Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thankful Thursday

It's Thursday and I'm so very thankful . . .

241.  I am thankful for the lessons that are only learned in the wilderness.  Jason and I had this conversation the other night.  We were talking about how the last 10 months or so of our life have felt something like wandering through unknown territory, something like trying to make sense out of being in a place you've never been before, something like trying to find your way to the place you should be when you realize you traveled off course or missed the mark.  A spiritual mentor heard our cries and listened to the deepest groanings of our heart and spoke words that resonated with our exact place.  He reckoned it to the wanderings of the Israelites in their wilderness days.  He reminded us that those days don't last forever, but that God has a work to do there too.  I'm thankful for that.  I'm thankful that even though we sometimes don't like it there I can see that God is doing a work in our minds, in our hearts, and in our spirit.  Jason and I were reminded by God that the story of the Red Sea and of the Jordan and of the manna from Heaven all came because of a people wandering through a wilderness and looking to their faithful God even when they were on a roller-coaster ride of obedience.  I'm thankful that many of the stories that were passed from one generation to the next came from the wilderness, from a people who learned to be dependent on their God, to obey His voice, and to bow to no other but Him, even if it was a lesson sometimes learned the hard way.

241.  I am thankful to hear my little girl learn to read.  It is simple joy.

242.  I am thankful when my big girl is eager to read.

243.  I am thankful for squeals and laughter heard everyday around my house.

244.  I am thankful for what God is teaching me in the waiting.  I am thankful that He is working on my behalf and that in His time all things will work together for good.

245.  I am thankful for a clean house--it's sometimes the little things that feel like an elephant has finally removed itself from your chest.

246.  I am thankful for prayer.  I am thankful that it doesn't have to be eloquent, lengthy, or loud.  I am thankful that it can be just the mention of His name, the cry of our heart;  it can be silence;  it can be tears.  It is our heart crying to the heart of our Father.  

247.  I am thankful that God treats us all as individuals.  He has a unique plan and purpose for all of us.  He knows us all intimately and call us all individually.  He is not playing a game of comparisons.  He loves us all as the apple of His eye.

248.  I am thankful for home-grown vegetables.

249.  I am thankful for family reunions.

250.  I am thankful for fun afternoons with my hubby, even when they're spent working on our "to-do list".  He is great company.  He makes life fun and bearable.  He is the one who knows what I am thinking without me having to say a word.  He is quirky and entertaining and makes even mundane tasks enjoyable.  He appreciates what is important to me and offers to help me with the chores that seem like they'll never end.

251.  I am thankful for another birthday.  I am thankful for birthday wishes from lots of family and friends that remind me of just how blessed I am with relationships.  I am thankful for moments to celebrate!

252.  I am thankful for leisurely Sunday lunches around the dining room table with family catching up on what's been going on in our lives.

253.  I am thankful for Grandpa and 70 years of life for him.  I am thankful to share this journey with him.

254.  I am thankful for grace.  At every moment it is pursuing me, it is upholding me, and it is often restraining me.  I am thankful for AMAZING GRACE!!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

36 years 364 days

Life is full of interruptions.  Lately, I've felt my days have been chaotic, harried, full of things I can't control.  For my type-A, organized, live by a plan self, this has been a little overwhelming.  I've been wondering what I'm suppose to be learning in all of this because I've come to realize that God doesn't bring things into my life without a reason, without intention, without a cause.  He ALWAYS has a plan and a purpose for the seasons in my life.  Sometimes those seasons are short-lived and sometimes they seem like they'll never end.  Sometimes I immediately sense what it is He's trying to do in me or through me or what it is He's trying to get out of me or develop in me.  Sometimes, however, I'm not that easy of a student.  Sometimes it takes me a little time. 

On this occasion, I think I'm discovering some of the lessons He's trying to teach.  On the other hand, I'm not quite sure that there aren't some things I still need to let Him show me.  I am desperate for Him to teach me.  I'm desperate to learn.  I want to let go.  I want to be teachable.  I want to receive the work He's desiring to do in me, and yet so many times I'm so wrapped up in my predetermined plans, in my formulated goals and dreams, in my schedule and in my agenda that I simply miss it.  I get so wrapped up in the interruptions that I miss the opportunities.  I want to ENJOY the Journey.  I want to see the opportunities not just the interruptions.  I want to learn the lessons.  I want to be a true disciple, a Christ follower, changed daily from the inside out.  I want to understand what it means to embrace the moments of this life and to see the fullness of each one.  I want to live a life of thanksgiving to the One who makes it all worthwhile. 

Tomorrow I'll be 37 years old.  As I turn thirty-seven, I think of how some things have turned out exactly how I dreamed and others have taken a much different path.  While there have been seasons of absolute peace and clarity, there have also been times I've found myself far from the place I would have imagined or hoped for.  I feel at times much like the Israelites in their wilderness wanderings.  I find myself still clinging to the hope that in God's time I will see the Promised Land.  I know that there has not been one season of this journey wasted, one moment of hurt or pain or victory or healing that God is not using to write His story of my life.  I'm so glad that I can trust Him to make sense of it all.  So on the eve of my 37th birthday, I choose to give thanks for so much that is a part of my story today that may or may not be a part of my story in a year or in two years.  I understand though that these things are a part of my becoming who He desires for me to be.  I choose to give thanks for even the tough stuff, the stuff that often leaves a lump in my throat, a knot in my stomach, that causes me to cling to Him like never before, that sends me first thing in the morning to His feet in utter dependence, that is the air I breathe and the only reason I look to the future with hope. 

