Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thanks Across the Miles

Over the last three weeks our family has been gone from home more than we've been here.  I think we were home 5 days of 21.  WHEW!!!  I can't remember that ever happening.  We were on the road and busy and loving it!!!  It meant some time for Jason and I to be together, the kiddos to be with grandparents, a family vacation, Carrington and I attending a ladies' retreat/conference together and Jason and AC enjoying some daddy and daughter time, and a short visit to see friends.  It meant a lot of car time that involved a whole lot of laughing, some deep conversations, some not so deep conversations that were absolutely ridiculous, some fun car games (like how many state license plates can we find), some great music, a few sermons on the iPhone and CD, school in the car, and yes as you can imagine a few times when I finally had to say, "no more talking, laughing, tickling, both of you stay on your own side of the car.  Stop bothering each other (HA!)".  The last four and a half days of being away from home involved us logging 1600 miles.  We saw some beautiful, wide-open farm land, amazing windmills, and there were moments of wondering if we'd make it to the next available exit before we needed to potty or eat.  AMAZING!!!!  These 3 weeks won't soon be forgotten by any of us.  There is indeed a lot in our life to be thankful for.  I hope you're living with your eyes wide open, taking a few moments everyday just to pause and say, "WOW!! God is amazing.  He is right in the middle of the good, the tough, and the stuff that leaves me wondering what now?!"

301.  I am thankful for the flexibility that homeschooling provides our family.  I am thankful for opportunities to teach them at home, in the car, in a hotel,  . . .  I am thankful for great learning opportunities all over the place.  I am thankful for what we're learning together everyday and for the opportunity to be their mom and their teacher.

302.  I am thankful for laughter and what it does to our hearts and our minds.  I am thankful that God put in us the ability to experience so many different emotions and to experience His world from different perspectives.

303.  I am thankful for the beauty of creation.  I am thankful that there are so many different landscapes and they all show the amazing hand of God.

304.  I am thankful for moments of worship that give us a small glimpse of heaven where we will all sing praises to the Lamb who is Worthy!!!!

305.  I am thankful for the few days I spent basking in the truths of God's Word next to my 10 year old.  I am thankful for her hunger for the things of God and for her sensitivity to His leading and guidance.  I am thankful for her innocence and her questions that are so pure and untainted by religiosity or by the world.

306.  I am thankful for women and men sent to mentor us on this journey.  I am thankful when they remind us to stay the course.  I am thankful when they encourage our hearts with simple truths that tell us to keep trusting God.  I am thankful for the reminder that God never gives up on us even if we feel like we've missed an opportunity or failed to follow Him in obedience.  He sees our heart and will redeem what we regret if we will continue to surrender it all to Him.  I am thankful that it's not our story but His.

307.  I am thankful for the fullness of God.  I am thankful that His promises are true--every one of them.  I am thankful that His Holy Spirit is real and that it is available to work in us and through us to accomplish His purpose and plan in our life.

308.  I am thankful for 4 hours with friends.  It's amazing how just 4 hours can refresh your heart.  I am thankful for those moments of holding a new baby and seeing how three little girls have grown so much.  I am thankful for hearing a little about their story and what God is doing in their life.  I am thankful for 4 hours of getting a glimpse into their life in WI.

309.  I am thankful for a little visit with my sweet, sweet friend Rhonda.  I am thankful for her investment in my life.  I am thankful that God puts people in our life that NEVER, EVER give up on us.  I am thankful for people who see into the GOD story in our life and who believe in our call and our purpose and who keep speaking that truth, spurring us on to good works and calling us to action, even when we can't see the possibility of that ourselves some days. 

310.  I am thankful for reminders of God's grace and mercy in our life even when they come in tough ways.  I am thankful that He shows us that we are recipients of great grace, mercy that is new every day, and a love that we can't even fathom. 

311.  I am thankful for God's provision for my family--a warm bed, clothing, food, and people who love me.

312.  I am thankful that GOD IS ENOUGH.  I am thankful for His patience with me when I forget that He is enough and for how He is showing me that I really don't need anything else.  HE IS ENOUGH!!!!

313.  I am thankful for a word from God.  I am thankful that His Word encourages my heart.  I am thankful when He speaks to me through Scripture, a song, in prayer, through a word spoken by a friend. . .  I'd like to leave you with a word that God spoke to me today through a simple song.  I am thankful that God is our direction;  He is the ANSWER.  He doesn't just have the answer to all of life's questions--He is the answer.  I want Him to have His way with me.  I am thankful that no matter what I give Him--fear, doubt, questions--He's the ANSWER.  His direction in my life is ALWAYS BEST even if it's sometimes tough!!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

300 Thankfuls!

I pray that this Monday finds you Thankful.  It may be dreary outside.  You may have been dealt a blow today--a diagnosis, a decision that was beyond your control, a debt that you don't know how you'll pay.  I'd like to remind you that in the midst of all of that there is a God who loves you. 

