It is common practice in our church to dedicate the first Sunday of every month to fasting and prayer. My family and I have often offered specific and unified prayers for special blessings or needs we may be seeking. Concerns over health and strength or special desires for insight are often the subject of our fasting and prayer.

This is an opportunity for our spiritual selves to overcome our physical selves. I have come to discover the unique blessing this has been in my own life and in our family as a whole.

As May was drawing to a close, I reflected on the month and pondered what I might dedicate my June fast to. I realized that, with all the chaos in our home right now, I was most in need of offering a prayer of Gratitude! A trial that I have ALWAYS viewed as the ONE thing I did not think I could survive happened to our family at the end of March. Rather than beating me down and causing me to fret and fright each and every morning, noon, and night (which is my habit), I have felt peace, joy, and an overwhelming sense of privilege for such a trial! As the days have turned into weeks and the weeks into months, I see what a gift this is for my husband, my family and myself!

It felt very good to declare that I had no needs nor special concerns that were more important than the awareness I had of all the small and mighty beauties that had filled my life in April and May. As I had journeyed throughout the months of April and May, I had taken stock each day  of the sweet hand of the Lord in my life. I was overcome by the small and simple things that can bring us joy if we just open up and see them for what they are.

I believe these gifts of bounty are manifest in each of our lives. I also believe that we must be in the right mindset, otherwise there is a good chance we won’t recognize that which is right in front of our faces.We need to open our hearts to see the world, our lives and our experiences in a way that is contrary to public habit. When we look at what we lack, it is very difficult to see our abundance. There is no lesson that I spend more time teaching my kiddos than that “Happiness is a Choice” and choice is the only thing in this life that we truly have complete control over.

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If we only see the trial, it may be impossible to watch the hand of Mercy come in and prepare a path to beauty that never before seemed possible. This is the power of stepping back and looking at what we THINK we see with new eyes- a better perspective.

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 We can complain about the rainstorm, or we can dance in the rain.

My beautiful daughter with a determination that knows no bounds  

After the storm, the rainbow WILL come, whether we choose to see it or not. The person who runs inside, angry about the storm that ruined the picnic is sure to miss the beauty in that very brief moment when the sun and the storm intersect. But he who chooses to dance in the rain, is sure to bask in the glory of what can only be created in full grandeur AFTER a storm!

Photo taken in McKinney, TX by friend Lisa Wood

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