Since returning from our summer vacation, we have been enduring a time of trial. To coin a phrase, it has been "one thing on top of another." We had spent our two-week trip travelling to and from Northern Minnesota to visit family. Less than one hour after walking into our home we got a phone call from my husband's brother who lives in Minnesota. My husband's mother was being air lifted to a hospital in North Dakota. She was having chest pains and the doctor said that time was critical.
"Mamaw" was in the hospital for six days. After two stint procedures she returned to her apartment. Praise God, there was no more serious damage or any limits placed on her work or lifestyle. Certainly there will be no more smoking (pray for her to be able to quit after nearly 50 years), and other changes will be made to diet and exercise, perhaps. But she is able to return to her home and work.
Three days after my mother-in-law was sent home from the hospital, our dog had to be taken to the veterinarian's office. We expected to pick him up the following day after calling the vet. at 2 PM. When I called the next day I was told that there was nothing to be done for our "Frisbee." Our dog was gone. We had him since moving to this, our first home. He was a part of our family. We were all very very sad. It was the most difficult grief to endure with our young boys.
Couple this with other financial issues, strife at church, and household problems and my husband and I began to feel very tried indeed. We did try to stay intentional. We gave thanks for all that we had and for our very breath. We prayed as a family giving thanks. We upheld each other and encouraged the boys that it was ok to feel sad but not ok to dwell in our sadness.
But today, I had a thought that was new to me since our time of trial began. I have been listing in my mind all that has happened in the past few weeks. "Mother-in-law had a heart attack." " Frisbee died." "Division in our church." "Surmounting debt." And as I began an imaginary conversation in my mind where I listed my trials, I was prompted to change the wording of my list.
How much different is it if I say, "Mother-in-law survived a heart attack." "We have the opportunity to look for a new puppy." "We have a place in which to worship freely with people who love us." "We are able to pay all of our bills and because of our debt are now having financial conversations we should have had years ago." It's all about how you coin your phrase.
Last week was bible school at our little country church. On Monday night, bible school began and some of the regular attenders did not send their children to bible school. I was offended and depressed because of those who were NOT at bible school. If you would have asked me how bible school was going on Monday night I would have said, "Eh, okay. Could be better." On Thursday night a little seven-year-old girl came up to me after snack time and said, "I want Jesus to live in my heart." If you would have asked me how bible school was going on Thursday night I would say, as I have ever since, "Amazing!" Talk about coining a phrase! Isn't it amazing what a change a few days can bring? Had I given into my mood and attitude on Monday night, Thursday night's prayer for salvation may have never happened. I need to turn my thoughts around and be grateful for what I have. I need to change my negatives into positives while filterning them through a God-light.
I'm determined to change my talk. I want my perspective to be a heavenly one. So, I will turn my trials to joy with my lips. I will coin my phrases to give God the glory. As they say, "It's all in how you look at it." Well, I'm looking from a whole different angle. Praise God!