and I hear about every little dislike week after week), but they are good changes. Necessary changes. They aren’t even giving him a chance to prove himself, or to see how these changes play out. They are automatically against it because “this isn’t how we’ve always done things.” That’s my least favorite phrase, by the way. If nothing ever changed, life would be boring. Nothing would ever improve. Change can be GOOD.

I share this experience because these truths are universal. We can all stand to show a little more respect, especially as followers of Jesus. People are watching us, watching how we act and react. Make sure they are seeing Jesus in you at every opportunity.

They didn’t complain for the rest of the evening, so we will see if my simple sentence made an impact. For now, however, I’m resolving to remember to be respectful myself.

 

Krabbe Awareness Month: Day Thirty

Krabbe Awareness - 30

We hope you’ve learned something new this month, but we also hope that you’ve been moved to take action.

What can you do?

  • Write/call your legislators. It only takes a few minutes, and it can make a huge difference.
  • Donate to organizations like Hunter’s Hope so that they can continue funding the Leukodystrophy Care Network and supporting affected families.
  • Read (and tell others about) my book, Even So, Joy: Our Journey Through Heartbreak, Hope, and Triumph. We want Tori’s story to continue to touch lives and it means so much when we hear about others reading it.

 

Scars

I remember the doctor asking me if I would be okay with an eight inch scar on my forearm.

I was seventeen, after all. Most teenage girls would probably stare at him incredulously for even suggesting such a thing.

I had a choice: vanity/pride and continued pain, or a huge scar and healing.

I answered without hesitation: yes. Yes, I was okay with it. Yes, do it, please.

That scar brought healing, not shame. It brought relief to pain that had plagued me for four years at that point – pain that had left me unable to play piano, write, and so much more.

I didn’t care what my arm looked like – I only cared what it felt like. I cared about regaining strength and dexterity, I cared about getting my life back to normal.

Two months later, I would emerge from surgery with a Nike sign on my right forearm, eight inches long, just like he said. And I rejoiced.

That scar brought me freedom. It brought me healing. It gave me my full life back.


All of us have scars – physical and emotional. Some make us feel ashamed, some bring laughter, all contain a story – telling how we became who we are today.

We have a choice to make: we can be thankful for these scars (thanks to my favorite band, I Am They for a great song about just that), thankful for these journeys and stories that God has used to make us more like Him and to bring healing and freedom; or we can hide them in shame, not allowing God to do what only He can do with them.

Your scars may be someone else’s healing. Someone’s freedom. Someone’s answer.

Don’t hide them in shame. Allow God to work through you. Tell your stories and watch Him in awe. And then thank Him all over again for His grace and goodness as you watch Him, yet again, bring good from something that was not.


Had I chosen vanity over healing, I can’t imagine what my life would be like now. I’m thankful that I chose the path of freedom, even though it wasn’t easy.

This applies spiritually, emotionally, physically, relationally.

Choose freedom. Choose healing. Let go of pride – it’s so much better to have the scar than to have the pain. After all, scar tissue is stronger than unscarred skin. Scars represent a fight, a fight that you WON.

Let God work in you, even if it’s not comfortable. It will all be worth it, I promise.