A thankful heart is a happy heart
A thankful heart is a happy heart – Madam Blueberry Veggietales
1 Thessalonians 5:18- Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Hebrews 12:28 – Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe
Psalm 100:4- Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to Him
I never left the country until I was 18 years old on my way to Argentina for a bible school called YWAM. I hugged my parent’s goodbye and said I would see them in 6 months. I remember after the hours of layovers and flights it took me to get to Buenos Aires, I took an 18-hour bus ride to northern Argentina. A car picked me up and we drove on muddy roads for miles. Finally, we pulled up in front of a cement building and they motioned for me to get out and that we were finally at our destination.
I remember specifically wearing teal heels with gemstones. I remember so vividly, it was a moment stuck for some reason in my head. But I watched as my heel, my shoe and my foot slowly sunk into the mud.
Next, I went on a tour with the ‘translator’, whom it was his first year and he still needed a lot of practice. He pointed out the outdoor sinks and buckets and told me that is where I wash my clothes. He showed me a small cement room with buckets overhead that would fill to be our shower and our showers were done when our bucket ran out. I remember a pig just walking around. I was shocked at my new living situation.
Months go by, I’m shaving my legs in the bucket outside, I’m washing my clothes by hand. We ate plain bread every morning and every once in a while, we had butter or jam as a treat. My Spanish is getting better, I see the same horses and pigs walking around. We walk everywhere we go. When we left Argentina to go to Uruguay, I just had my backpack. For 6 months I used my sweatshirt as a pillow. I would be in a room full of people and a single guitar and never felt the presence of God so strongly. We would sit for hours in an empty room, no smart phones, no TV, just a guitar, yerba mate and good discussions. I remember feeling so rich. So rich that I could still take a warm shower, so rich that I never went hungry there. So rich that I slept in a warm bed albeit I shared a room with 5 other girls. I had a shelf to myself. I remember feeling so close to those people, so connected. After 6 months I didn’t want to leave. I loved them. I was use to that way of living.
I came home back to America. Dad picked me up at the airport and bought me a coffee. It was so nice of my dad but I remember being shocked my coffee was 3-4$. My mind was still thinking in pesos and all I could think about was the bags of bread we could get for that money. The people we could feed with a measly 3-4$. Then I came home. My mom loves to decorate, she rocks at it and she wanted to surprise me. I came home to a beautiful new decorated room. I cried, and I was mad. There were 5 throw pillows on my beautiful bed. I’ve been sleeping on a sweatshirt as a pillow for months and seeing pillows as ‘décor’ threw me off. The next morning, I went to our pantry and opened it and cried. There were OPTIONS. It wasn’t a “I am hungry and I need food”, it was a pantry full of “what do I FEEL like eating today.” There was toast, pancakes, cereal boxes, eggs, fruit and more. I was overwhelmed. I started to feel bitter towards America, all I wanted to do was go back to Argentina.
Although I didn’t want to, and had a bad attitude at the beginning, I felt a lot of peace about going to our local bible college for a year. During that time, a professor had a daughter in the mission field and realized I was having a hard time adjusting back to America. A few counseling sessions with her really helped me with my reverse culture shock and bitterness issues.
The next summer I move back to Argentina just for 3 months to help with a church plant. When I came back this time my reverse culture shock wasn’t as bad. I remember wearing my handmade shoes from Guatemala with an oversized ARGENTINA t-shirt. That’s what I was wearing the day I met Joel my husband (that’s a story for another time).
A few years later we get married and move to Mexico for 2 years to serve at his parent’s church. We were in an awesome area with a Costco, a Walmart, the best tacos in the world and an incredible church and mall. Even good coffee shops! Our second home was a little rectangle house with an outdoor bathroom. Yes, you read that right. An outdoor bathroom. Here we also had a working washing machine and dryer. I felt so lucky.
We moved back to America and started having babies. We had little saved and we were on food stamps and had 2 beater cars. I still felt so rich. We had choices for what food we wanted, we had hot water and we were safe and healthy. How privileged are we.
Fast forward again Joel gets a good new job, we have more than we need. We are truly so blessed. I also decided a long time ago that I will be content. I decided to be content in all I have, and never pressure my husband with a more more more mentality. To be clear, I told him in our dating years I can live rich or poor I just need my blonde highlights and coffee every single day so he knew what he was getting into. Our next house most likely will be an upgrade and that’s okay if we are living below our means. I’m talking about a heart that can’t be satisfied. Someone who spends for a high, then needs to again to ‘keep up’ or to fill themselves up. Spending more or beyond your means can also come from a heart of trying to show off, or a mentality of lies that tells you, you must need it to survive. Sometimes spending can be an escape or a high for people, just like food, sugar, or other addictions that come on in times of stress.
Lets be careful with our words. We are not poor, and you are not poor. If you have hot water, meals and a bed you are wealthy beyond measure. If your kids are healthy and safe you are blessed. If you have options of what to eat you are rich. If your mind starts to wander to an “I need I need” switch it over to a list of all you have. You can train your mind. Choose joy, change your mindset. Our mentality determines our day.
There was this little thing I saw once scrolling Instagram and loved it.
Trade your expectation for appreciation and your whole world changes in an instant- Tony Robbins
Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God
2 Corinthians 4:15- All this is for you benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God
2 Corinthians 9:11- You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God
1 Chronicles 16:34- Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.