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Thursday, November 1, 2012

one thousand gifts

We've all been sick for the past few days. Baby bear has had a pretty nasty fever..The fever is gone, but his cough is pretty bad. Last night, I had to leave work because I started feeling very ill. Dave is finally just about over his sickness.. So, we've been immersed in fevers, sore throats....
Today my head was swimming.. but even through the cacophany and the coughing..
I gave thanks..
Today was a beautiful day.
Tonight was a crazy night.  I had to fix Cade something to eat..So I put him a pizza in the oven. I couldn't find a pizza I put in a teflon pot sort of thing and stuck it in the oven.. I could't find a timer..So I had to look at the clock.. Well, apparently, I lef the pizza in the oven for a little too long and began to smell the telflon pot burning. There was a horrid smell coming from the oven. So, after burning the pizza and discovering that I had no sufficient pot holder to remove the damaged contents...(I just moved in..don't be too hard on me..) ..I had to drive to my mom's house next door to borrow a pot holder..
So, I dropped the boys's off with my dad and went back to the house... I had to throw the burnt pizza outside so it didn't cause a house fire... Then, on my way out..I accidentally locked the keys in the house.

So...I had to walk on over to the neighbor's house..throat still hurting..and having been sick all day..
and ask them if I could use the phone because I needed a ride.. Technically, my mom's is pretty close..but it was pitch black and I couldn't even see two feet in front of me. I was also mildly afraid of snakes and the bevy of coyotes that we hear in the yard sometimes.... So, I called my mom's house and asked my cousin Matt to come and pick me up..I told him that I would be waiting by the roadside..

Well, he came about ten minutes later ...It took him a while because apparently he had lost his keys.. So, he comes barreling down the road and passes me up... I had started to walk home anyway..despite the mild coyote threat.. Well, finally... I get in his car and get back to the house..

But the entire time all this was going on... I kept looking up at the stars.
There were billions of them.. I couldn't see the moon anywhere. There was almost complete darkness..
And I just kept thanking God for His Creation.
IT was beautiful.

The apostle Paul tells us to give thanks in all situations..He says that it is God's will for us..
Truthfully, I know that it is not always easy to give thanks. I know that I have personally gone through some devastating things.. I have lost loved ones, faced betrayal numerous times, and been treated unfairly on many occassions.. But, of thing I am certain.. God is good.  I think the hardest times for me to give thanks came when I faced the demonic. The Bible tells us that we battle not against flesh and blood, and I for one, can attest to the reality of the spiritual world. There were nights when I emerged with little sleep from strange things that were going on, and there were days that I went with little food because of fasting and prayer.
It was hard. I didn't want to give thanks. I was angry.
But, I found, that when we praise God in the midst of any hardship..It sends a message to the enemy that says, "You are defeated. You were deafeated by the Cross of Calvary and before the world even began."

Even the apostle acknowledged that the enemy cannot steal everything when he said.." "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."

There have been times when I haven't felt like saying, "thanks," But thanking Him allows us to "let go" of a situation... Thanking is a way of relinquishing the hurt and the harmul..and letting God know that you can still see His goodness...
Thankfulness is our love letter to God..
Tonight, I hurt for friends with cancer and I hope and pray that even through their sorrows and confusion.. they will still see His mercies and grace.

I was deeply moved by Ann Voskamp's book "One Thousand Gifts." Ann said that she wrote the book as a challenge. It was kindof a dare. She set out to find one thousand things that for which she was grateful. Her story is a journey of gratitude and finding blessing and beauty in the mundane.

May we all find God's blessing and gifts in the mundane and in the simpest of things..
May we give praise in the chaos of the everyday..

Here are a few quotes from the book..

"Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing.... Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.”

“Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other.”

If you had to make of list of things you were grateful for..what would they be?
here are a few things for which I'm grateful
1. the tiny voice of my boy
2. Cade's wonderful sense of humor
3. a warm bed
4. pumpkin spice lattes
5. starry nights
6. the smell of cookies in the oven
7. clean socks
8. the love of Christ
9. cotton candy
10. the immense beauty and complexity of the ocean.. (yes, I've been watching Blue Planet again with my boy...
11. watching Blue Planet with my son

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.  Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1,2,3).

“Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” (Psalm 95:2)

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name” (Psalm 100:4).

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things” (Philippians 4:6-8).

“I tell you, her sins – and they are many – have been forgiven, because she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love” (Luke 7:47, NLT).

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe” (Philippians 2:14-15).

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

“Let us then sacrifice thank offerings and tell of His works with songs of joy” (Psalm 107:22).

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