Finding Joy in Unplanned Circumstances - Encouragement for Today - May 5, 2015

Melissa Kruger

MAY 5, 2015

Finding Joy in Unplanned Circumstances
Melissa Kruger

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

Early in the morning I approached his crib. Already dressed for my busy day, I greeted him with a smile.

As I took him in my arms, he responded by throwing up all over me. My recently blown-out hair hung limp and my better-than-usual-somewhat-clean-clothes absorbed the rest.

No. No. No. I thought to myself. I have important things to do today. I’m supposed to teach Bible study this morning. I’ve prepared all week just to be ready. Why did the stomach bug have to come today? All that work for nothing.

Discontent welled in my heart as a sigh escaped my lips.

Grumbling to myself, I called a friend asking her to lead the group in my place. Glancing at my notes as I emailed them to her, one of the verses I’d been preparing to teach grabbed my attention.

"Rejoice always … Give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18a).

All means all. How many times have I told my children that very thing? When I ask them to put away all of their toys, I mean all of them (especially those small toy cars precariously situated on the stairs that I walk up and down all day).

When God asks me to "give thanks in all circumstances," He means all, too. Even when it means my hopes for the day are rearranged from doing something for which I planned, prepared and prayed. Something that seemed like a good thing to do.

At that moment, two options lay before me. I could nurse my frustrations, reciting the difficulties and disappointment, or I could choose to give thanks. As I peeled off layers of my pungent clothing and my son’s, the temptation to complain seemed pretty appealing. Wouldn’t I rather just stew a little while and enjoy a nice warm cup of self-pity?

I’d gone this path plenty of times and knew the outcome of inward grumbling. The meditations of my heart eventually become the words of my mouth. Sharp tones, angry words and impatient sighs overflow when I hold fast to my plans rather than accept the Lord’s plan for my day.

Quietly the truth that had been marinating all week took the arduous journey from my head to my heart. While I prepared all week to teach others, in actuality God was teaching me. The stomach bug was my classroom and thanksgiving the lesson.

All God asks of us is to do whatever task He gives with a thankful, rejoicing heart. Isn’t this exactly what we’d like our children to do? We care about their attitude as much as their obedience. Just as I’m in the process of parenting my children, the Lord is in the process of parenting me. And by trusting Him, I can face the unwelcome moments of mothering with joy and peace.

My son’s illness was not an unnecessary inconvenience, getting in the way of more important things. The mundane task of cleaning up was just as valuable as teaching a group of women. Loving my son in the midst of his sickness was the most important ministry God had for me that day.

By God’s grace, I let go of my plan. I held my son tightly, rejoicing in the gift I’d received.

Another woman could lead Bible study that morning, but I was the only woman in the entire world who could enjoy being this little boy’s mommy. I savored the sweetness of his clean skin, the tenderness of his embrace.

In the midst of circumstances I wouldn’t have chosen, choosing to give thanks led to the experience of joy.

Lord, I can so easily hold onto my plans and purposes for my day. So often when I pray "Thy will be done," I really just want my own will to be done. Help me loosen my grip on my plans and cling more tightly to You. Give me a thankful, rejoicing heart in all things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 19:21, "Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails." (NIV)

Colossians 3:17, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Struggling to spend time with God in the midst of the busyness of the mothering years? Whether you’re parenting a toddler or a teen, Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood is an 11-week Bible study that provides daily nourishment and refreshment from God’s Word.

To read more about trusting God when you find yourself at the end of your rope, visit Melissa Kruger at her blog, Wit’s End.

Enter to WIN a copy of Walking with God in a Season of Motherhood by Melissa Kruger. In celebration of this book, Melissa’s publisher is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here, letting us know why you’d like a copy for yourself OR whom you would give the book to, if you won. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one, by Monday, May 11.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What would it look like for you to trust God with all of your plans today?

How would giving thanks in the midst of unwelcome circumstances change your experience of them? How would it change your attitude?

Take the time to list out 5 (or more) specific things you can thank God for today. Remember to give Him thanks in all circumstances.

© 2015 by Melissa Kruger. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

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