Celebrate His Promises
Princes persecute me without reason,
but my heart remains true and is awed by Your words.
I celebrate because of Your promise,
like someone who discovers great treasure.
I despise and abhor lies,
but I love Your law.
Seven times every day I praise You
because of Your right rulings.
Psalm 119:161-164 The Voice
It was my freshman year in college. I was 500 miles from home and looking forward to a long weekend home for Easter. I was packed to go and even had riders to take the trip with me. I woke up Thursday morning for my last day of classes and there was snow on the ground. I received a call from my father in Wisconsin. He strongly suggested that I not come home because the weather between Kentucky and Wisconsin was pretty severe.
I was so heart broken. I had had a long year fighting home sickness and I really wanted to go home. Dejected, I went to my first class. Being at a Christian college, the professor always opened class with prayer. That is, he always asked a student to pray. That morning, he asked me to pray.
I wondered, “How on earth could I pray?” I was so disappointed that I was not going to be able to go home. We all bowed our heads…
“Lord, thank you for the beautiful snow…”
I’m not sure what else I said. I was shocked to hear myself say it. Certainly, I was not thankful for the snow. It was the cause of my demise.
It’s hard to be thankful when you are in the midst of trials. Your mind is so centered on your trouble, you can’t really think of anything else. But maybe praise and thankfulness is what helps ease our mind. Maybe it is what helps us make it through. Maybe the way to keep from spiraling down into despair is to continually have His praises on our heart and our mind.
Soon after the start of my chronic pain. I was introduced to the writings of Ann Voskamp. You have probably seen to droves of Thankful posts on Facebook during November. When I realized that this came from Ann, I decided to read her book, A Thousand Gifts. I was challenged to list three blessings every day for an entire year. That was the beginning of the return of smiles in the midst of the pain. It truly does make a difference to begin listing the things I am grateful for.
As the women’s director, I challenged all the ladies at church to take the Joy Dare with me. Several did it along with me. One couple shared with me several times how not only did the Joy Dare make them stop and think of things they were grateful for, but also, gave them laughter. The prompts weren’t always easy to find answers to, but they would laugh trying to think of ideas. What a blessing.
You have probably seen these Joy Dare prompts on Facebook. Go download them and begin your own journey to joy today! It will change your life as it did me and my friends. And as it did for Ann.
Notice again the last line of the scripture above. The Psalmist says he gave praise to God SEVEN TIMES A DAY. Wow! Seven times. I know I'm behind.