God's Word tells us that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit, that outward beauty is deceptive and fleeting while inward beauty is unfading and of great worth. It doesn't take long to look at today's media and see how the world is trying to convince us otherwise! Read uplifting and encouraging real life stories from Christian women about true beauty and health. Start seeing yourself as the women God created you to be!
It was supposed to be a weekend full of gratitude. A weekend full of hugs, kisses, family, friends and memories. After all, we only get to see our family a few times a year. But as I sat and watched my family members enjoy plate after plate of delicious Labor Day weekend food, I couldn’t help but feel a little thankless and a lot misunderstood.
“Why aren’t you eating, Lauren? What’s wrong with you now? Aren’t you hungry?” One by one their questions swirled around me as I tried to explain my latest health debacle.
Last year, I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Hypermobility Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that can cause a variety of health problems: widespread chronic pain, easy bruising and injury, degeneration and gastrointestinal dysfunction, just to name a few. Up until January, I’d experienced everything except the last problem on that list. Now I can cross that one off, too.
Every time a new problem surfaces, it’s like my world shatters all over again. So earlier this year, when my health took another nosedive, it felt like my world was shattering for the millionth time.
It’s hard to be grateful when you’re in the trenches of a struggle.
We’re still not 100 percent sure what is happening with my gut, but right now the doctors are treating me for SIBO and IBS — things that require a strict diet and medication to remedy. That’s why my Labor Day weekend trip back home was so disheartening. Because while my family members were noshing on macaroni and cheese, fries, cake, and ice cream, I was shoving cooked carrots, ground turkey and chicken down my throat.
I knew better, but in my frustration, instead of counting my blessings, I let thoughts of “it’s just not fair”became the soundtrack to my weekend. Then Sunday came.
That day, my husband took me to one of his favorite spots near our hometown — the Grotto at Notre Dame University. I’d never been there before, but I’d heard stories about how sacred it was. Once we arrived, I was amazed by what I saw. Thousands of flickering candles lit the space in a holy glow — each candle holding the hopes, dream, promises and prayers of believers from all around the world.
Even though I’m a Christian and don’t follow Catholic traditions, I lit a candle anyways, saying a prayer to Jesus as I placed the candle in one of the empty slots.
In that moment of awe and wonder, my ungratefulness was replaced with genuine gratitude. Suddenly, my “it’s not fair” attitude was replaced with appreciation for two little words:
I may not have good health. But I have God. I may be misunderstood by my family and friends. But God understands me. I may feel like I have no one to talk to. But I can always run to God. Twenty-four hours and day, seven days a week. There’s no divide — Jesus conquered that divide for us. And there’s no secret password. Instead, there’s love and healing. There’s forgiveness. There’s grace. There’s mercy. There are unending blessings. And that should count for something, don’t you think?
I know how hard it can be sometimes to find reasons to be grateful.
Even if God has blessed us with salvation, friends, family, a job, etc., when we’re hanging on by a thread in another area of life, it can be hard to see the good.
But God wants us to see the good.
Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy — these are the things we should be thinking about, as Paul tells the body of Christ in Philippians 4:8.
What do you do when life doesn’t feel fair? What do you do when you feel like you don’t have anything to be grateful for?
Dear friends, let us dare to see the good. Let us dare to count our blessings. Let us dare to replace the soundtrack of “it’s not fair,” with “Thank you, Lord.” Even when we are hurting, lonely or stuck in the trenches. Let us boldly choose to remember what we have instead of what we lack.
Lauren Gaskill is an author, speaker and host of the Finding Joy podcast. She writes at LaurenGaskillinspires.com and is in the process of publishing her first non-fiction inspirational book. When she’s not writing, Lauren loves to cook, bake and go on hikes with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who is affectionately named Reese after Lauren’s favorite candy — peanut butter cups.