As I reach up to snip away a small branch my sore muscles complain and twitch as though they have a mind of their own, and I have second thoughts about tree trimming as a leisurely way to wind down at the end of a long day.  I have not done any major lifting or stressful workouts, I have simply worked muscles that are unaccustomed to labor. And yet, despite being weary and sore, I am momentarily comforted knowing that aching muscles indicate that I have worked and while hard work may temporarily make me feel weak and weary, it is actually good for my body.

In a nation where many are obsessed with fitness and work hard to trim and tone their physical bodies, I wonder how often are we thankful for the opportunity to work and stretch our character muscles? I wonder because my muscles have not been the only part of me that has been worked and stretched this week. An over-whelming schedule has left me mentally and emotionally drained, as well as physically weary, and I am reminded once again that I can do nothing without Christ who gives me strength.  But even though I have found myself stressed to the point of tears more than once lately, I have been thanking my Heavenly Father for each stressful day and trusting that all things do work together for good for those who love the Lord. And… I am thankful that I can be thankful.

There was a time in my life when I did not want to hear anyone quote Romans 8:28 and my heart doubted the truth of that scripture, though I may not have admitted my doubts – even to myself. But through many long and trying years God stretched my faith and molded my heart and today I thank Him for the opportunity to stretch my faith and my character once more. I thank Him that I can thank Him!