Hail today, rain yesterday on a day we had planned a picnic with friends (of course we went still), school again on Monday (and homework to finish), piles of washing, endless tidying; add those together and you get a grumpy, stressed, cold, moany couple of days!
B & I were just thinking before sleep (11:45pm and she’s almost there now!) About how God’s people were so grumpy in the desert after God rescued then from Egypt. It made us smile to realise how silly they were, how quickly they forgot everything God has shown them he could do to look after them; parting the sea, clouds & pillars of fire to guard & guide, water out of rocks & food falling like rain just for them!
Then we got chatting about how like them we are sometimes. The challenges, the disappointments, the way things don’t work out how we expect of plan, that difficult event looming that we are dreading – all of these things can fill our attention & our energy so much that we forget to even look for the gifts from God in it all – to recognise the ways He makes sure we have what we really need (& much much more), to see His protection and guidance, to see how far He is taking us, step by step, away from everything that tries to keep us ensnared & feeling far from God’s love. A friend once challenged me to get better at this – to grow in thankfulness, and saying thank you. I often feel I have taken great strides in it, then I read passages like this & realise I have such a long way still to go… so much more to learn…
Sitting here now I can immediately see there’s another view of the last few days. It was bright, hot even for a couple of days at the start of the week & with no school, & no groups for me we got out in our garden & I (with help of course!) built a greenhouse that someone gave us out of the blue last autumn. We have met up with friends, tackle a few of the tidying/cleaning jobs that never get to the top of the list usually, played, pottered, eaten well, even had proper lie ins on a few of the mornings! And our picnic in the rain was with lovely friends & undercover – yes cold, but dry & fun. It was a really great day out, with lots of opportunity to really talk to each other as the kids played (actually really well!). The week has been generously scattered with really lovely gifts from God like rain refreshing a desert.
I asked B, ‘what can I do to get better at this?’, ‘don’t know?’ she said.
We wondered together about ‘collecting things’ in each day that we can thank God for. How perhaps if we did it together as a family, it would push us to really try, and that by trying every day we would slowly begin to do it out of habit. I remember reading something (perhaps when looking for Lent activities, can’t remember) about families collecting thanks in a jar, then making it a special family time of thankful remembering on the day the jar was emptied. I’m sure in my memory it was something done over a whole year, and opened as part of marking New Year together. B & I both agreed a year might be too much for us. ‘We might be able to do a week?’, she said. We liked the idea. ‘We could open it at Sunday tea,’ I said, ‘and each bring something to put in the jar each tea time this week.’
Think we will ask what people think tomorrow & then go hopefully go for it! First week back at school after a break seems a good week to be reminded… we all find it tough.