Sometimes it seems like it rains all the time. In fact, on Guam at this time of year it usually is raining.
After a while, I find all of this rainy weather depressing. This rainy Monday morning as I was up at “o’dark thirty” (as one of my college friends used to say) walking around the pool (Don’t be too impressed–it’s the first time all semester I’ve gotten up to walk. Hopefully it will become a habit, though.) I started complaining about the fact that it was raining and Monday and still dark out. God started bringing some verses to mind that really helped my outlook on life: “Thy mercies are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness,” “My strength is made perfect in weakness,” “My grace is sufficient for thee,” and “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
In an effort to renew my mind, I decided to do what one of my friends did last Monday and make a list of things I am thankful for:
1. I am thankful for God. He is my Strength, my Fortress, my Strong Tower, my Savior, my Deliverer, my Shepherd, my Father, my Sustainer, and my Life. The list could go on, but these are a few characteristics of God that I thought of this morning. Yesterday I sang “God’s Power Within Us” as a special in the evening service. I needed to be reminded of those words today: “God’s power is within us, now we can move our mountains. God’s strength within us can calm the raging sea. And by God’s Spirit we can overcome our sin. And by God’s grace we’ll run the race until it’s won. Our God is worthy of honor, the power and the glory. Our God is worthy of all praise. Sing alleluia, alleluia. Give praise unto the Lord.”
2. I am thankful that I teach at Harvest Christian Academy in Guam. This is an awesome ministry and I am privileged to be a part of it. God is at work here! I am thankful for the godly leadership of the pastoral staff and the school administration. I am thankful for the wonderful staff members who encourage me to trust God and not to lose focus as I seek to serve Him here. I am thankful for my students who bring joy and who, even on the worse days, are exceptional students. I am often amazed at the quality of their work. I love teaching here!
3. I am thankful for my roommates, Elizabeth and Kelly. We have a great time together whether we’re hanging pictures in our apartment, watching a football game (Notre Dame–see the post below) or movie, or cooking supper together. I also love that fact that we often sit around and talk about what we are learning about in our devotions or about how God is working in our lives. My roommates are a great help and encouragement to me!
4. I am thankful that I am single. This may seem like a funny thing to be thankful for, but I am. (Sometimes I do have to remind myself to be thankful for this.) Odds are that I wouldn’t have come to Guam or have had many of the opportunities I have had if I were married. I am glad for this time to serve the Lord here and in this capacity. The Lord is using this time in my life to teach me many valuable lessons and I am thankful for the oppportunity to rely on His strength and grace in this way. One of the things the Lord taught me during Spirit Week this year is that I often use other things (reading, watching movies, hanging out with friends) to ease the loneliness that I feel instead of turning to God. I committed to God that week that I didn’t want to escape the process but instead allow God to use it to draw me closer to Him. I’m still learning how that works out in practical living, but I am realizing more and more how much I need God and how He can help me every day.
5. I am thankful for my family. The other evening my roommates and I were talking about family picture memories (we’re going to hang pictures of our family in our living room) and I was overwhelmed with good, funny memories of my family. I love them and I miss them!
6. I am thankful for my friends. Last week I heard from several friends who I hadn’t heard from in a long time, and it really did my heart good to reestablish contact with them. I’m also thankful for email since I am so far away; email is really the best way for me to stay in touch with my friends on the mainland.