Monday, January 27, 2014

Pressing on to 1000

It's been such a long time since I've written a "thankful post" that it would be easy to say "just forget it".  But, I refuse to do that.  I set out over a year ago to record my thoughts of gratitude until I recorded 1000 thoughts of thankfulness.  This all started for me in response to reading Ann Voskamp's book  One Thousand Gifts.  The book challenges the reader to view life through the lens of grace.  As I reflect on that concept, I realize it's all grace.

Every good and perfect gift comes from above, and since I'm simply not good enough, can't do enough, and will never be able to measure up enough, it's ALL grace.  Every breath is grace.  Every person who crosses my path and breathes life into my existence is grace.  Every moment that leaves me speechless and unable to formulate a way to express the nearness of God is grace.  Every laugh, hug, reassuring word, tender word of hope is grace.  Every moment spent with a friend who just lets me cry or spill over with words of frustration, confusion, hurt, desperation, . . . is grace.  Every moment that the Father sends a rainbow in the sky is grace.  Every text that comes at just the right time, every card, every invite to lunch, every voice mail of encouragement is grace.  Every snowflake, raindrop, ray of sunshine is grace that speaks of my Creator God.  Grace compels me to gratitude.

#315  I am thankful for the deep belly laugh of my 14 month old son.  I'm thankful that it reminds me that laughter is good for your soul.

#316  I am thankful for how my girls find such delight in each other's presence.  I am thankful that God created them uniquely and yet they compliment each other so well.

#317  I am thankful for a new job for Jason, new opportunities.  I am thankful for his servant leadership in our home and how he is a man who loves well and longs to grow as a man of God.

#318  I am thankful for the women God places in my life.  As I think about all the different ladies that have been or are presently a part of my journey, I am overwhelmed with how good God is to me.  He is so faithful to put people in our lives for the unique seasons of our journey.  He knows who we need and who needs us.  The women in my life encourage me, challenge me, and inspire me to be a better me.  I am thankful for those who point me to Jesus.

#319  I am thankful for my friend Christina E.  I am thankful for her authenticity and transparency and for how well she has loved me the last few years.  She has accepted me just as I am with no pretensions or hidden expectations.  I am thankful that she is real and is comfortable in her own skin.

#320  I am thankful for my mom and dad and how well they love.  I am thankful for what this is teaching me about loving others well even when it means sacrifice.  I know our move is painful and sacrificial to them, and yet they are supportive and encouraging to us.  They are excited about our journey.  I am thankful for that.

#321  I am thankful for Kim and Barry B.  They have taught us what deep and abiding friendship looks like.  Friends are sometimes very present in our lives in a physical kind of way.  At other times, life means our physical presence isn't so much a reality.  Kim and Barry B. have demonstrated to us that what makes true friendship stands the test of time.  I am thankful for their love for us, their support of our journey, and more than anything their commitment to pray us through.

#322  I am thankful for my friend Lana.  Our words are life or death.  Some people speak faith, others speak doubt. Lana is one who supports me with words of life not death, words of faith not doubt.  She speaks God's TRUTH into my heart.  I am thankful for her faith and her discerning spirit and how she pours her life into others.

#323  I am thankful for the journey of adoption and everything it has and is continuing to teach us.  I am thankful God allowed us this amazing opportunity.  I am thankful God chose us to be C-man's mommy and daddy.  I am thankful that He knew every detail of the story and is writing a story of redemption and restoration and grace and mercy and love that is bigger than any of us.

#324  I am thankful for new friends who open their hearts and homes to you.  I am thankful that He gives us people to share life with.

#325  I am thankful for Skype and Facetime and the opportunity to stay connected across the miles.

#326  I am thankful for Central Church and the welcome they have given us.  I am thankful for the amazing opportunity it is to serve with them and to be used to build the Kingdom here.  I am thankful for the blessing it is to serve Christ.  It is still overwhelming to me to see this whole story unfold and to see how God is doing something BIGGER THAN US.

#327  I am thankful for you.  If you are reading this post, then you are someone to me.  You have impacted my life in someway.  I am thankful that God doesn't waste encounters.  No matter how we know each other, it's not by chance.  I pray that my life will in some way impact yours for the better and that it will matter for eternity.  Blessings, friend!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Choices, Choices!

There are so many choices in life.  Daily we make choices.  It starts from the time my feet hit the floor in the morning.  Some choices have become so routine that we really don't even consider them a choice anymore.  We've made our choice a habit.  We've decided what we like best, and we're sticking to it.  We like our coffee with creamer and only a certain flavor.  My hubby doesn't stray far to the left or right when it comes to his morning breakfast routine.  No, it's maple with brown sugar oatmeal for him every morning.  It's a familiar smell in our kitchen.  He's the kind of guy for whom breakfast is a must.  Me, on the other hand, I'd prefer to wait to about eleven or maybe even noon to think about that.

We think about what we'll wear, what will be for lunch and dinner later, what appointments we'll schedule for the day, who will drop off and pick up, what are the "musts" for the day and the things that can wait until tomorrow or maybe even next week.  We choose whose phone calls we'll take and which ones we'll let the voice mail catch.  We choose whether we'll take the time to read God's Word or spend a few extra minutes of quiet time praying and asking Him what His thoughts are about our day's situations.  We choose what we'll do in those 30 extra minutes that show up in the early afternoon between one scheduled event and the next.  We choose whether or not we'll make the phone call that's been nagging us for days.  We choose whether we'll go out of our way to speak to the person on the other side of the room who looks overwhelmed and disconcerted, bothered, and in need of a little hope. We choose whether or not we are overcome with worry and stress or focused on the One who is BIG ENOUGH to handle any of life's circumstances.

We choose by our simple actions and words, again and again, sometimes moment by moment, breath by breath.  We choose to say I will serve.  I will allow Him to be All that He is and ALL that He wants to be.  We choose to say as for me and my house we will simply serve the Lord.  We will serve Him with the little that we have, with our brokenness, with our messes and our frailties.  We will serve Him with ALL that we are because He is ALL THAT WE NEED.  We make many choices everyday.  We make what seem like small insignificant choices.  We make some choices that seem huge and life altering.  Many days we make choices that we're not even consciously aware of and yet simply by our actions, words, deeds, we are choosing.  Let's choose together.  Let's choose to make the only choice that really matters.  Let's choose to SERVE with our life.  Let's choose to live in a way that whatever we do, we do it ALL FOR THE GLORY OF THE LORD.

"whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31