My parents often make mistakes, misjudge me, set a poor example, and so on.
I have seven younger siblings: I rarely have quiet alone time for longer than... oh, about two minutes. I have to share a room with three sisters. I don't even have a normal bed-- I have to sleep on a bunk bed. On the top bunk. And every single night I have to climb all the way up the ladder. And every single morning I have to climb all the way down the ladder. My siblings are constantly annoying me with some request or other--why on earth do they want me to read books to them all the time?? And can't someone else help them with their school?? And why must I constantly hear of this story or that book?
I have many more chores than most people my age-- I have to clean the WHOLE kitchen (which is a lot harder with 10 people messing it up), do the painting, mop, cook, help with homeschooling, and too many other things to list.
I am not married yet. I have no idea how my future will go; only that it will be hard. Many people that I love are far away. I don't have any "best friend" outside my family.
My life is terrible.
[Okay, I'm running out of "My life is terrible" stuff... :P]
My Life is Wonderful!!
Seriously, it is! I have all of my limbs (and they work, too! [Um, we're reading a book in which one boy gets his leg amputated, and another is lame. So yes, I have been thinking about the blessing my working limbs are lately.]), my eyes see wonderfully, I am strong, I have long hair, and I am getting healthier. My acne has taught me much, and is actually a blessing. Low energy causes me to rely more on my God for strength. I very rarely get sick any more! My personality is actually an asset, and God has been very gracious in helping me to shape it.
My parents are doing many, many times better than their backgrounds would predict, and we have a blessed home as a result of them giving their lives over to Jesus and seeking to become a strong family. They have been married for 22 years! They both love me very much and are doing their best to guide me in this new and strange stage: adulthood. They are both very caring, helpful people... much respected and liked in the community.
I have SEVEN younger siblings!! :D I am never lonely; always have someone to talk to or play with. My character is constantly being developed in one way or another: I'm sure I am much more patient than I would otherwise be. I am very good at climbing down ladders now! Who knows-- maybe that skill will come in handy someday. :D I have plenty of chances to practice being a mother--and a homeschooling mother at that. I have loved having babies in the house so often. :D My siblings bless me in many ways, and I'm grateful for each one.
I have many more opportunities than most young people to learn valuable skills and to help my family. As a result of things being harder for me now, it will be easier for me later. (Haha, we joke sometimes about how when we first get married and have only TWO people to cook and clean for, it will seem like a break. :D) I actually like cleaning the kitchen, painting, mopping, helping with school... and so on.
While I am not yet married, my life is very full and blessed. I have a father (and mother) to help. I have siblings to talk to and be with. I am learning more and more to be content with where I am right now, and not pine away after the mysterious "future". I am learning to make Jesus my all in all, my rock, my comforter. It's true: I don't know what the future holds, and I do know it will be hard one way or another. But! I also know the One who holds the future. And I further know that He is good, and that He uses trials to draw us closer to Him. And yes, many people I love are far away. But guess what?? Regardless of location, I have people to love--and I am loved! And for that I am thankful. And not only that, but there are also people here to love, and be loved by. I am blessed.
I know Jesus Christ: the One who created me, died for me, rose for me, and now lives for me. And not only do I know Him, but I am also known by Him!! I have a relationship with the Creator God! And He loves me. I deserved death; but He has given me life. And such life!!
My life is wonderful!
It's all a matter of focus, folks.
So where's your focus?
I'd love to say mine is always on the latter portion of this post, but that would be untruthful. I tend to think that I do pretty well with this whole focusing on the good thing... but God has been showing me lately that I would do well to focus on it much more. I tend to keep the majority of my whining to myself-- but it's whining all the same. I'm tempted (rather often, I'm afraid) to do the dumb "why me?" routine. "Why me, God? Why can't my life just be all simple like everyone else's? (ha!) Why the quiet ache inside? Why the vast uncertainty?"
Why me? Why has God given me my particular trials and burdens?
Because He loves me, that's why.
5And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:Sometimes learning is painful. In fact, it often is. (Did anyone here learn how to ride a bike without getting hurt?) And that's okay. In fact, it is good. And even in the hard times, the painful times... we are called to rejoice and be thankful.
6For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Hebrews 12:5-6
16Rejoice evermore.There. Now you know. You've been wondering, haven't you? What God's will is for you, I mean. Simple, huh? :D
17Pray without ceasing.
18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Thessalonians 5:16-18
Now fer th' livin'...
A gifts list helps--writing down 5-20 little "gifts" from God every day. But it isn't enough, I'm finding. Two things I've been working on adding: actually thank God for the gifts you record, and make it a definite point to point out things you are thankful for out loud. (That last point is wisdom from my papa.) Singing hymns helps... Praying helps, definitely.
Any other ideas?