219.  I am thankful for God's reminder that there is hope on the other side of whatever struggle I face today.

220.  I am thankful that life's sweetest moments are not about things but about relationships.

221.  I am thankful for prayer that sustains me moment by moment throughout my days.

221.  I am thankful for the squeals and laughter of my daughters as they play together in the pool.

222.  I am thankful for new birth.  My sweet friends are welcoming new babies to their families and what a blessing!!!  

223.  I am thankful that God is speaking order into the chaos of our daily home school schedule.  He's helping me figure out how to meet each of my girl's needs by providing them each with ample one on one time.  So very, very thankful for this.  

224.  I am thankful for forward progress in the van ministry at church.

225.  I am thankful for Marvelous Mondays.

226.  I am thankful for my husband who always seems to speak a word that reminds me that every thing's going to be okay.  He has a way of refocusing me on who we are as a family, of the God we serve, and of what we've committed ourselves to in Him. 

227.  I am thankful for a husband who works hard at his employer and in our home.  He serves us well and loves us with the love of Christ.  

228.  I am thankful that even the worst days only last for a while.

229.  I am thankful that my husband and I are each other's strongest advocates and biggest supporters in our walk with Christ.  I am thankful for the conversations we have about our faith journeys and about what God is teaching us and how we want to pursue Christ more.

230.  I am thankful for weekend fun with my hubby and girls. 

231.  I am thankful for times to work together with the family; marking things off our to-do list is always fun. 

232.  I am thankful for the opportunity to do ministry together.

233.  I am thankful for Anna Claire's funny faces and hilarious sayings.

234.  I am thankful for Carrington's wise beyond her years perspective on life.

235.  I am thankful for days when both girls will say, "I want to go on a mission trip with my family."  That is music to my ears.

236.  I am thankful for moments when they erupt in praise music and sing and sing and sing.

237.  I am thankful for times when Carrington will say, "I love you Mom" for no reason, just because.

238.  I am thankful for the Word of God, it is what sustains me.  It is oxygen to me.  It is what answers ALL of life's questions and convinces me that I can go on. 

239.  I am thankful that there is NOTHING that is impossible with GOD.  I am thankful that on days when I am struggling to believe this someone else isn't and they speak a Word to me that encourages me to move forward. 

240.  I am thankful that God is not finished with me yet, that He who began a good work in me will complete it (Philippians 1:6). 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Trusting God to be ENOUGH

Well this is one of those weeks when my "Thankful Thursday" post has turned into a Thankful Friday post.  We've been without TV, internet, and phone since Tuesday so being able to post has been an impossibility until today.  It has been a nice thing to have no TV, no internet, and no phone for a few days.  I have to say we haven't missed it much.  It's allowed us to spend our time in other ways, and that's been a good thing.  :) 

Recently, I have found myself fighting this little feeling that rises up in me at least once a day.  I'm not really sure what to attribute it to.  I'm not sure of it's cause, source, or contributing factors.  I will be feeling just fine and then all of a sudden I will feel anxious, cranky, uneasy, almost jittery.  So, I've just had to make a conscious decision to refocus, to cast all my cares upon Him, to choose my words wisely rather than to speak harshly or suddenly, and to find a few minutes of reprieve to relax, to choose to look to the ONLY ONE who has the ANSWER to ALL OF LIFE'S DILEMMAS!!!  I remind myself as Paul wrote to the Ephesisans (6:12) "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."  I must be fully armed with Truth, with righteousness, with feet that are ready, with peace, with faith, with the Word of God, and with the assurance of my salvation.  And, I MUST STAND!!!  I must not falter.  I must STAND FIRM!!!Even when I feel like my legs are weak, my mind is foggy, my hands are shaky, and my stomach is queasy. . .  I must STAND!!!  I must know that I am in a battle and that I will not win it, UNLESS I allow Christ to prove Himself powerful in me. 

206.  Today I am thankful for a God who understands our deepest needs.  I am thankful that when I don't even understand my fears, my anxieties, or my needs, He already knows what is consuming me, what is best for me, and what will bring about His good in my life.

207.  I am thankful that I don't have to figure anything out.  I just have to trust that God's plans are at work as long as I stay fully committed to Him. 

208.  I am thankful for times when God sends someone to me to speak truth into my situation.  I am thankful that often they have no idea that they are being the mouth piece of God and yet they are speaking specifically to the deepest cry of my heart.

209.  I am thankful for deep conversations with my husband, for times when we discuss our spiritual journey and our commitment to serving Christ completely with our lives--wherever, however, and whatever that looks like.  I am thankful that our marriage is growing closer to the heart of God as we seek to know Him.

210.  I am thankful for a new year in school with my two daughters.  I am thankful for the days I get to sit across the table from them and learn together.  I am thankful for moments of sharing God's Word with them and learning together about God's amazing plan.

211.  I am thankful for Friday lunches with my friends.

212.  I am thankful for the completion of renovation projects around my house.

213.  I am thankful for a successful Back to School outreach and the opportunity to minister shoulder to shoulder with fellow Christ-followers.  I am thankful for a little girl named Isabella who now calls me "My Jennifer."  Two months ago we didn't even know each other; now I feel like she's an extension of my family.

214.  I am thankful that what God puts in place no man can destroy.

215.  I am thankful for my cousin's news of a baby girl and how we were able to smile even amidst the journey of grief knowing that Bradley's wishes were fulfilled.

216.  I am thankful for technology that brings great Biblical teaching into my home and into my heart via pod casts.

217.  I am thankful for the reminder that the "crazy stuff" in my life is all a part of God's working in me to work out for me what He desires to do with my life. 

218.  I am thankful that God's grace is simply ENOUGH!!!!