My dental bills last week totaled $314, and this after my insurance had paid some of the amount. David and I had changed from more expensive dental coverage that pretty much took care of all the routine stuff. This new plan has an incremental process; the first year it pays 60%, the second year it pays 70% and by the third year, it is up to paying 80%. At any rate, we’ll wait and see if it begins to cover most of our dental expenses.
Things are a little tight financially. A dear friend, who supported David monthly with a personal check for $1,000, is no longer able to continue that commitment, so I have been in a cost-cutting mode. I know implicitly that God will provide. He always has—in over five decades of marriage and ministry. (But I have to confess to some inner grousing about putting any money out for dental maintenance.)
However, that still, small voice—you know, the one that reminds us of lessons we’ve learned and forgotten—spoke up. Well, Karen. At least you have enough money to pay the dental bills!
OK. OK. Lesson learned long ago when unexpected funds came my way and got swallowed up by leaky plumbing, or kids’ school expenses, or a broken dryer. Nope. You won’t be able to do what you were planning to do with that money, but at least you have the money to pay for the plumber, the service technician, or the kids’ field-trip adventure.
These are spiritual habits that reconfigure unhealthy responses. Thank God for what you have—enough money to pay the dental bill—and stop complaining about what you might not have—enough money to get through the approaching holiday season. We have to practice being thankful.
An Internet article titled “Three Big Benefits of Being Thankful Every Day” quotes the work of researchers. Seth Borenstein, a science writer for the Associated Press, examines how being appreciative on a regular basis can impact our lives. “Gratitude is literally one of the few things that can measurably impact people’s health.” According to the studies: Being Thankful Connects You With Other People—
When a group of organ-transplant patients were asked to keep a daily gratitude journal while another group simply wrote about the basic details of their day, the group that regularly listed what they were thankful for scored significantly higher on measures of both physical and mental health.
Being thankful also connects you with other people, the experts say, and being thankful can change your attitude on life. I’ll talk about those some more in this week’s blogs, but for now, let’s just practice being thankful for everything—“Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Give thanks even for money to pay the dental bill.
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.