Not too long ago, my husband I took on a major project – repainting the majority of our upper level. When we moved into our home, we used flat paint. At the time, it was nice. It went on in one coat and made life easy. But, two kids later, it was looking terrible. Anytime they touched it it scratched and when I’d try to clean it it chipped. Needless to say, it NEEDED updating.
After looking through the newest paint colors, I couldn’t wait to get started. In the midst of my excitement, I was working out with my neighbor at the gym and telling her all about the colors we picked, the new shower curtain I’d purchased, and the funky frames I found for the wall.
When the “big day” came to work on the project, we dressed in our paint clothes and welcomed my mom over to help. Soon after we started painting, however, I found myself annoyed. I thought my two and four year old would be fine watching or playing downstairs, but it turns out they wanted to “help.” Unfortunately, their idea of “help” translated to annoyance for us. I constantly found myself saying, “Please move back” and “Don’t you want to do a puzzle?” but nothing was as fun to them as the paint.
As I found myself trying to balance parenting with productivity, I was severely slowed down. And, I was bummed. Bummed that I couldn’t be who I wanted to be for my children and bummed that I couldn’t be who I wanted to be in helping my mom and husband.
Then the doorbell rang. There stood my neighbor (that just days earlier I’d shared my excitement with). I hadn’t talked to her so she had no idea what was going on or how I was feeling, but she anticipated that it could be a struggle and asked to take my two children for the day. Thank you, Lord. An angel in human skin.
Excited about the unplanned play date, my two kids joined her three in their mini-van. During that day, she fed all five kids (7 and under) lunch, took them to a puppet show at the library, and gave them space for fun. During that time, we finished the entire paint project.
Gratefulness overwhelmed me. My neighbor looked around and sensed a need. And, I, in the midst of a frustrating moment, saw a powerful display of faith that forever impacted me.
Colossians 3:12 reads, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
My neighbor took on a house full of children – going out of her way – to help me reach a goal. Gratitude filled my heart and tears of thanks streamed down my cheek.
Because of her, the outlook of my day changed. And, beyond that, it has caused me to more frequently ask God how He wants to use me to help others every day.
As you start this new week, I’d encourage you to open your eyes and see the visible displays of God’s presence in the midst of your tasks and even frustrations. When you do, gratefulness will transform your perspective and inspire gratitude that promotes further joy in the kingdom of God.
**note- This Wednesday ends your opportunity to win the Pam Stenzel “Parents Matter: Raising Kids with Integrity” DVD. People around the world share gratitude for her expertise. If you would be grateful, please be sure to visit here. I'll be posting the winner this Thursday!**