Today, I woke up without a headache and was grateful. The reason NOT having a headache seemed like such a gift was because yesterday I DID have a headache, almost the entire day, and I felt miserable. Later this afternoon, when I got home from work, my house was clean and cheerfully decorated with all my Christmas regalia; I felt a surge of joy as I plugged in the twinkle lights on the tree and watched it come to life. This scene was even more of a blessing to me today, because over the past few days, with a downcast spirit and the nagging headache, I lived amid an archipelago of Rubbermaid tubs, tissue paper, and fake evergreen needles, struggling to get everything hung and strung.

Having an enlarged perspective really makes a difference, helping me not take so much for granted.

But headaches and downcast spirits are not just about changing my perspective; they help change me. Every difficult day the Lord helps me endure gives me strength for the next difficult day. And as He develops me into someone who looks a little bit like Jesus, then, maybe I can actually be thankful for the headache, not just for the lack of one.

But I also am learning that being thankful for the headache doesn’t mean changing how I feel about headaches. I think it means living in the moment, experiencing the frustration and discouragement of having a mortal body, and offering them to the Lord as a sacrifice. This isn’t a quick fix or an easy answer; owning our pain is hard. But offering them to the Lord gives Him more space to walk with us through it.

I am thankful that yesterday is behind, and today is at hand. But both are preparing me for tomorrow.