by Rebekah Leavell

Life sometimes has a way of hiding around the corners and then sucker punching you in the face when you least expect it. It can seem afterwards like life points and laughs at you while you are holding onto your bleeding nose. The more often life pops up with clenched fists, then the more likely it is that you are cautiously peering around for the bad instead of trying to notice the good. Why would I drop my guard to take note of this beautiful bloom over here if life might be waiting to knock me out just over there? The sad reality is that the longer we cautiously tread and tiptoe peering into every shadowed corner, the more we miss out on the vivid colors of the rainbows in the sky. This mentality eventually creeps into our marriages as well, and instead of seeing all that was good and beautiful like we did in the beginning, we start to see all the cracks and crevices that do or could exist.

Watching young children can be such a fascinating experience. The total innocence and abandonment in their pure joy at play, until they inevitably get hurt and run crying to their parent for a hug and kiss. In an instant, they wriggle down again and run back to their fun with big smiles. We can feel a bit jealous as we try to reflect back to when life was so simple and uncomplicated. When a child takes a walk, it involves constant stopping as they look at this rock and that bush. They see and notice everything that we take for granted. Life so gradually seemed to rob us of that childlike vision that we barely took note of it disappearing as we grew up. However, we are often faced with stark reminders here and there of the sweetness of life as we wish it could be for us.

Is there a way to capture any of that again?    

In Mark 10:14-15, Jesus said, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

The context before these verses is about divorce and the hardness of hearts that causes it. Following afterwards is the account of the rich, young ruler who cared more for money and possessions than following Jesus. Then, just a few verses later, James and John are arguing over who would be the greatest in Jesus’ Kingdom. The passage wraps up with the healing of Blind Bartimaeus and the contrast of his attitude of faith set against those who were blinded by selfishness and greed. Bartimaeus perfectly illustrates Jesus’ description of childlike faith.    

Another passage, I Thessalonians 5:16-18 reads, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

This does not teach that you must be look thankfully at sin, death, abuse, or any other wrong and evil in the world. Rather, these verses brings to mind my children as toddlers when we would celebrate Christmas. It was so fun giving Christmas gifts to our children when they were age 3, because every gift was exciting and they were so happy about everything, no matter how small. The total joy and gratitude for a one-dollar item thrown in the mix always made me stop and think about the passages of having faith like a child.

Are we able, as adults, to search for the positives to be thankful for in our marriages, families, homes, and work? Take one day to look around in your normal, everyday routine, and create a list of the things that you are thankful to God for! Maybe it is the shade of a tree, a puffy white cloud in the sky, the smile of a child, or the hug of a spouse. Perhaps it could even be the wonder of electricity that enables us to flood a room with light at the flip of a switch! There are so many amazing blessings we take for granted every day! Don’t allow the fear of life possibly lurking around the next corner to cause you to miss out each day on the joy available as a gift from God!

If you are struggling with finding the positives and gratitude in your marriage, family, or just life in general, the trained counselors here at Biblical Counseling of Arizona would love to sit down with you to listen and help!

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

For Further Study:

Awe: by Paul David Tripp

Future Grace: by John Piper