Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’
I was saddened to see how long it had been since I had posted a current gratitude list. I knew it had been awhile, but I didn’t realize it had been months. And while on some level, I could make excuses for myself (work stress, I’m pregnant and dealing with all of the discomforts associated with it), the flip side is that by not pushing through those things and offering up thanks to God anyway (by faith!) I forfeit the blessing that comes from being intentional about expressing my gratitude for all the blessings He has given me. I forfeit the perspective of seeing what I truly have, rather than allowing myself to become depressed over all the things I think I deserve and don’t have. The result of course, of not paying attention to all the blessings around me, is a spiritual dryness, a loss of intimacy and relationship with my God and Savior.
It’s funny, how during times of particular closeness with Him, I tell myself, “don’t forget this! Don’t forget what a blessing this is! Don’t let the Enemy in!” But that’s exactly what I did. I told myself I was too stressed, too tired, too….you name it…to be ever mindful of God’s hand and work in my life. This is how Satan works; he subtly diverts our attention to the cares of the world instead of the promises of God.
So, tentatively, humbly, I come before the cross, once again recognizing the mess that I am and beauty that He is and begin to whisper again…Thank You God…
889. new life growing within me
890. summer vacation
891. job transfer! Back to my old school site!
892. couples retreat
893. nephew Tyler Jayden born!
894. safe labor and delivery for my sister
895. new dad brother in law
896. being an auntie
897. Lyli saying “mommy, I love you” several times a day
898. friends moving close by
899. friends moving far away
900. God’s continued provision
What if we thanked God for our weaknesses instead of begging to be freed from them? Perhaps our freedom would come because thanking God for where we are weakest actually draws us closest to Him and His grace, mercy, and power.
Thanking Him for…
873. the stronger sense of my need for Him
874. red flannel nightie on my growing girl
875. four year old birthday party
876. blessings of clothes and shoes for my growing girl
877. more new students
878. growing closer in my relationship with my husband
879. Lyli starting ballet class
880. ballet slippers on little feet
881. Lyli’s four year old retelling of the woman who washes Jesus’ feet with her tears (“Jesus had an owie on His foot, and the girl washed His foot with raindrops from her eyes”)
882. reading Made to Crave
883. ministry opportunities
884. fellowship at church
885. breakfast in bed
886. 4 day weekend
887. date night
888. Paul’s arm around me in church
He who began a good work…
So close to getting to my one thousand gifts…and still such a slacker!
Will I ever learn?
Is this where I find grace?
May I have eyes to see God’s gifts all around me…
Thank you God…
857. Lyli turning 4! that’s crazy! she was just born….
858. Additional required schooling being paid for by my district (a huge blessing)
859. Paul and Dad going to Men’s Conference at church
860. Extra help in my classroom! (with experience too, yay!)
861. Girl scout cookies (thin mints!) it’s the little things…
862. great weather
863. Tobie (the dog) getting a bath
864. Lyli loudly singing Disney tunes while in the shower
865. Lyli saying-”I love you mama”
866. Sister’s having a boy! Looking forward to holding little Isaiah Landon when he arrives
867. married couple’s study
868. free books for my Kindle
869. Missing friends…thankful I have friends to miss..(you know who you are!)
870. Finishing a journal
871. Starting a new journal
872. restful weekends
With Christmas coming up, I often ponder how to make the holiday more meaningful for my family; especially my three year old. From an early age, I want her to NOT get into the whole “making her Christmas list” thing, and to focus on Jesus and how He is that good and perfect gift. We started a Jesse Tree tradition last year. The Jesse Tree readings help to prepare our hearts to center on the coming of Jesus and the celebration of His birth.
While I know it’s still kind of controversial for some Christians, (and I may write about this in a future post), we do allow Lyli to participate in activities involving Santa Claus. We took her to see Santa in the mall and we have watched Christmas movies that involved Santa. I really do not have any strong opinions about Santa at this point.
It was hearing a friend call Santa Claus “Jesus’ helper” though, that gave me the idea to label Lyli’s Christmas gifts “To Lyli from Jesus” instead of “To Lyli from Santa”. Not because I believe the Santa tradition is bad or evil, but rather to help my daughter begin to learn and understand Who really is the Gift-Giver, the One who gave the ultimate Gift of His life.
James 1:17 reads:
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
And His gifts are never-ending because His riches are immeasurable…
816. Time off with family
817. Christmas lights twinkling on the tree
818. Lyli dressed up as a lamb singing “Away in a Manger”
819. Husband reading the Jesse Tree readings
820. Rest from work
821. upcoming blog changes! (good changes!)
