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  • Writer's pictureJulie Gross

Change, Trials, Gratitude, and Joy

James 1:2-4 (NIV) says this: “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” That’s a tough sell. I don’t like trials or struggles or difficulty. Who does? There probably aren’t a lot of people who would sign up for those things. Instead, I’d like the “easy button” or to have all things pleasant to happen to me, but that’s not going to happen in our world as we’re surrounded by trials.

Right now, in my life, I am facing a lot of change, and it seems where there is change, there are also new struggles or difficulties. Plus, there are a lot of uncertainties, and for me, that usually means worries. So, in these trials, I need to “consider it pure joy,” and that is because of the outcome that will happen when my faith is tested by these difficulties. To me, it’s like when I didn’t want to do something when I was young, and my parents said, “That will build character!” Did your parents say that to you? I really didn’t like it when they said it, but it is true.

That character building is exactly what happens as that testing in me and in my faith will make me even more persistent in pursuing what God wants in my life. Then, the verse says that perseverance will ultimately help me to be “mature and complete, not lacking anything.” That’s an amazing promise. I want those things, especially the part about "not lacking anything."

Joy is the lens through which I need to see my trials and difficulties. It’s like the rose-colored glasses idea–I like that! One way I’ve found to help me see the struggles with joy is to focus on the things I’m grateful for. I literally count my blessings, kind of like counting sheep when you’re trying to go to sleep, but this is better! It helps me to focus less on the struggles and more on the positives.

Let me count my blessings today as there are many: nothing on my body hurts right now (and at almost 50 years old, that’s really a good thing); on a chilly day outside, my house is a comfortable 70 degrees; my husband made me some great food over the weekend for me to eat as leftovers during the week; my boys are doing well in their studies and are on track to graduate in May; and Michelle and I have had an amazing response to our website and our Facebook and Instagram pages for Unfinished Women. There are many more blessings I could list, but I will stop for now. God is so good!

Thank you, Lord, for so many joys in my life, even the struggles I consider joy! As an unfinished woman, I am not perfect, but I thank God for the opportunity that each new day brings to me to try and try again!

Here's a beautiful South Dakota sunrise that reminds me of God's amazing promises each and every day:

Thanks for reading, friends!



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