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It was the last couple of weeks before school was to start and we were all anxiously waiting until Dad got home from work. The class lists were posted determining which class we would be in for the coming school year. Once Dad got home we’d all go take a look at the door of the Elementary school, and see what teacher we had and if any of our friends were in the same class as us.
I had hoped and prayed to get one teacher in particular. I had my heart set on being in her class. She seemed fun, laidback, and eager to help me when I got confused. However, God had other plans. Of all the teachers that I could have been given, I got the only one I didn’t want. My feelings were hurt and I was angry, to say the least. I vividly remember going home and sobbing because I didn’t get my way.
I think I was around 9 years old that Summer and that school year was the WORST I ever had.
There was A LOT more that went on that year than I will ever understand. Yes, this particular teacher had her issues but I was far from being innocent. I went into that class determined that I was going to have a bad year. And I did. It didn’t matter that Mom and Dad went and had discussions with other faculty about the issues that I was having. Or that Mom helped me to understand what I was doing wrong when I came home distraught and hopelessly confused…
That year in Elementary school would be the year that my “thorn” would take root (see 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
Over the years I’d try conquering this bad attitude but nothing would really stick. I didn’t try hard enough to change what it was I was thinking about. Or simply I just didn’t think that my attitude was really that bad. I mean, everyone has their issues right? It wasn’t until last year that I was able to really begin to SEE the damage that this bad attitude of mine was causing and I didn’t like who I was becoming. So, I decided to do something about it.
Mom had been telling me for years to change my thought process. Every time I’d get worried I’d remind myself that God is good and that He is here working–even if I didn’t always see it. I’d remind myself of all the little ways that God continued to show up even when life was uncertain.
When January came around I took more of Mom’s advice. Writing down 4 or 5 things each morning that I was thankful for and actually THANKED God for those blessings. Then each night in my journal I write 3 things I’m thankful for each day.
We recently ordered a few new inspirational/Bible study books, one of them is titled “In the Middle of the Mess” by Sheila Walsh. While the book deals mainly with combatting suicidal thoughts, something that I have not struggled with; I found several truths/tidbits of wisdom that helped to cement things that Mom had been telling me for years.
The book showed me how to use Scripture as a weapon, encouraged me to tell God what was really on my mind, and reshaped my idea of community…
Toward the end of the book she briefly mentions the Armor of God passage found in Ephesians 6:14-17. I love the Narnian visual she uses to explain the way that we can use the Word of God as a weapon against temptation. “…the word Paul uses for sword…is the Greek word machairan, used for a short sword or dagger…a more personal weapon, one used in hand-to-hand combat…The word used for word of God is the Greek word rhema. This is a word used for a short phrase…We combat the enemy of God with specific promises of verses from the Word of God.”
She then ties in one of my very favorite parts of the film adaption of “The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian”.
“…Lucy says to Aslan, ‘I wish I was braver.’
Aslan replies, ‘If you were any braver, you would be a lioness.’
So Lucy walks alone onto to bridge and faces the vast Telmarine army. The army stops for a moment, stunned to see a young girl blocking their way…With a small smile, Lucy draws out her dagger and waves it at them. That’s when Aslan begins to pace with deliberate steps just behind her…She is not alone. Neither are we.” (“In the Middle of the Mess” by Sheila Walsh pgs 132 +135).
I’m convinced that without 2020 being what it was I would not have discovered just how deep and damaging my bad attitude was.
Sure, I struggled with a bad attitude for years, but it wasn’t until we looked at pictures during JoJo’s graduation that I realized that I didn’t look happy in the majority of them. And that bothered me because I wasn’t always angry those last 5 years of my educational career. In fact, many of my favorite memories center around those years of being homeschooled. And then I thought: I don’t want to look unhappy in the majority of pictures for the rest of my life…I’ve been given a GREAT life…an abundant life that for a long time I wished away, tried to speed up, and checklist my way through.
Until I was forced to slow down and really SEE my life for what it is–a blessing. It doesn’t look normal, that’s for sure. And I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, some with lasting consequences. But I am learning. Learning to SEE God for who He is, the blessings that He has given, and learning to make the most of where I am right now…
Until next time,
P.S. If you need a little boost of encouragement be sure to visit my T-Shirt Shop. There’s a variety of encouraging phrases/Bible verses on T-Shirts, Long sleeve shirts, and Sweatshirts all available in multiple sizes and color options!