In so many of life’s junctures we face a constant choice….concentrate on what’s missing, or celebrate what’s not.

A few years ago I was struggling with jealousy, looking at others who speak in places I want to speak, or have done seemingly more than I have relative to writing, television, ministry, etc.

One day while reading their tweets leading me down the path of envy, I heard the gentle voice of God saying, “Do you not like what I’ve given you?”

Immediately I went to my own scenarios with gift giving….We would never buy our four sons the same things at Christmas, but instead spend careful time considering their unique needs and tastes, choosing things we hope they’ll love.

When kids are young you can get them all the same thing and they’re happy.  As they get older though, giving them each the same thing makes them feel slighted, rather than unique or special. 

Likewise, God chooses things for each of us that He wants us to have — places, roles, provisions, and gifts that suit us uniquely.  When we compare with others, I believe we sadden His generous heart.

His simple question to me that day brought needed conviction.  I realized that jealousy is a poverty mentality, thinking that somehow your gain is my loss.  It disregards His unique care and love.  Gratitude changes attitude, and I committed that day to being more thankful than ever over what I have, vs. what seems to be missing.

Last week we took our first vacation in a long time, four rich days in St. Thomas, a place we’ve loved since our honeymoon there eight years ago.  Upon check-in we were surprisingly upgraded to the Presidential Suite.  We still have no idea why, except the young man at the front desk was generous.  We were humbled and grateful.

There were a few moments on the beach watching people with their precious kids, that I pondered missing out on having babies.  I wiped a few tears and reminded myself that many moms with young children aren’t sitting on a beach. 

I’ve not been cheated, but lavished.  So have you. 

Lord, forgive me for looking at others with envy, disregarding all you’ve chosen and given. Thanks too, for the parched and dry times, when the manna felt like it was running out and I was angry at You for your apparent inattention. Those times taught the “art of gratefulness,” a learned art indeed, becoming increasingly less attached to how things appear, and more attached to Who you are.

Most of us will never know what real hunger or depravity are.  This week of Thanksgiving, may we cultivate an “abundance mentality,” a lifechanging lifestyle that is life-giving.

A few fun pics from our time in St. Thomas…

Thank you for the upgrade Takebo (this young man understands what real customer service is, so enjoyed our talks with him.)

View off one of our balconies

View off the other balcony….Caribbean waters have a color all their own

Iguanas love St. Thomas too, almost stepped on this guy, creepy, fascinating how he matches the color of the seaweed that brushes up on the shore

My daily view, this man deserves time to read and getaway

Whenever possible, match your Bible to your beach attire & nail color 🙂

Came right up to my beach chair, beautiful coloration in God’s creation

Beachside nachos, rare junk treat!

Ron’s brother from another mother, turns out new friend Luke pastors when he’s not working at the hotel

I’m a sucker for tropical plants

And beautiful outdoor lobbies

Talk about abundance, outdoor stir-fry buffet night, and this young man eager and ripe for the Gospel, divine appt time with him.

One final night sunset, drinking it in

Waiting for our taxi to the airport

Racking up airline miles for two free tickets came in handy, thank you friendly skies!

Holding these images in our minds long after we leave.

Early morning rain reminded us, God’s promises and gifts abound

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