So I began a project that I thought would be fun and amazing and it turned out to be quite different then I envisioned it to be.

I cut the leaves off the magnolia trees, two bags full, and was excited to make a magnolia leaf garland for our mantle.

I began cleaning the leaves, laying them out to dry and using floral wire to tie them in bunches on the long piece of jute roping. Hours passed, my hands were tired and I was done. Who knew it would take this long and be this much work for something that was supposed to be fun.

After a shower break to clear my mind and renew my resolve to keep going, I stayed the course until the last leaf bunch was wired in place.

The garland looked awesome laying out on the kitchen table and not so much so, when I put it on my fireplace mantle.

This was not the look I was going for and it definitely did not match the Instagram post where I got the idea. Their fireplace was all white and mine was not. So why had I imagined it would look the same or close to it? After all that time and effort, there I was disappointed and the grumpiness began to settle in.

Online it was all simply beautiful and rather perfect. The garland on my reddish, black and brown brick fireplace did not resemble that perfect looking photo that was stuck in my mind.

I do this often. I get my mind set on one thing and then there is reality and often the two do not match up. Then I am tempted to get discouraged and give up. This is life, our perfectly, imperfect life where most of us live somewhere between what we envisioned, where we are now, & where we want to be.

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I nestled the magnolia garland on top of an armoire, turned food cupboard, in my kitchen instead of on the fireplace mantle. On top of this armoire, behind the garland, is where the painted canvas that reads, Choose Joy, is leaning. How appropriate and ironic.

Whether it’s a project gone a bit wacky or life that has turned little upside down or a lot, we find ourselves in these crazy situations trying to figure out what to do with the results of what we did not plan for.

The disappointments, the struggles, and the wrongs eventually turned around for our good, usually seems impact us more in the long run than getting it all right from the very beginning. Why is it we learn the hard way faster?

So today in my imperfect home, with my not so perfect life, I choose to position myself in a place of thanksgiving.

Well, I am trying to anyway. I have to keep choosing this position moment by moment, day after day and some days I fail miserably. This would especially apply recently as I let the storms of life push me under.

Maybe I will spend a lifetime learning to practice 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Why is it the clear, made known, will of God takes so much practice? We can be so intentional and then fall off the wagon so quickly and find ourselves grumbling again.

It’s like I push pause on being thankful and resting and trusting and experiencing God’s peace and all of a sudden all the bricks disappointment and fear come tumbling down on me.

This is NOT the first storm I’ve encountered that has continued brewing past it’s expiration date or at least the expiration date that I assigned to it. Maybe it’s the accumulation of storms that finally wears us down?

Maybe it’s the accumulation of storms that finally wears us down?

It comforts me to know that even Jesus asked His Heavenly father if there was another way besides the cross.

Mounting circumstances can leave us asking our Heavenly Father if there is any other way and if not, please speed up the process so we can get relief – in Jesus Name, Amen!

Yet, when I stop for a moment and begin to call out the things I am thankful for, as praise to God, the atmosphere changes. Chains the enemy began slipping around me again, break and fall off. Obedience is powerful, even when I run from it at first.

My sweet friend, I get it. I get it when you find yourself frustrated, exhausted and the expiration date on your situation is past due. Jesus gets it too.

I find comfort in knowing that there was a storm Jesus slept through and then there was the storm He asked if he could be removed from, while his disciples slept. Maybe you will find comfort in knowing this too.

We are on this journey together, my friends. With each other and God, we can do this – I think, said with a smile and a deer in the head lights looking emoji.

For today I’m ignoring the storm, choosing to enjoy colorful buildings and looking up to the blue skies, from where my help comes from.

Have you found yourself in a situation with results you did not plan for? What was one thing that helped you for move forward? I look forward to hear from you!

In this with you and cheering you on friend!

Joelle

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