Friday, May 22, 2015

Taking Time to Celebrate by @emilylaney

this noisemaker is my reminder at work to remember to celebrate the small and big things God does

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again, I say, rejoice!” – Phil. 4:4

I am part of an amazing Bible Study with a group of ladies in my community. We are married and single, some have children, some do not. Some of us are in our dream careers and some are starting over or are seeking new things vocationally. We go to different churches and are from different denominational backgrounds. It’s a fun group, and we have formed an amazing community.

One Tuesday we met to discuss the book of Esther and a chapter of a commentary book we were studying. It would be putting it mildly to say that I had a tough day. I arrived to bible study with this emotional mix of mad, sad, frustrated, worried, and just plain tired. But even though I was an hour late to Bible Study and not in the best frame of mind, God had a plan.

At the end of our time of discussion we did an activity. We were to write down one negative experience in our lives and reflect on all the good things and positive things that came out of that experience. As I sat there with my coral piece of paper, I wrote down a memory of a summer a couple years ago when my husband and I experienced some significant financial concerns. And then, I began writing all the positive things that came from that experience. Perseverance, patience, the opportunity to see how much our community and friends cared for us, the miraculous ways God provided- all of these things ultimately grew my faith and molded me into the person I am today. Was that summer fun? No, but looking back, I’m grateful.

We also wrote down one thing that we didn’t celebrate enough in our lives. I wrote down my family. I don’t celebrate my wonderful parents and brothers enough. I don’t celebrate our closeness or the stability of my childhood.

As we went around the room, we celebrated each good and bad experiences shared. It was refreshing, it lifted the burdens of the day, and it brought so much perspective to everything around us. And it served as a timely reminder to me that even in the midst of stress and pain, there are reasons to celebrate. And the things we celebrate can be seemingly small or very big. Even the small things are blessings from God.

So sweet sisters, take a few moments to pause and celebrate today. Reflect on a hard time (maybe even a season you’re in now) and try to find the small ways God is working or has worked. Think about something in your life that you don’t celebrate enough. Pause and say thank you to God, and maybe even shoot a text or give a friend a call to tell them how much they mean to you. For me, when I practice awareness of all the small ways God is working, and reflect on the big ways he’s come through, it helps me hold on and stay focused when things aren’t so good. 

Emily Laney is a social worker, educator, and justice seeker. She has worked with vulnerable populations in the United States and abroad and loves to help startup nonprofits reach their goals.  She is a Passion City Church door holder and leads a team of abolitionists at Not for Sale Georgia. She loves her husband Brent and their rescue pup Biscuit. Sunsets and Sushi make her happy.

You can connect with Emily on twitter @emilylaney or on her blog

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