Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Eyes Wide Open

Blessings rain on us every day.

Today we had rain at our house. Yes, the wet kind, but also the blessing kind! It seems there is no end to the beauty, grace, surprise goodness, and joy that enter my world over and over. Each God-kissed drop of blessing is meant to be received with thanks.

I kiss God with my thanksgiving prayers and I remember the blessings of today and yesterday. Remembering blessings in gratefulness gives life to the trust seeds that I need to get me through the difficult days.

It is so easy for trust to grow like a garden and then slowly fade in the heat of the day. And so, my eyes and ears must be open wide to see and hear the blessings from above.

I need to trust.

I need to watch and listen for blessings.

I need to be filled with gratitude for them all.

Trustworthy, Faithful God, You are worthy of my praise and thanksgiving! You are good and shower me with blessings every day! I am blind and deaf to You unless You heal me and reveal Yourself to me! Thank You for the revealing of Yourself through Your Word and Your Holy Spirit in others. I want more of Your blessing kisses. I promise to learn to send gratitude kisses back!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Life of Thanksgiving

Every day I write down the things for which I am grateful. I think that is a very good start to hliving life with gratitude, but it seems just like putting a stamp or a P.S. on a letter or maybe even just a payment on a bill.

I am beginning to think that a few words of appreciation at the end of the day does not fill my life with thanksgiving. I want to get to the place where those few minutes at the end of my day, or the few whispers of "Thank You" during my busy moments begin to flood over and drown me in an attitude of gratefulness!

How do I get there? Well, the journal is making me aware of the blessings that surround me. It also keeps me looking for those precious moments. It is possible to go further. What if I decided to set aside definite times during the day when I stop and pray a prayer of thanks? Setting the timer and chosing to tell God how good He is right then could be a way to spread the attitude throughout the day.

Would it be worth the effort? I think so. He is worth it! Surely there can only be good in the giving of thanks!

Good and Holy God, You ARE worthy to be praised! In everything I should give You thanks! But I am only taking baby steps toward that full life flooding over with gratitude. Forgive me, Father, for the times I have walked away like the 9 lepers who forgot to say thanks. Thank You for turning me around and leading me to the place where my heart can be full of thanksgiving, living in the blessing, and overcome with joy! You are good. I want to see You in my whole life!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Giving Thanks

I want to live a life of gratefulness. By this I mean that will give thanks in everything, not just the wonderful things that come into my life. I am intentionally working at this every day, and finding it not as easy as I thought it would be!

My Grandman Jacob, age 21 months, is in my care everyday. He is very curious and adventurous. He can get into trouble quickly. He is very good at distracting me with one of his antics and then run quickly to start another. I don't sit much during the day.

Today Jacob brought a container of Cheerios from home for his breakfast. For a while he sat quietly and ate the dry crunchy tidbits and sipping his milk. Then he decided to enjoy his breakfast as a plaything. He spilled them across the floor. It wasn't long before he stepped on a few and the crunch beneath his foot was a new game.

I admit I watched him with interest for a short time as he discovered a new way of looking at his world. The little scientist in him was learning cause and effect, though he won't understand those terms for many years. Soon, his bowl was nearly empty and the floor had become a beach with crushed cereal for sand. I pulled out the broom and dust pan and set to work. I swept and picked up while he continued to crunch whatever was left on the floor. It wasn't long before I became agitated and yet even as I did I heard a still small voice asking me to give thanks.

Give thanks? For this? For the extra work or the seemingly non stop need for me to clean up after everyone? This was one of those hard times of thanksgiving, yet I was determined to find something for which to give thanks. I did.

I gave God thanks for the gift of Cheerios, Grandmen who are learning about life through discovery, the ability to sweep a wooden floor, not one made of dirt, and oh so many other wonderful gifts in the mess before me.

I don't know where he found them, but later in the day two more Cheerios were found whole. He placed one down in front of his left shoe and the other in front of his right. He looked at me and smiled. Then stepped on one, then the other savoring the sound and the crunch beneath his feet. Then he ran to the broom closet waiting for me to sweep up his fun.