822. God’s Holy Spirit speaking to me
823. learning how to bless my family
824. family snuggles
825. Christmas music
826. lit candles
827. seeing answered prayer
828. upcoming family and friend celebrations
829. husband birthday secrets
830. Lyli singing “heart, heart, giving my heart to Jesus”
831. Christmas movies
832. Christmas stories
833. the generosity of others
834. Hanna riding a horse in the Christmas parade
835. Work plans coming together
I’ve become a gratitude slacker.
Somehow I think I expected the momentum of practicing gratitude to just continue to carry me along. That I would have all the warm fuzzy feelings and gratitude would spontaneously come forth from my unfortunately, deceived…heart.
I have friends who are practicing gratitude for this month of November, the month of Thanksgiving. They post their lists of things to be grateful for on Facebook. The irony of this does not escape me. I, who have been championing gratitude this year, on this blog, read the simple and the profound things that people are grateful for…and my heart remains cold and detached. This to me, is proof of my own sin nature. The heart that does not, on its own, seek the things of God, without being intentional about it.
Friends, this cannot be so. How do I get back into the “groove” of gratitude?
First, I must look for it. I have to learn to “see” the hand and the love of almighty God that is all around me.
I must seek after gratitude.
Then I must write it, verbalize it, live it in service to others.
I realize now that I won’t ever “arrive” at having this whole gratitude thing down. There won’t be one day where I just wake up and my heart is naturally full of gratitude. And that’s ok. That is one safeguard against pride. It is ok for me to admit what I “can’t” do without the working of the Holy Spirit in me. This admission of my need further teaches me the very meaning of grace.
So today, once again, I lift my eyes to see…
791. Lyli healed of lung infection
792. God’s continued provision of our needs
793. extra help in my classroom
794. cool weather
795. plenty of warm clothing
796. the birth of beautiful Madilynn Lee
797. sister’s continued health during pregnancy
798. Lyli’s love of singing for Jesus
799. Upcoming birthdays
800. the gathering of the body of Christ
801. Friends who love and last throughout the years
802. a husband who doesn’t mind playing the “superhero’ to Lyli’s “princess”
803. a restful weekend
804. sitting in church with my husband by my side, when others have spouses deployed in places far away
805. the many freedoms that I take for granted
So it’s been a few weeks since I last posted for Multitude Monday. It’s not that I didn’t think about it…I did.
I’ve been weary…physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually. I knew I should give thanks, but I didn’t feel like giving thanks. Keeping up with my gratitude list just seemed like one more chore…one more task on my “to-do list”.
Can’t you hear the devil laugh?
As I kept insisting to myself, that I was really too tired, too stressed, really too full of myself to give thanks, something started happening to my heart.
The old Christian rap/pop band DC Talk described it like this:
As I allowed my feelings to dictate my choice to give thanks in all things, my choices became ugly, impatient, angry, selfish. Whereas when I choose to give thanks, regardless of my feelings, the grace of God floods my heart and brings peace and contentment that defuses the stress, weariness, anxiety.
So TODAY, I WILL give thanks for…
778. a sister’s exciting news
779. God’s provision for my mom
780. Paul’s continuing health challenges
781. Dad coming home!
782. Continued work challenges
783. Finding new sisters in the Lord at work
784. Carter Michael, 8 lbs, 1 oz, 2o inches long
785. Reading some of the work of Charles Spurgeon
786.Communion and being able to commune with my Savior and others
787. first failed attempt at container gardening
788. Family coming together
789. Treated to a dinner out–a real treat!
790. a generous husband
I feel like I’ve been complaining too much lately about how stressful work has been.
I feel parched.
I hit the door running and go all day long, with the needs of others pulling at me continuously. I am drained emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. I start the day out making promises to myself that I will not get stressed out; I will remain calm; I will speak kindly to my students; I won’t raise my voice unnecessarily.
And then the day starts, and nothing goes how I planned. And I find myself getting all tense and clenched with the struggle to keep the facade of calm. Unfortunately, my family feels the effects of how I let my work day affect me. I am harsh. I snap. I don’t want to be touched or talked to. I want to be left alone. I feel like I don’t have anything left over to give my family.
I especially don’t feel like giving thanks.
I am reminded of something a friend shared with me recently.
Shelly has a houseplant in her bathroom. She says she waters it sporadically; usually with leftover water from her water bottle. It doesn’t die, but it sure doesn’t look like it’s thriving. It struggles to grow. One weekend, she had family visiting. A couple days later, she noticed that her plant was standing straight up, looking fresh and strong. Her mother told her later that she had submerged the plant in water. When the plant got what it needed, it grew healthy.
