Sunday, November 20, 2011

Just Grateful

"When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,"

This is a hymn sung often in our church. So much so that it is one I have memorized. There was a day recently when I was feeling especially 'tossed on life's billows'.  I was discouraged and though I didn't think all was lost, it was close.  The frustrations and difficulties had ganged up on me and beaten me down till I couldn't stand up straight.  It was a bad day.
As I left an appointment that hadn't gone well, I began to pray.  I pray a lot in my car, mostly when I'm alone (or when one of my teeangers is driving).  I find it a good time to express myself to my Father in Heaven, no distractions.  This day, I began by asking what to do. The trial I was facing seemed so encompassing and I really didn't know what my next step should be. I poured out my heart and begged for something, anything to help.  I didn't get any great 'instant' inspiration and I cried as I drove.  Then, I thought of Thanksgiving and I began doing what the next line in the song suggests-

"Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done."

I started thanking God for the blessings in my life.  I began with my husband and children and went on from there.  The tears continued, but they changed from desperate to cleansing, a baptism of gratitude.  I cried because I am so very blessed. I arrived home, renewed and ready to face whatever obstacles awaited.  Because, in a world filled with heartache and want, I have so much.  Yes, life is hard.  We each have our own weights to bear. But, gratitude-expressed to God and those around us- can make those burdens light.  They may not go away, but our ability to lift them, to continue onward, will increase. 

“In some quiet way, the expression and feelings of gratitude have a wonderful cleansing or healing nature. Gratitude brings warmth to the giver and the receiver alike…Gratitude, expressed to our Heavenly Father in prayer for what we have, brings a calming peace, a peace which allows us to not canker our souls for what we don’t have. Gratitude brings a peace that helps us overcome the pain of adversity and failure. Gratitude on a daily basis means we express appreciation for what we have now without qualification for what we had in the past or desire in the future.”  (Elder Robert D. Hales)



(Read Elder Hales talk here.)

(Song, 'Count Your Blessings' written by Johnson Oatman Jr. Complete song lyrics here.)

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