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Archive for November, 2011

The art of Thanksgiving is thanksliving. Author unknown.

I love this quote, even if it is a little cheesy! I have been silent on my blog the past few weeks in order to focus on my family and fully embrace this special season. I have missed writing and am happy to be back. Please indulge me in one last post and picture that captures the splendor of fall.

Each year, the weeks that surround Thanksgiving grow more meaningful to me. My heart is challenged to rise above the thoughts of self that consume and draw out the rich blessings Christ has given. Each time the word Thanksgiving comes to mind, I am stirred to find another reason to give thanks.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that deals with the heart more than anything else. It evokes gratitude, which opens the heart to grace. Grace enables us to accept all that God bestows. The joys as well as the hardships. Grace reminds us that all His gifts are lavished in love. They are sent with a purpose greater than we can know.

I have to admit this year all the early displays of Christmas decorations threatened to upstage Thanksgiving in my heart. More than once I had to fight the urge to give in and begin decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving had occurred. Of course, there is certainly nothing wrong in doing that! But my mind would have been preoccupied with Christmas and Thanksgiving would have been brushed aside. I did not want to rush this season because my heart needs the practice of pausing to express my gratitude.

As pumpkins are replaced with poinsettias, the spirit of Thanksgiving does not have to end. In Christ alone are we able to express our thankfulness both for Him and to Him. This is the greatest gift of all.

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A very nasty cold has worked its way from one child to the next. They are feeling better but now I feel crummy. And it is Monday. And I have PMS really bad. I just want to run away and be by myself for a few hours. But the day is full and the little ones have needs. So I’ll run away some other time {smile}.

I am searching for the grace I love to ponder and write about. My needs feel larger than His grace can satisfy today. I admit I am looking to my chocolate for some measure of comfort. A box of Hershey’s truffles is sitting here next to me, open and nearly empty. Is there any way I can justify eating over half a pound since yesterday?

Writing about grace enables me to experience more of its fullness in my own life. I worry that my words somehow indicate that I have such a firm grasp on grace that I never struggle. It is through writing that I wrestle with my fears and inadequacies and come to a peace greater than what I face at the moment. This is how I grow in my dependence upon grace. This is what compels me to keep writing about it, even when I feel it is in short supply.

Father, be my strength today. Break through the fog that clouds my brain. Speak your truth to me. Send your grace raining down.

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Overwhelmingly scattered. Does that describe you today? I live right smack in the middle of those two words each day. Life with four little ones bleeds into a bit of the crazy. Add to that special needs, educational needs and behavioral challenges and it all begins to feel nearly impossible.

Where can we escape when the pace of life is pushing us past frantic?  Christ beckons us come to Him, where peace and tranquility await. My heart knows this, but I have a confession to make. Too often, He feels like just one more person I need to find energy for.

But then I realize that my tendency is to think of Him as I do my children: someone who needs from me constantly. While He does love our worship and adoration, and is so worthy of it, He also desires to pour out His Spirit into the parched places of our soul. This season in my life is a unique season that calls upon near constant giving to my family. For this season, what if He desires me to receive from Him more than I bring Him? Is that okay?

It is very okay with Him. So why is it difficult to bend at His feet, to kneel in a position of dependence and neediness? It is my pride. My twisted thinking that says, I can do it on my own.

Oh, for the grace of humility. This embodies the courage to need and not be ashamed of it.

But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

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Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! Romans 11:33

I am stuck on the phrase how inscrutable are His ways. My dictionary defines inscrutable as both not easily understood and incapable of being seen through physically. I love that last line.

My focus is almost always on the physical. I crave the comfort drawn from seeing the tangible hand of God at work. It helps my faith when His ways are noticeable. When He heals a sickness or offers a benign test result, we exult in His goodness. When He gives a gift, long- awaited for, we marvel at His timing and faithfulness.

But what of the times when things go opposite of our fervent prayers and hopes? Is He still good? What of the times when He is silent while our hearts bleed before Him?

When His ways are incapable of being seen through physically, we can know His ways are orchestrating a great work spiritually. Something eternal is being wrought on our behalf and we will not hold disappointment on the day when understanding dawns.

So we draw our strength and hope from Him, through grace. We remember that the largest display of grace came about through the greatest display of sorrow and sacrifice. Because by its very nature, grace has overcome, we enter into this victory as well.

May He strengthen our trust in Him today.

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