When I am not getting my sustenance and nourishment from the Word of God, I am like that plant, barely hanging on. I get snippets of the Word here and there, but what I really need is to be “submerged” in it, taking the time to receive what God has for me through the reading and meditating of it.
Acts 3:19 talks about times of refreshing coming from the presence of the Lord. For this refreshment, I need to make intentional time to spend in His presence. While it may seem like another thing on the “to-do” list, that time with God is really the foundation for anything else I do that day.
So, by faith, I intentionally give Him thanks for…
767. growing plants
768. cool weather
769. Lyli spelling her name
770. hugs from students
771. baby showers
772. little pigtails
773. a patient husband
775. firemen, policemen, doctors, nurses, soldiers
776. my country and our freedom
777. hope for the future in Jesus’ name
If you read this blog on a regular basis, you may have noticed that I have missed posting for “Multitude Monday” for the last couple of weeks.
Well, in a word, I’ve been exhausted. Tired. Weary. Pooped.
Going back to work and changing schools has been overwhelming.
And to be honest, the last thing I felt like doing was stopping to reflect and meditate on all that I had to be thankful for. I felt like I didn’t have the TIME, let alone the energy to be intentional about thanking God for all His blessings.
I did not want to stay in that place of energy depletion. I think it’s really been a ploy of Satan to get me off track; to get me to be discontent with where God has me; to resent being “stretched” yet again; to cause me to doubt the sufficiency of God to meet ALL my needs.
Also, I think because I’m getting close to my goal of finding one thousand things to be thankful for, Satan has gone into overdrive to discourage and overwhelm me.
So, to once again quote Ann Voskamp:
“…I know all our days are struggle and warfare and that the spirit-to-spirit combat I endlessly wage with Satan is this ferocious thrash for joy. He sneers at all the things that seem to have gone hideously mad in this sin-drunk world, and I gasp to say that God is good. The liar defiantly scrawls his graffiti across God’s glory, and I heave to enjoy God…and Satan strangles, and I whiten the knuckles to grasp real Truth and fix that beast to the floor.”
I will fix that beast to the floor with the Word of God and declare my thanks to Him, even in the middle of my exhaustion.
755. classroom in order (mostly)
756. Back to School Night is done and over
757. Date night!
758. More of Lyli’s pretendings
759. a good night’s sleep
760. enthusiastic hugs from second graders
761. “N.” starting to do some classwork!
762. quiet mornings with God’s words to nourish and replenish my spirit
763. upcoming baby showers
764. spending time with a kindred spirit
765. evening service at Harvest Christian Fellowship
766. Saturday “stayin in my pj’s’ Day
When Paul and I found out in 2008 that I was pregnant with a baby girl, he admitted to being a little disappointed. He was hoping for a boy. But I knew better. I told him that moms and daughters fight but that daddies are always the favorite, and that he would always be our daughter’s hero.
These last two weeks, with Paul in the hospital were difficult for Lyli. How did I know? She fought me tooth and nail over EVERYTHING.
Lyli, it’s time to get dressed…
No! I don’t want to get dressed!
Lyli, it’s time for dinner…
No! I don’t want dinner!
Lyli, it’s time to turn off the tv
No! I don’t want to turn off the tv! (this interaction was accompanied by screaming at me and throwing things)
Lyli, it’s time for bed…
No! I don’t want to go to bed!!
Who knew a three year old could be so stubborn? She would defy me until she got a “spank” or time-out in her “spot”, and then…
I want daddy! (sob)
Now, it’s possible that she could have been playing me. I am amazed that at her age, she already tries to play Paul and I against each other. (it never works, by the way!)
But, I really do think that by the time her acting out had gotten her into “trouble”, she just was so confused and agitated that she fell back on the one thing that was out of place in her world. The one thing that was missing. Daddy.
Sure, mom is great and teaches her stuff, makes her meals, bathes her, cleans up after her, etc.
plays make believe with her
plays hide n seek with her
shows her cool stuff on daddy’s “puter” (computer)
talks to her about her day
prays with her
While Paul and I are definitely a parenting team, there is just something about a daddy.
Thank You Lord for…
743. Paul coming home from the hospital
744. Paul coming home with NO tubes, drains, or IVs
745. Lyli sitting on Daddy’s lap for a story
746. Time with family
748. Lyli “swimming” in the “big” pool
749. Good morning and good night kisses
750. Sleeping husband next to me
751. Lyli camping out on the floor in our room
752. Sitting in church with Paul
753. Conversations about God using trials to grow us in our relationship with Him and each other
754. Taking communion with Paul at church