He doesn't love you because you've been good enough, because you've done enough, or because you'll ever measure up.  He simply loves you!  He loved you so much that He chose to send His one and only son to be the perfect sacrifice for your inability to measure up, for your shortcomings, for your trying to do enough and falling short, for your sin.  He loved you when you were unlovable, when you would look upon His love and walk away, still He loved you.  Still, he loves you.  He knows you by name.  He has a plan for your life.  If you have not accepted the gift of His son, Jesus, as the sacrifice for your sin, He waits longingly for you to do just that.  He sees your striving, your suffering, and your pain and longs to enter in to all of that with you and to bear your load.  If you are His child and you are in the middle of pain today, I just want to remind you all of our suffering is just for a little while.  We serve a great God.  Nothing you are dealing with today takes Him by surprise.  I encourage you--LOOK UP!!!  He wants to carry your load.  He wants you to know that He wants to be a part of EVERY DETAIL of your life. 

ABOVE ALL ELSE, find a reason or two to be thankful and it just might make everything else seem more bearable.  Love you, friend!

283.  I am thankful for vacation with friends. I am thankful for moments spent laughing and playing, relaxing and sipping on coffee, playing putt putt and eating fresh seafood, watching dolphins from the balcony and enjoying family movie night. . .  I am thankful for memories made that will be cherished for years to come.  I am thankful for those times years down the road when we will tell stories about this vacation and laugh and maybe even shed a happy tear over the joy we were able to share together because God in His infinite wisdom and in His gracious sovereignty knows we need each other and He blesses our life with friends to share this wonderful journey called life. 

284.  I am thankful for car rides when fun conversations happen, when read alouds take place, when deep stuff transpires, and when family life unfolds in unique God moments like no where else.  :)

285.  I am thankful for the unfolding God story in all of our lives.  I am thankful to have a bird's eye view into what God is doing in the hearts and minds of my daughters' lives as I interact with them daily.  I am thankful that just as He is teaching me, He is teaching them what it really means to live "on mission."  Oh, how I want to learn this.  I want to know what it really means to be His hands and His feet.  I am thankful for the moments in each day that He is giving us to really understand this better.

286.  I am thankful for coffee.

287.  I am thankful for a warm house and pumpkin spice candles and candy corn and mums and so many other signs of harvest time.

288.  I am thankful for the experience of seeing my oldest daughter being fitted for her first pointe shoes--a dream come true for her.  She has longed to do this since she first realized it was a possibility some four or five years ago.  I can hardly believe it's even possible that she's old enough to stand on pointe shoes but she's a beautiful and graceful ballerina and before I know it she'll be twirling her way across the stage with ease.  I'm thankful for the gift in her.  I am thankful for Mrs. Ashley and Mrs. Carole and the love for dance that they've nurtured. 

289.  I am thankful for a reminder this week that discipline comes from the Lord because of His great love for us.  Even the tough stuff is sent to us to grow us to help us reach our full potential in Him.  Waiting on His timing, His provision, His purpose to be fulfilled is not always easy but we can know that in His time deliverance is ours.  I am so thankful that I don't have to figure at all the details; I just have to wait on Him.  I have to be obedient in the waiting.

290.  I am thankful that I serve a God who makes the IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE!

291.  I am thankful that I have a husband whose desire it is to seek God for MORE and not be satisfied with status quo.  I am thankful that as we journey with Christ we are unified in our desire to ask God to BELIEVE HIM for what we don't even know to ask, think, or imagine.  I am thankful that Jason's heart is to serve our family well, to lead us with integrity, to go where God wants to lead us, to be weird according to the standards of the world if that's what it takes to go with God. 

292.  I am thankful that no matter what I know of God today there's more to know tomorrow because His ways are not my ways.  He wants me to discover Him, to seek Him, to pursue Him. 

293.  I am thankful for life.

294.  I am thankful for family.

295.  I am thankful for all of God's provisions.

296.  I am thankful for Monday night outreach.

297.  I am thankful for His WORD, it is bread, it is LIFE, it is water for the thirsty, it is salve for the wounded, it is breath for the dying. . .  It is the ANSWER to all of life's questions.  It is the greatest story ever recorded.  It is our story. 

