This morning after praying a long time for my rat Art Bell -- who temporarily went into minor respiratory distress -- I went to sleep focusing on the belief that God would take care of him. One of my biggest challenges is "letting go" and believing that God will answer prayer, which, in this case, was to take care of Art Bell so I could sleep. It's a very good practice in faith and in not being a control freak.
When I awoke, I checked him to find he was better, then I went to have devotions. I have been reading a Psalm a day lately, and as I picked up my BCP, I wondered if the Psalm I was on today might encourage me with the current situation. Well, there was a verse that said "You save both man and beast." I was struck by how out of the blue the verse was, too. Most of the Psalm is about defeating enemies. Anyway, I am thankful for how God spoke to me, how he has been close to me in my struggles. I am thankful FOR the struggles. When I actually do the right thing and pray about them, it always draws me closer to God than I was before. I have been in daily contact with God since my trip to NM, when I thought all week I was losing Art Bell. In the end, it's not so much about losing or not losing Art Bell. It's about sticking close to God -- whatever situation he uses to remind me of that.
Another struggle I'm now thankful for was last week: I had a terrible conference with a parent who would not believe me when I said her son was disrespectful. I don't even want to go into that, but it was the type of conference that I could have really obsessed over for awhile. And I did, the following evening. But I prayed repeatedly that God would give me peace of mind over it, and I tried (repeatedly) to give it to Him. In the past, when I've difficulty with students, I have prayed twice for God to vindicate me (that's rare, but there is a time for it) and in both cases, the results were amazing. This time, though, I didn't feel led to pray that way, but I felt led to pray for my peace of mind. I wanted the parents to see it my way, of course, but that wasn't what I was to emphasize. So, like I said, I prayed for peace of mind. The very next day, I realized halfway through the day that the situation hadn't bothered me once. It felt like it had taken place a month ago instead of the day before. That is SO unusual for me, and I knew it was an answer to prayer. And maybe the best on yet, since it helped me grow in an area I'm so often deficient.