Time for Gratitude

I wrote this on my Quiet Life blog and I really don’t like to repeat content, but I think it is important to stay focused on not only the time, it IS near the end, but also the blessings we have in this time. No matter what the circumstance of our lives, the one constant is Jesus and the blessings He gave us and the blessing He is to us. Paul and Silas (Acts 16:25) sang while chained in the lowest prison. They sang. Times are dark but there is always something to be grateful for that the Lord hath provided. When we are joyful and content even in hard circumstances, and express that joy in gratitude to the Savior, people listen as the prisoners and jailers listened to Paul and Silas. It makes an impression. I was moved to write about my blessings and put them on the secular blog, but the blessings stem from Jesus and therefore I am doubly grateful. I appeal to you, find something to be grateful for and thank the Lord. Then do it publicly. Here is what I wrote:

It’s the end of the year. I mean the Georgia educational system school year. We start in August and we end in May, a month’s difference than the school year I was employed by in Maine, which was on a September to June schedule.

End of year usually means reflection on the past and reviewing hopes for the future. I substitute taught in this system for two years and this year I got the permanent job. It has regular hours, medical benefits, and is clean work. More importantly, it’s with kids, my calling and first love. It was a miracle that I got this job last July in a tight economy with many qualified applicants. I am grateful for it and count it as a blessing.

Best of all, I work in a school system run by people I admire and respect. I admire my principal who is a woman of great skills, passion for children, and integrity in her work. She is loyal to employees, but fair, and has high standards. I enjoy that she is approachable and that she runs a tight ship. She is also a Christian. What else can an employee ask for? Nothing.

I enjoy that the Superintendent is a moral man, a Christian who is also a man of great skills, has integrity, and is fair with high standards. It is important to me that I am part of a system that is run by people I respect. It is a terrible thing to be embarrassed by your boss. Rather, in my case, I have people whose example I strive to live up to. This is a blessing.

The school year beginning was a scary one for me because it has been 21 years since I was employed as an employee. I have either run my own business or have freelanced most of my life. But the people I work with are tremendous. I enjoy all my colleagues. They are good people! They are local moms and grandmoms, community members in this small community with whom I go to church, and see at the library, the Rec Department, the store. They are friendly and warm. They welcomed me, a stranger, into their fold and I am grateful to know them all. It is a blessing to like the people you work with.

After school today, the last day, I went grocery shopping. I value that I have a good, locally run grocery store just two miles from my work, and that quality, affordable foods are offered there. This is rare these days, that I can not only afford food, but I have access to GOOD food. I really love that a local family owns the store and they are civic minded. I would frequent their store even if it was not close, for this reason. I am grateful that I have good food in my fridge. I just finished scrambled eggs with fresh tomatoes, toast, and home fries. That’s more than a lot of people get in a week.

I am really grateful that I have a solid bible-believing church to go to. This is rare these days. It is helmed by a wonderful pastor who is loving and friendly but also extremely knowledgeable about the bible and preaches with a passion and love for Jesus that just makes you love Jesus more. I enjoy the folks at my church and in my Sunday School class, who again, welcomed me into their world lovingly and openly. They have helped me when I needed help and I know they are there for me if I need help again, as they know I would help them too. It is a blessing to really like the people you worship with.

I am blessed I live in a place like this:

It is my back yard. I’m not homeless, and I don’t live near a quarry, or a garbage dump or live in a place like Tijuana or Calcutta. The Lord gave me a beautiful, peaceful place to dwell when I am not at worship or work. What a blessing.

No matter the tumult in the world, I am richly blessed in my sphere and I know it. Summer itself is another blessing. It is glorious around here, and just 4 miles down the road is a State Park with a river to swim in and a waterfall to enjoy. Thank you Lord for the riches you’ve given me, and I am grateful.