I can’t believe that Thanksgiving break is already over! The year has flown by so fast!
I enjoyed getting to spend time with my family and friends last week. Also, we are all out of leftovers in my house, which hurts more deeply than what you can imagine.
One thing we still have though is our gratitude. I am so incredibly thankful for all that God has done in my life this past year. As unexpected as life has been these last few months, I have enjoyed watching God turn it all around for my good…even if He didn’t give me everything I wanted.
Be grateful in the unexpected.
You know that feeling you get when you were really hoping to get something specific for Christmas only to find out that it’s not what you wanted when you unwrap the box. Then in front of all of your family and friends you to try to fake a smile and act surprised.
“This is exactly what I wanted!” you exclaim, hoping no one will notice your disappointment.
Then, once you get home, you take whatever was given to you and you put away in a box or store it in the bottom of a drawer, never to be seen again.
You publicly thank the people who gave you the gift, putting on a brave face in front of everyone, but when you are alone, you secretly grumble.
Am I talking from experience? You better believe it!
It is so difficult to be grateful when what we receive is not exactly what we were hoping for. In life, we can often feel like we miss out on bigger things than the Christmas gift we wanted.
Sometimes we don’t get the job we prayed for or the relationship we were in doesn’t work out. Sometimes we lose friends or someone we love gets sick. Life can be disappointing.
No one is ever hoping and praying that life will fall apart. We all want happiness and for all our dreams to come true. We set timelines for ourselves by which we hope to achieve our goals. We are always expecting the best but never prepared for the worst.
However, we have a hope as children of God that sustains us in the unexpected circumstances of life.
God watches out for His children.
Alright, so here is a funny story. Bare with me.
I am not an experienced babysitter, which makes it an extremely nerve-racking experience for me whenever I am asked to watch someone else’s children. My goal for the night becomes to keep the kids unscathed and alive until their parents return.
While my godbrothers’ mamma was in labor with her third child (another boy of course), I had the challenging task of watching her two year old and one year old all by myself. I was freaking out.
Now, the two year old, Sam, decided that he was going to jump off our couch, soar through the air and land on a cushioned chair three feet away.
I, like the responsible adult I am, was not going to let that fly (pun intended). By the second time Sam tried the maneuver, he was on the floor with both feet in the air. That was all it took. I put the chair away.
Obviously, Sam was not happy about that, so a round of complaining ensued. Eventually, I was able to distract both Sam and his brother by throwing pillows and blankets on the ground and turning on Netflix (my savior).
What little Sam did not understand is that what I took away from Him was for His own good. Children don’t often understand why they don’t get what they want or why grownups take objects away from them. We are actually acting with their best interest in mind.
Just like a parent, God will not give us something that will harm us or that we are not ready for. He wants what is best for us, even if it doesn’t look like what we wanted.
However, as we mature in the Lord, we have to respond with grace and patience when faced with less than desirable outcomes to our waiting and praying. Here is what it means to have patience:
“Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”
If you just read that and cringed, you’re not alone. The statement above hardly describes me either, but I’m learning.
As I get older, I am learning to handle not getting what I want like a champ. I don’t always throw a tantrum when I don’t get what I want like a child anymore.
Life hardly ever works out how we want it to, but we can embrace an attitude of gratitude, accepting that God always knows what He is doing.
Gratitude is not settling.
I, by nature, have a very short fuse. I don’t know if it’s my Latina genes or if it runs in my family. It might be a combination of both.
I don’t like to wait around for life to happen to me. If I want something to happen, I want it to happen my way and in my timing. However, as I have matured in the Lord, I’ve realized that this mindset isn’t really healthy.
I always assumed that sitting back and remaining calm was a sign of passivity. When I was a teenager, I can remember instances when I would blow up on someone because I believed a situation was unjust. I had no filter and would always allow my emotions to control me.
Through the years of being processed by the Lord through different situations, I have learned to still my heart when things seem to not be working in my favor. I stop, breath and whisper a prayer to God: Papa, you know what’s best for me.
However, just because I did not get what I hoped for and decided not to lose my mind, doesn’t mean that I’m settling for whatever. Instead, I’m choosing to believe that God has more in store for me.
Some people think that because I remain calm or “go with the flow” that I’m less passionate than they are. Wrong! I’ve just learned to be still and trust God in every season. I like fighting my battles in secret!
I don’t always do it perfectly, but I’ve learned that watching God work in the background is more fun than losing my marbles in the moment. It is completely worth it.
By choosing to be still, I am telling God that I want Him more than I want my blessing. He is truly all I want and need to be satisfied and happy.
Embrace your season with joyful expectancy.
I am so thankful that God has not always given me what I wanted. I look back at situations I found myself in at one point in time and cringe at the thought of what could have been if God had not stepped in when He did.
Looking back at those moments helps me to embrace my current season with joy. Sure, life may not have turned out how I expected, but God surpassed my expectations.
God has always been faithful and He will always continue to be!
So, here’s what I really want you to understand:
If you didn’t get what you wanted trust that God has something better. I can’t even begin to count all the times that I felt God was ripping something away from me, only to later surprise me with something way better.
Because I have seen God’s faithfulness so often in my life, I’ve developed this sense of joyful expectancy. I am always excited to see what God will do next!
I hope that next time that something doesn’t work out the way you expect, that you remain still in God and choose to be grateful for God’s protection.
It can be tempting to let disappointment overwhelm us, especially when we believed that getting what we wanted would have lead to our ultimate happiness. But, there are things that we will want and hope for but will not fit into God’s perfect plan for our lives. Trust that God knows what He is doing in your life.
You have a future and hope that is real and secure.
Always praying for you,
Our names are Paola and Carla. And yes…we are identical twins! We are pastors, ministers and young women who are absolutely in love with Christ. Our passion is to empower other young women through the message of Jesus Christ to fulfill their live’s purpose.
Although we are young (23 years old if you’re wondering😉) we have been preaching, teaching and serving in ministry for almost ten years. We hope that through our writing you may be encouraged and empowered to step into the calling that God has over YOUR life.
Thanks for reading!
Always praying for you,