The Gift of Trials

This week on the podcast, we talked about enjoying the moment. It’s a great habit to practice. But, what do you do when your circumstances stink and you want to run away? When the last thing you want to do is to be present in your circumstances?

  • When the baby is puking on you?
  • When you are so sick you can’t get out of bed?
  • When there is a death in the family?
  • When your schedule is interrupted by catastrophe day after day?

It’s tough. I know. I want to practice being present and enjoying every moment just as much as the next gal.

With all of my pregnancies, I had morning sickness all day. I was hospitalized to get fluids in me because I couldn’t hold anything down. To say that I didn’t enjoy being sick is an understatement. To say that I didn’t enjoy any of my life during those pregnancies would be a lie. Even when my stomach literally felt as if it were on fire, I still was able to enjoy moments.

the gift of Trials

During seasons of stress, our mindset is key. These seasons are when we can grow.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.- James  1: 2-4

My first reaction when I have a test or challenge is definitely not to consider it a sheer gift. Most of the time, I think, What? Why me?  I can honestly say, on the other side of tests and trials that I can see how I have grown, how God has used them to help me mature. In order to be well-developed and not deficient in any way, we must let our faith grow. One way to do that, is be present in the moment even when our circumstances stink.

The truth is whatever is in our heart will come out when we are under pressure. When our heart is full of good things including faith- the assurance of things we hope for, the assurance of things not seen. We belief that every good and perfect gift comes from God, so we look for those gifts. In times of stress, we must look harder for those good things. When we look for them, we will find them. This is truly finding the gift in the midst of trial.

It’s that time you are sitting in the hospital with a loved one and someone comes to visit and brings you a coffee.

It’s when your are are too ill to get out of bed and your friend brings you smoothies and a crock pot of chili for your kiddos.

It’s when you don’t have money for Christmas presents for your kids and a friend brings presents for all of them.

Maybe this is a new concept for you. Maybe you are still waiting for your circumstances to be perfect in order to enjoy your life. Did you read the title and think totally the opposite? I used to think that way. Honestly, I still slip back into that line of thinking. My first response to trials isn’t “thank you God for this gift!” What has changed about the way I approach trials? I look for the good. I search for it like treasure. This week, a super busy week, getting ready for an event, I got sick. Not the best time for that. I know. Yet, with the years of practicing looking for the good, I can find the gifts. The prayers of my team. The offers to help. FaceTime with my daughter and grandson. Seeing all my grandkids and daughters in one day (even that was due to a trial- a water line break in Amerey’s neighborhood, so everyone ended up here).

If you’re in the midst of a test or a series of events and you feel as if you are drowning, I’m sorry, friend. Could you take a moment and find something good? Could you practice it today and let me know how it went?

Adult Coloring Books or So I can think

I colored furiously, my crayon going back and forth and way out of the lines. I looked at my neighbor’s perfectly colored picture and broke down in tears. The teacher came back and knelt down next to me. “Kathleen, do you know how to color?” How to color? What? 

I was four years old. I didn’t know there were instructions in how to color. My parents were both educated people with  Masters and Doctorates between them. Our home was full of music, books and lots of discussion. Not much coloring. I had started school early at the finagling of my mama to stay with my sister (and Irish twin) eleven months my senior. My fine motor skills had not caught up with the five and six year olds in my class.

After a quick tutorial on how to color, kind teacher had another student proficient in the art give me a practice session in the hallway. I was amazed. Turns out, it was all about coloring in circles and outlining. I was hooked on coloring.

Fast Forward to adulthood and homeschooling my children:

When I began reading aloud to my children, I discovered a wonderful coloring resource- Dover Coloring books– which range from coloring wild flowers, Shakespeare scenes, history, nature, flags….you name it!

 

Adult coloring books are all the rage right now!  The Guire family isn’t following suit, but continuing on the path of coloring while we learn. Why should you color? Daughter Ania has been using her adult coloring book while listening to college lectures “so I can think,” she says.

Adult coloring 3

Why should children/adults color while listening to school lessons?

  1. Coloring gives the body something to do while the brain listens and relieves the stress of trying to pay attention.

“A lot of my fellow graduate classmates bring these coloring books into the classroom setting as a tool to focus more on lectures,” Citerella said, explaining that more professors are beginning to welcome this behavior. “For my internship, I find the clients who are fidgeting and cannot sit still ask for coloring the books in order to concentrate on group discussions”- Theresa Citerella, an art therapy student at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. (via The Therapeutic Science of Adult Coloring Books How This Childhood Pastime Helps Adult Relieve Stress)

2.  Coloring, given the right materials, reinforces what the student is learning.

Whatever you are studying, you can find a coloring book that relates to it. Studying the Civil War? Order some Dover coloring books on the subject. My girls love the fashions of the time while the boys appreciated the battle related books. Introducing your children to Shakespeare? Let them color some scenes from the well known plays while you read to them (I suggest starting with Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children for an introduction to plot lines, I read from this to my high school Shakespeare book club before we read the actual play aloud). Here is a great coloring book to accompany the reading: 

Color in a Dover coloring book about the Civil War while reading about it! 

3. You (the teacher) do not have to keep stopping to tell your children/teens to stop fidgeting while you are reading.

If kids are coloring while you read, you probably won’t have to stop and tell them to sit still as often. This ties in with reason number one, but I think it needs its own point. We adults often expect children to sit still for long periods. I can’t. Right now, while typing this, I am getting fidgety. I want to go outside and walk because I have been working in a chair  for far too long. I schedule my days to include many moving around and getting the blood circulating times. Kids don’t know how to verbalize this need so they fidget.

Just a warning- make sure all of your colored pencils are sharpened before you start your lessons or you will be in competition with a pencil sharpener.

*Today The Whole House is giving away an adult coloring book to relieve some of your stress!

How do you enter? It’s simple. Share this post on Facebook and tag TheWholeHouse.  If you don’t do Facebook, just comment on this post to enter. Drawing a name from all who share at 9pm.

Make sure you join us tomorrow for a new series on feminism!