Challenge 6: Thank Your Offender

I hate seeing the ugliness in myself. Who does? But the seeing is a necessary gift, one we can unwrap every time we discover through disappointment and pain what’s inside of us. Our eyes may be opened from a loved one’s death, a loss of a job, a hurtful mate, a scheming co-worker or a backbiting friend. Once the situation brings out hateful words, vindictive actions and other ungodly ways to deal with our emotions, we can choose to continue down that path or stop and thank our offender for being used to help us see our ugliness inside that came out in that tough moment. That person gave you a gift and we should thank her.

Take a Risk Challenge: Thank someone who has offended you for giving you the gift of seeing the ugliness inside of you that you need to work on through God’s strength.

My One Thousand Gifts List

Josh getting his annual check up
Josh wanting to go to the radio station with me
Ms. Fisher accommodating Joshua by allowing him to makeup missed work
Conversation with Pastor Brooks about homeschooling and “Waiting for Superman”
Flynn not going to get food
Having to cook
Not speaking harshly to Flynn in my disappointment
Getting the boys to bed before 9 p.m.
Flynn working to get out of the mud by making the lunches, loading the dishwasher and uploading and downloading my radio interview on CD
Noelle playing cello

Challenge 2: Encourage the Ultra Miserable

I wish he were not so much like me, at least the way I used to be, my oldest son who frets when the day’s troubled events outweigh the ones he sees as good. He whines, complains, and then, with balled fists anchored by his thighs, huffs like an angry bull determined to take revenge on those who got in his way. And the day was full of stuff and people getting in his way: slow understanding and completing of math work; basketball teammates who wouldn’t pass the ball; preschool brothers fussing and shouting and running and asking and begging; and no naps. And I understand his frustration: my laundry’s half done, the entire house half clean and preschool sons rose earlier than expected, fussing and shouting and running and asking and begging; and no naps. But I chose to look toward the joy set before me—bedtime, a time God has prepared for me to unwind. And I laugh to help me stay sane before my rest comes, knowing laughter does the heart good like medicine and I need a constant cure for the unrelenting bustle of the day.

I share my remedies with my son, whose huffing has subsided but his gloom talk remains: “Everything is wrong with me. Nothing is right. I’m always a snail” and other all-inclusive words to describe “This is the worst day ever!” The more I seek to get him to see the glass as half full he insists it’s half empty. Now he has frustrated me and I tell him that I will let him mope, I can’t cope with his pitiful self and I’m set to jet but I remember how Jesus handled Peter and his nonsense: “Satan, get thee behind me” (Matthew 16:23). He knew that Peter’s talk was coming from Satan and spoke to the person behind the one he saw. This is what I did and jolted Josh back to the reality that we all have bad days that don’t change that we are still fearfully and wonderfully made, that our gifts and calling are irrevocable and joy comes in the morning. So we meditated and praised our way to the truth. Now when he tries to return to that dark place, he has what it takes to light his way.

Take a Risk Challenge: Encourage someone who is ultra miserable by helping them see what God’s word has to say about them. Bearing with them truly is a radical act of love.

My One Thousand Gifts List

Deciding to use the quiet time to cook instead of using it all to veg out
Watching Justus in Flynn’s arm and eating Flynn’s dinner
Justus sleeping through the night for a week straight and going to bed most nights without nursing
Justus hugging Nate to comfort him
Karen saying how much she loved my Cooking with Rhonda video
Vince being so selfless in helping me download my cooking video
Hearing God agree that “I can’t do this” and that was my issue—counting on my strength
Tabitha arriving earlier than expected
Not fretting over what to wear to speak at L.I.F.T.
Not worrying about not being able to practice my message again