africa · Intentional Living

God Hit Me with the Gratitude Stick

It hit me hard. I woke up yesterday morning and there was snow on the ground.

Snow, guys.

I walked the couple of blocks to work with my back mostly to the wind, and stayed inside until about 3pm. I assumed the tiny amount of snow had melted and the sun had warmed the day up a bit.

It hadn’t.

And I started the mental complaining. It was cold and windy. I didn’t want winter to be here. I wanted to move south. Really, I’ll start sending resumes to any place hiring down where the sun always shines. I was already done with winter, and it’s the second week of November.

Then it hit me like a wall.

That cold breeze whipping across my face? Oh, I remember it well. That same wind blew in the Kalahari Desert, where my only coat was a worn Columbia fleece. Where I had a cinder block home, a cement floor, a tin roof, and no insulation. No real heater either, just an ineffective space heater. Where inside was nearly as cold as outside, bucket bathing while watching my breath fog up in the air. Where there was no place that wasn’t cold.

I remembered that cold.

Immediately, my complaints fell away. Instead of being annoyed at winter, I rejoiced that I had a warm coat, a house that protected me, and ways to escape the frigid temperatures.

Because, really, we are truly blessed, whether or not we realize it.

Even when I was miserably cold during the dead of winter in South Africa, shivering in my bed at 7:30 pm with every blanket I owned on top of me, inside a sleeping bags, with long johns and a hat, cuddled with a hot water bottle….I had reasons to give thanks.

Because few of the kids I taught had enough blankets to stay warm. Hardly any had a coat warmer than a windbreaker. Most were malnourished. And some walked around barefoot.

And so yesterday, as I complained to myself about the cold, God hit me with the gratitude stick.

I was humbled. I was grateful. And I was ashamed at my complaining.

[Tweet “Blessings abounded, and I was too blind to see them. #1000giftsin30”]

-Jen

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