A Gratitude Lesson

by: Felicia T. Scott

L ast spring. my mad rush to work was briefly interrupted by the unusual sight of a butterfly sitting smack dab in the middle of a New York City sidewalk. Despite the frenzy of. activity all around, it remained at rest. I moved closer and checked to see if it was alive. Its wings fluttered slightly, yet it did not fly away.

Suddenly. I learned the butterfly was there to give me a message. God had finally answered me! For months, my usual optimism had been faltering under the weight of mounting financial pressures and family challenges. Life was taking its toll. My conversations with God had become gripe sessions in which I gave him a list of things to do.

“Get me a husband., please. I need more speaking engagements, work on it.’’ My list went on and on. I had become discouraged and was holding it all together by a frayed knot. Through that butterfly, I sensed God saying He would turn it all around.. or so I thought.

The next morning I woke imp in agonizing pain with a bloated stomach. I had been experiencing intense stomach pain for several days. but had ignored it. My family had pleaded with me to go to the hospital. hut I refused. I thought I was simply suffering from a case of the stomach flu and PMS rolled into one. But as I labored to climb out of bed, I knew it was time to stop making assumptions.

For 12 hours, doctors and nurses prodded me in the emergency room. The general consensus was that my appendix had ruptured four days earlier. My symptoms indicated that I had also developed peritonitis, an acute infection of the digestive system. The fact that I was still alive and my blood was not toxic was nothing short of a miracle. The CAT scan results confirmed their beliefs--- my appendix had indeed ruptured. I needed surgery immediately!

While preparing fur surgery. my life played before my eyes. My big list of complaints was forgotten. Understanding that this could possibly he ii for me, I could think of nothing hut my mother, my family. and the rich friendships God had given me. Regret for what I didn’t have ceased and was replaced by the desire to simply live and enjoy the lite I had.

My surgery lasted two hours--- a normal appendectomy takes twenty minutes. Bacteria and waste had poisoned and paralyzed my digestive organs. Through my painful experience and the nearly two-month recovery process that followed, I learned a few lessons about gratitude.

Salvation The Ultimate Gift

Salvation is the greatest gilt ever given. Life is about knowing Christ and sharing His love with others, If we have Christ. then we truly have all we need. The day of my surgery I became sure of three things: I didn’t want to die. but if I did die. I knew Jesus was waiting for me. and I had a good life!

Salvation should not he taken for granted and we should enjoy our walk with Jesus every day. Believers and unbelievers alike face hard times. The difference is that we have been gifted with His presence and wisdom to face them. Millions go through life without the hope we have. When things don’t go our way in this world, we must be ever mindful of the fact that this is not all there is!

Loving Relationships — Life’s True Treasures

It’s easy to neglect our relationships . How many times have you thought to call. hut never called’? The truth is that the chance to call might not come again. As I waited in the emergency room, I was thankful for the people who were there for me. . God often sends His love to us through others.

Enjoy God’s love by enjoying the people He has chosen to love you. My family and friends made my eight days in the hospital bearable. My hospital room was filled with flowers and balloons that showed me God’s love.

Rejoice — It Hurts So Good!

We really must count it all joy (Jas. 1:2). Nothing is wasted in Christ; even our pains and tragedies have a purpose Sometimes It’s through pain that we are made better . Pain forced me to finally go to the hospital. God used it to save my life. Though I don’t believe He always authors our pain, I do believe that He always uses it to refine us for His glory. We can trust the Father and rest in knowing that He always does what is best for us. It may not always feel good. but it will work for our good. We must be thankful that He is not a parent who gives in to our temper tantrums. He keeps our character at the forefront of His mind.

Small Things = BIG Things

Nothing is small: it all matters. While in the hospital and during my first week at home. I relied on the hands of others to perform the most basic tasks for me. The little things mean a lot—don’t take them for granted. Whatever God has enabled you to do for yourself is a blessing.

That Monday as I stood fascinated by the butterfly on the concrete. I was unaware of the crisis I was about to face. But I did know that all of my challenges were in the process of making me into a person who others would know was a miracle. After becoming ill, the message only deepened: God can he trusted to take care of us through all that we experience and through the things that are not yet revealed. No matter what happens to us. like that butterfly, we can be at peace even when we are out of place. People will always wonder how we survive through seemingly impossible situations. It’s because we arc God’s butterflies, called to thrive and soar . That, my friend, is a reason to he grateful.

                    Felicia T. Scott is a minister and motivational

                    speaker living in New York, NY. Additionally,

                    she is an author of numerous books including

                    Thrive! 7 Strategies for Extraordinary Living

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