October 29, 2015

Being Grateful for Where I am - Ruth L. Snyder


I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says: "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

This month we are asked to share an experience in our writing life when we found that to give thanks in everything was especially difficult.

Last year I had many wonderful opportunities in my writing life. I had several novelettes and a devotional book published and was able to grow my network of writing friends, learn new skills, and try new challenges. Through this process, I received an invitation from an editor to submit a novel I was working on. She told me she really liked what she saw in the first twenty thousand words and she would offer me a contract once I submitted the whole manuscript to her. I was ecstatic about this opportunity and worked hard. However, when I was at sixty thousand words, I knew I needed to put the project on the shelf, at least for the time being, so that I could spend more time with my children.

I found this very difficult, because I was being asked to put aside something I enjoyed doing and knew I could do well. Every time someone asked me how my writing was going, I felt those pangs of embarrassment, defeat, and even anger. Why did God give me the ability and opportunity to write this novel, only to yank it away from me?

Often I find myself focusing on my problems instead of seeing the big picture. If I allow myself to continue doing this, my problems seem to grow and multiply. One thing that has helped me immensely is choosing gratitude. Giving thanks - writing or speaking what I am grateful for - takes the focus off the problem and restores my perspective. So, in my writing life, I am choosing to be thankful for the writing projects I AM able to pursue while my children are still young and at home. I may not be able to write a novel right now, but I can write blog posts and devotionals incorporating lessons God is teaching me through my children. They will sprout up and fly off soon enough. In the meantime, I can use my time to enjoy making memories with them and also share what I'm learning on the journey. This focus keeps me encouraged and also helps other parents who may be struggling.

As I focus on gratefulness, I'm reminded that:

  • God is faithful
  • God is loving
  • God is all-powerful
  • God created me and knows me better than I know myself
  • God granted me the ability to write

If I truly want to glorify God with my writing, then I need to trust Him to open and close the doors of opportunity.

How have you found gratitude helps you?

15 comments:

  1. God does have the Big Picture in focus, doesn't He? And sounds like He has given you a time to listen, and trust His ways. And that is something to be thankful for indeed!

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    1. Yes, Lynn, God always has the big picture in focus. In my mind, I know God's timing is perfect, but sometimes it takes a while for my heart to get there :)

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  2. Practicing my "gratitude attitude" has made all the difference for me in my life as a parent/writer. Thank you for the encouragement, Ruth, and for reminding us of the constancy of God in all circumstances.

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    1. I like that - gratitude attitude :) Thanks for your encouragement too!

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  3. As always, this is such a practical, balanced and God honouring approach. thanks for the words of encouragement Ruth

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    1. Thanks, Tracy. I believe God allows things in our lives for many purposes - some to hold us into His image, and others so that we can be there when others are going through similar circumstances. Thanks for being an example and encouragement to me!

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  4. As Solomon so wisely proclaimed, "to everything there is a season." It's hard, though, when we think a new season has arrived, and then suddenly the weather reverts back to the last one we thought we were moving out of. It's easy to become discouraged. But with God, we can know the season will change, and his timing will be perfect. May he bless you richly, Ruth, for choosing the right priority for this season in your family's life.

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    1. You're right, Bobbi. Another version of this verse is, "There is a time for everything." It doesn't say "There is time for everything." As much as we'd like to be able to do everything all the time, we just can't. Contentment is a must!

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    2. Haha...the bible certainly does not say "There is time for everything." I was disillusioned that once my kids grew up I would have time for everything. Well...they are grown, and that is not the case. Good for you for hearing the prompting to spend more time with your children right now. In the Lord's perfect timing, if it is His will, He will call you back to that book. Writing is not the only hat that you are wearing, and the Lord knows that, He made you a mom and a wife as well :)

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    3. Thanks, Mel :) We all need to be faithful to what God call us to and trust Him for time to do it all.

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  5. How true that when we focus on gratefulness, our eyes are turned to God, who He is and all He has done and continues to do for us. Beautiful.

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  6. You are so right about the Bible not saying, "There is time for everything." Whenever I have tried to do everything, I too have run into big troubles, including depression. We have to lean in close and listen to what God is telling us in words or through circumstance. Bless you for listening to God and listening to your heart.

    Our kids are that valuable and that important that we need to give them time to grow. Bless you for this. The one thing we have to remember is that when we put projects away in the closet, we don't need to put them way at the back and pile things on top of them so we never find them again. I don't think you will do that without God's leading.

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  7. Yes, absolutely! It took a lot of faith and obedience for you to do what you did, Ruth, and I'm going to remember your courage!

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