Father God, You are such a surprise! You make discovery so much fun that little children call it play! You allow discovery to be messy, but always something for which to be grateful. Forgive me when I fail to see the fun in the mess. Thank You for reminding me to give thanks outside of my perfect little box of things to be grateful. Lord, I get tired of the messes, but so many of them have begun with me! Open my eyes to see all the messes You have cleaned up for me. I want You to be the example I follow. Teach me to serve with thanksgiving as I clean those dirty messes.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Expectation, Anticipation, Surprise

1000 Gifts by Ann Voscamp is an amazing book. I have been allowing this book to drown me in its thought provoking and life changing challenges since Christmas. It is because of Ms. Voscamp's insightful words that my thoughts dig deeper.

Expectations. I have them. They sit on the shelf of my mind waiting to be experienced. Like the parents long awaiting a healthy baby and believing in innocence that no harm could come to their precious child early in life, or a bride and groom traversing the aisle believing that they will live happily ever after,I expect. But not all hopes are realized. I expect all problems to be fixable. Some times they are, and my expectations are fulfilled. Of course, there are times when my expectations go unfulfilled. Though I set my mind on the future fulfillment of my hopes, I am not assured that I will find joy. I am happy when it works my way, but how deep is this gladness?

Anticipation fills me with a generous thrill before the waited for event. Many times the traveling toward a planned event is much more exciting than the event itself. Parties sometimes leave me wanting after much anticipation of the gaiety I carefully mapped out for my guests. The thrill of the plan is carried away like a bubble bursting or a balloon lost to the wind and I am left empty handed, my hopes for the greater thrill unreachable.

Surprise! Is there joy in surprises? The unexpected is not always wanted. I've always told my husband that I don't like surprises, but maybe that is not true, at least not always. I would like the surprise of flowers on an uneventful day. I do enjoy the unexpected, unanticipated visits from my kids and the Grandladies and Grandmen! I might even be pleasantly amazed to find a little note on the windshield of my car. Little surprises can sometimes be huge. Ann Voscamp says it is a matter of perspective. What will surprise me?

God You are a surprise! I am reminded of a children's song that says just that! All that You do and all that You give is a surprise. I am sometimes too proud to let You fill me with wonder, Lord, but I do not want that to be me. Thank You for setting little delights in my day. Open my eyes to see them clearly. Teach me the wide eyed awe that will take my breath away as I practice giving thanks for the little and the big things in my life.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31:12
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

A simple formula for the excellent wife lies in these words.

Do I fit this description? Not always. In fact, if I count up the days I have not done something to hurt the man I love, I would not have many to boast upon. It is not that I haven't tried to do good and not harm him, I just don't do it perfectly.

I also must consider my Bridegroom Lord. Do I work hard to do him good and not harm every day?

It is not easy for me to follow all the commands of scripture, or to please an earthly man all the time. The secret lies in the focus of the choice. He is the focus, not me. It is his good not mine. Selfishness, put aside, is the key to success in relationships, especially marriage. It is never too late for me to find that key and use it for the good of all.

God of humility and Kingship. You deserve my praise and adoration. You did not hold on to Your position but gave it up to save me. I am brought low by my selfish heart. I hurt those I love, and I am so very sorry. Forgive me! Thank You for giving me a man filled with Your Spirit. Thank you for those who forgive me so readily. Thank You for washing away my sins. Let each decision I make lead to a good end for those I love. I trust in You Lord!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Proverbs 30

Proverbs 30:8-9
Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny You and say, "Who is the Lord?" or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.

Balance is having enough, not too much or too little. My dreams, however, almost always shower me with the wanting of too much. Real life sometimes finds me thinking I have too little: too little money, time, or energy. Wisdom lies in a balance. As a child of God, trusting Him for all I need is my key to being blessed with enough. It is the presence of God in my life that supplies me with MORE than enough!

Father, You are more than enough. You are Good and give generously for my needs. Oh, but Lord, I often think I need so much more. I think I am deprived of so much. I am so blind and selfish! Thank You for reminding me over and over that my needs are so much less than my dreams. Thank You for letting my dreams reach for You. Heal my blindness, Lord and walk with me as I surrender my selfish will. Give me only that which is needful for me so that You will be glorified through me.