by Robyn Ferradas
For those of you who follow me on social media, you know my family is in the middle of a very unique season. It’s a place I never thought I’d ever be in, and I’ll be honest with all of you…it’s HARD. I know it’s God’s leading and I know that God is directing our path, but this does not make it any less difficult to walk through on a daily basis. I am a firm believer that life moves in seasons, and that circumstances come and go – nothing stays the same and God has something amazing to teach us in each season of life. I know this. I know He is faithful. Yet is still hard.
The beginning of this new path for us had me filled with anxiety. Have you been in that place before? Not the normal everyday worries of life. The BIG worrying. I was having so much anxiety, my stomach was in knots, I was having headaches and using the bathroom constantly, and I could not even eat. I felt like the stress was taking over, filling my mind and heart and body ALL DAY LONG. I was praying and reading the Word and meditating on my favorite passages, but deep down, I still felt defeated each and every single day. I just could not shake it, for week and weeks on end.
But then came Philippians 4, a passage I’ve read a zillion times over, but that God spoke into my heart in a fresh way: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgivinglet your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV, emphasis added).”
Just the two words I need to hear: WITH THANKSGIVING. How had I not put much emphasis on that portion of the passage before? When I’m struggling with all the hard things in life, how can I find a reason to rejoice? God tells me: BE THANKFUL! In the midst of the offering my requests up to Him, I should also have a heart of gratitude for my many blessings, rather than a heart only focused on the challenges and difficulties. Yes, He wants me to ask Him for what I need and come to Him with everything I’m going through. However, balancing that with thankfulness for what He is already doing, is the key to finding joy and peace in my life.
So I changed my time with the Lord. Rather than sitting in front of my journal each morning, paralyzed with anxiety about all of the uncontrollable and negative and unknown, unable to tune it all out, I started by writing down a list of that day’s blessings. When the worries would begin to bubble up inside my heart during the day, I’d stop and count my blessings and recall His faithfulness. And friends, the stress I was carrying in my soul and mind and body began to release. I’m not saying it’s totally gone – I’m only human. But God is gracious and kind to equip me with a strategy to battle that anxiety! Gratitude has been my secret weapon.
All of this is the reason for November’s monthly signs. You might have heard Rend Collective’s new song, “Counting Every Blessing,” and these two seasonal designs incorporate BOTH the lessons God is teaching me, and Rend Collective’s encouraging words about God’s goodness in every season of life. My prayer is that you will also find ways to see God’s blessings in your life, no matter what season you happen to be walking through. Starting each day with a grateful heart WILL give you a reason to rejoice.