I was having a little trouble feeling thankful this holiday season. In November, the month of Thanksgiving. When everyone is posting daily thanks in their statuses. Not that I didn’t do this. I have much to be thankful for. I have beautiful sons, a warm cozy house, an income, friends and family, a sweet kitty.
But I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling of discontentment.
You see, there are some things I want. And I don’t have them. Not really object to be held in hand, but that doesn’t matter. I was a pouting preschooler. I want! I want! I want!
As if this whiny attitude wasn’t bad enough, I just had to add something else. Jealousy…maybe? You see, I know someone who has some of these things I desire.
The question of ‘maybe’ is one of semantics. And one which I played with for some time.
Let’s take a look at the words: jealous, covetous, and envious.
Jealous is wanting something rightfully yours. “Jealous for his wife’s affections”, “Jealous God” (He’s not whining about wanting your mocha!)
Coveting is wanting something not yours, but not necessarily to deprive another.
Envious is wanting something not yours, and wanting to deprive another of it.
I can tell you I was not envious. But I cannot with certainty tell you I was only jealous. I did not desire to deprive this person of what they worked so hard for. And it could be possible to someday have them too. But were they mine? I was feeling discontent.
So I prayed. I asked God to take away these feelings. And I asked for forgiveness. For my feeling of jealousy, for my feeling of discontent. And yet they lingered still.
And then He spoke. On the way to Thanksgiving Eve service. Although I only had two of my guys with me, I am so glad His words to my heart can drown out a van full of boys!
He reminded me of a few things:
When I was a teen, I thought my testimony wasn’t “cool”. Other kids spoke of the Lord pulling them from lives of abuse, drug use, promiscuity. I had been raised in a believing home, ,with wonderful, caring, involved parents. I was a “good girl”. Poor grades and a potty mouth at school were as bad as it got. My story was booo-ring!
And He spoke to me. This is His plan, not mine. He gave me this family, He wrote my testimony. Witnessing is telling what I have seen and what I have heard, how I have experienced the Lord working in my life. And that is always awesome, because my God is an awesome God!
Then I was a young mom. And somehow this idea formed in my head, one must be quiet and mousy to be a Godly woman. Anyone who knows me, know I am not mousy, and I am certainly not quiet. Pretty much just the opposite. I laugh loudly, I overshare, I am in-your-face! Always the social child, “a delight to have in class”, but a little too talkative. I was once reprimanded by the elementary school librarian, AS AN ADULT, for chatting too loudly with the other parent volunteer. How could I ever be be quiet?
And He spoke to me. He made me, and He doesn’t make mistakes. I am His creation, complete with an outspoken manner, a need to be social, and a crazy laugh! Again, this is His plan, not mine.
Present day: I am the mom of five beautiful boys. One of our boys has special needs, so much of my life centers around them and our home. Anything we do has to be measured against how it affects this child’s needs. Some days are smooth sailing, it almost seems as though they are all typical children. Then there are the days when his needs are all encompassing. And I think about the things I would like to do outside of the home…work outside the home, go to grad school…but cannot. And I start feeling discontent, jealous, even resentful.
And then He spoke to me. This is where He put me. He gave me these boys, and He gave me to them. And maybe those things I want might happen one day, and maybe not; and that’s ok. Because this is His plan, not mine. His will is that we “be thankful in all circumstances”. Not just when things are going our way, when we get what we want. That’s easy! But thankful when we aren’t getting our way, when we aren’t getting what we want, when we don’t understand. And this is hard.
On that evening, on the drive to Thanksgiving Eve service, God answered my prayers. He reminded me of who I wa:, His child! His creation! He lifted away the feelings of discontent, of jealousy, and He replaced them with joy, and the peace that passes all understanding and a spirit of Thankfulness.