Every year, we spend a week in the mountains in a house kindly provided by the church my husband and I serve. It’s the highlight of my year: spending a week with my family, resting and recovering from the busyness of life, soaking myself in views of rivers and mountains and trees.
One year the usual house wasn’t available. Like a petulant, spoiled child missing out on her favorite treat, I moaned to my husband, “But this is my week off! I love that house! The other house looks like it doesn’t have any views! This is so unfair!” (I know, it’s a pretty pathetic attitude when we’ve been given so much.)
Our children felt the same. As we drove away for our holiday, they whined, “But I love that other house! Why do we have to stay in a different one? It’s not fair!”
Me? I hate change, and I wasn’t enjoying anticipating this one. But I was determined my mouth would be full of thankful words, even if my heart wasn’t. “God has given us this house. He knows what’s best for us! It’ll be different from the other house, but I’m sure it will be good in its own way. Let’s be thankful and cheerful, not whiny!” The kids were unconvinced, but hopefully they learned a little bit about being thankful.
And me? My words of thankfulness changed my heart. The unhappiness which would normally overcome me at the sight of a tiny garden, no views, a small living room, and new sleeping arrangements (I told you I don’t like change!) were replaced with feelings of cheerfulness and hopefulness.
God answered my prayers for renewal and refreshment. I spent many a precious hour walking, breathing deeply of the chilly air, gazing at winter-bare trees and cloud-topped mountains. My heart brimmed and overflowed with thankfulness.
Ever noticed how the words you speak make their way into your heart?
Jean lives in Melbourne, Australia, where her husband teaches the Bible to university students. They have four children: one girl and three boys. When Jean isn’t busy being a wife, mum and homemaker, she loves teaching women the Bible and encouraging them to grow in godly womanhood. She speaks at women’s retreats and conferences, and writes for her blog, in all honesty, and for the Christian magazine The Briefing and their blog Sola Panel. Every day, God grows her deeper into his grace.
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