298.  I am thankful for moments of quiet, when I can hear God's voice, and reflect on His Word.

299.  I am thankful for indoor plumbing and a washing machine and dryer.  (This may seem ridiculous.  But it has been occurring to me lately just what a big deal these things are.  WHAT IF?!?!  WHEW!   I'm so thankful I have these conveniences.)

300.  I am thankful for those moments when you see little things that have become big things being checked off your to-do list.  This is a big deal for a TYPE-A personality.  God knows how we're wired, and somehow He seems to allow me just the amount of time I need at just the right moment to accomplish what I need to accomplish so that I don't erupt with frustration.  Thank you, GOD!!! 

Monday, October 1, 2012


I've spent a lot of time thinking lately about what it means to say thank you.  How many times will I utter those words through the course of my life?  Someone extends a generosity to me, a favor, a service, a simple act of kindness, and I in return offer a thank you. As I am learning to live life reflectively I am realizing that it is filled to the brim with benefits, generosities, favors, kindnesses, in short GRACE.  I realize that God has acted again and again on my behalf with His unmerited favor.  Of course He did this through the cross for my salvation and sanctification, but what I'm realizing more and more is that He didn't just do it for me to experience it for salvation from hell but for me to experience LIFE ABUNDANTLY today and tomorrow and until my last day here on earth.  He wants me to know Him in personal intimate relationship.  He wants me to see life through new eyes, through eyes of GRACE and MERCY.  He wants me to believe that He is. . .  He wants me to know that rainbows and bellowing ocean waves and the quiet song of a redbird and the delightful giggle of my daughters and the tight reassuring hug of my daddy and the text of a friend saying "I'm praying for you" and watching dolphins play from the balcony and my heart breaking for a little girl who I pick up on the church bus. . . those are all GRACE.  These are all God with me. . .  He sees.  He is in my everyday moments.  He is not a God who just shows up when I'm in need or in distress.  He isn't a God who only makes house calls because things are looking out of sorts.  He is in every moment of every day.  He is generous.  He shows favor.  He is kind and loving and ever present.  How do I say thanks?  I say thanks by simply acknowledging His GRACE, by realizing that every good gift comes from Him (James 1:17).  I give thanks by giving my life to God because of all he has done for me (Romans 12:1-2).  I give thanks by speaking it, by telling of His goodness.

273.  I am thankful for trips on the church van each week.  God is teaching me so much about what it means to reach out, to love outside your immediate circle, to see what He sees and to let Him stretch me beyond what I am currently doing or seeing or being willing to speak or do or go. 

274.  I am thankful for the body of believers.  I am thankful for all the ways God gifts His children and how He manifests Himself in each person uniquely.  I am thankful that He has entrusted His work to the Church and I am thankful to be on the Kingdom Calendar for such a time as this.

275.  I am thankful for Worship.  I am thankful for each time I get to gather with fellow believers in corporate worship and for moments of private worship.  I am thankful for moments with hands lifted high and for moments where the only appropriate response is face down to the ground. 

276.  I am thankful for roaring waves, dolphins playing, stingrays jumping, girls and daddies giggling and playing...  I am thankful for the majesty of the beach and the reminder of just HOW BIG GOD IS and to think that He knows me by name.

277.  I am thankful for laughter.  Truly it is medicine for your soul.

278.  I am thankful for moments to watch my little girl play soccer, to see her run and play and be reminded of what a blessing it is for her to be healthy and strong.

279.  I am thankful for times when my girls want to be generous.  This is such a lesson that we learn in life.  It's not our natural inclination to give rather than take, to serve rather than be served, to reach out rather than to sit back and expect others to come to us.  I'm so thankful when my girls lead the way in this.  I beg God to help me.  More of Him, less of me.

280.  I am thankful for moments when my girls and their friends dance and sing.  My prayer is that they will always dance like no one's looking, that the joy of the Lord will so fill their hearts and minds that they can't help but dance!!!

281.  I am thankful for simple reminders from God, some of those come from a fresh Word, some of those come from a sweet text or word from a friend, some of those are from a praise song, some of those are from a Word studied years ago.  God is FAITHFUL and He will ALWAYS be what I need TODAY, TOMORROW, and FOREVER. 

282.  Several years ago I was blessed to lead a women's Bible study written by Beth Moore.  In it she taught a five- principle pledge that I would like to leave you with today.  I am thankful for these truths.  They are my sustaining hope many days.  I am so thankful that: