Saturday, November 23, 2013

Quiet Thanksgiving

It's here.

One of the seasons most Americans love the most.


The food, the family the traditions of it all.

A time to pause and remember and to give thanks for all the gifts we've been given.

Over the past few years something that has become popular on social media is the 30 days of thanksgiving.

Where you post each day what you're thankful for in your life.

I've participated the last couple of years and have found real value in doing so.

There is something powerful about  specifically  taking the time each day to say, essentially out loud, what  you're grateful for.

However, this year I've felt compelled not to participate.

Not because I don't find value in doing so - or as some like to pretend 'I'm to cool to be involved  in something so pedestrian'. . .

No, this year while I am Oh so very thankful for so many many things, I felt like my heart had changed somewhat I didn't like what was happening.

  In the days leading up to November, I began to feel a mixture of emotions such as; Pride, condescension   and an almost Pharisaical judgement on those who didn't participate.

And in those days, I heard a still small voice whispering to me, "You are so anxious to tell others what you're thankful for, but why don't you spend as much telling Me-the Giver of the gifts?"

Oh so very convicting.

Was it true? Could it be true? That while I was essentially shouting from the modern day roof tops all of my blessings I was thankful for, I wasn't taking as much time in prayer to thank the Giver of the Gifts?

And sadly, yes, I found it to be true.

So, this year, I've spent a quiet thanksgiving. A thanksgiving of the heart.

Time in quiet solitude as I thanked the ultimate grace giver, the sustainer, the giver of all things perfect and good. . .not always easy, but always good.

And in those times of quiet thanksgiving I've learned more about blessings than I've ever could from the one or two sentences I was posting as my status last year.

What I am proposing is not for everyone-nor should it be. . please hear me say, I believe there is great value in 'speaking' your thanks out loud. It can be a powerful witness to those around you.

But, for me, and maybe for another reading, this year needs to be a quiet thanksgiving. A thanksgiving so personal between the Lord and myself.
A true - time taking out pouring of a thankful heart, not a blip on a screen that took me a minute to write.

So, that is where I'm at this year.  
Every year is a journey.

I am oh so thankful for the still small voice that whispers to me, that never gives up on me, that pours out love and compassion, mercy and grace -365 days a year.
Who thought of me before time began, is never stunned or surprised by my  actions and yet chose to love me anyway.

What about you?  Have you had some time alone with Him this year to pour out your heart in quiet thanksgiving?

You are each a blessing to me and I pray your thanksgiving is filled with love, laughter and peaceful reflection this year.

Ever thankful, ever mindful of the Gift Giver,

Monday, November 18, 2013

Graceful Rewrites

Oh My Goodness, last week was a rough one!

My kids get sick all the time-I however do not.

What Momma has time to be sick?

Well, this Momma got knocked down and knocked down good.

One of the amazing things from my view while down was watching my hubby rise to the occasion.

Meal maker, laundry doer, head vaccummer (I totally made that word up) homework helper, peace treaty negotiator and head taxi driver-not to mention medicine passer outer and temperature taker for me-he was not only the glue that kept us together last week, but he was pretty much the everything.

I have a feeling if he wouldn't have stepped up it could have a been a little like the Hunger Games around here.

That's the stuff you don't think of when you're dating.

Will this guy throw away all my used tissues without complaining. . .
Will he fold a towel, clean a bathroom, vacuum a floor-just because it needs done?
And will he do it without expecting applause?

My husband didn't have the easiest of childhoods or a Christ like male role model to show him how a godly husband/father loves his family.

He shows me all the time in little and big ways-never let someone's past define how you see them.

With an outpouring of Grace and  a passion to follow Jesus, a person can be so much more than their past might suggest.

Isn't that one of the most amazing things God does?
Takes people, who on paper, should never be able to do anything for the Kingdom, never be able to have a family and love them well-not perfectly, but oh so well, and God takes them and molds them and uses them.

When I think about the Hero's of the Faith, and look at their beginnings with my human eyes, I would have picked the wrong person for Kingdom Work every time.
I would have been in the crowed cheering for Saul to be crowned king, never thinking a lowly shepherd boy was really who God would want to be King.

I would've over looked that burly fisherman and instead found a Pharisee.

I would've gone to the Palace looking for the newborn king and not some dirty smelly stable.

But, God uses who He chooses.

He knows that past does not define.

Sometimes I think not only do we let the past define how we see other people, but we let it define how we see ourselves.

As if ours is THE ONE story God can't redeem.

We look at others and we're pretty sure that is exactly who God would choose to use, yet we limit what we think  He can do with us because we know our story.

But, then I read Rahab the harlot name right there in the lineage of Christ.

How Jesus himself called a Samaritan woman out of her sin and never once told her she was a hopeless case.

Mary Magdalene, how the grace poured out on her and changed her forever.

The Hubs, who on paper should've been the one who walked away because he didn't know what staying looked like.
Didn't know how to parent, because he was never parented

And yet has shown me over and over again what it means for a husband to love a wife they way Jesus loves the Church.

Never Ever let someone's past define their future in your eyes.

Never Ever let your past define who your think you are and what God can do with  you.

God loves to write his story and he loves a grace filled plot twist.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lessons While Driving

Two weekends ago found me driving about three hours to Wichita for our oldest Robotics competition.

The Midwest has been particularly stunning this year as the season is changing and the colors could not be more vibrant.

On the drive back Saturday, I took a more scenic route and it did not disappoint.

The country side was absolutely stunning, like something out of travel brochure as it was all lit up with reds, yellows and golds.

On the Tuesday of that following week, I traveled about three hours toward Southern Missouri to go speak to a great group of MOPS moms.

The only difference this time . . .it was raining.

It rained the whole drive down. Not just a little rain. A LOT of rain. The kind that makes you grip the steering wheel a little tighter and sit up straighter in your seat so you can pay close attention kind of rain.

I had a wonderful time with those Sweet Momma's and was blessed by them, and by the time I was heading back home the rain had all but stopped.
Just a little drizzle now.

The drive home, I was struck again by the beauty of this particular Autumn in the Midwest.

God has truly painted us a beautiful portrait this year.

As the week progressed and into this past weekend, I've been thinking about both those drives and their contrasts.

You see the beauty was the same for both.  In fact, in could be argued that the one in Missouri was even  more spectacular because of the green hills all those fall colors were using as a backdrop.

The only difference?

It was much harder to see the beauty of the one through the rain.

God's handiwork-exactly the same.
The beauty-I was surrounded by it on all sides.

The difference-

My perspective.

Sometimes life is so hard and it feels like we're so busy gripping the steering wheel so we don't crash that we miss the beauty around us-the work going on around us on our behalf .

But it's still there.
God is still at work.
Even when it's hard for us to see.

And you know, just like my journey, the rain eventually stops and you're able to see clearly what's been there all the time.

I love this verse-in fact I have it hanging in my kitchen window.

Malachi 3:6a "I am the Lord I do not change."

What an amazing promise !

No matter what storm  is ragging around us, God is still there, still at work...

And someday we will be able  to see the beauty of it all!

Until then, keep holding on  ...

Monday, November 4, 2013

Calling God A Liar

Every time we say we don't have enough

We call God a liar.

Every time we think our children are an inconvenience

We call God a liar.

Every time we think we'd be better off just walking away from our spouse

We call God a liar.

Every time we say NO to our calling

We call God a liar.

Every time we call ourselves  ugly

We call God a liar.

Every time we say we aren't good enough

We call God a liar.

Every time we let our past define us

We call God a liar.

Every time guilt and despair consume us

We call God a liar.

Every time we walk in defeat

We call God a liar.

Every time we let man made rules win over love

We call God a liar.

Every time.

I don't know about you, but I am fed up with the lies.

I want to live and walk  in the Truth.

Will you join me?