Wednesday, November 23, 2011

thanksgiving 2011

Honestly,  Thanksgiving was always my least favorite holiday.  Growing up this day was just an excuse to get together with family.  I looked forward to hanging out with my cousins but the day itself was just another day off from school.  The last few years that has changed for me.  I love that there is a season on our calendars dedicated to being grateful.  It is very obvious that many people do not take advantage of this time to think on those things that they are thankful for.  I was one of those people.  Now, I LOVE it.  In fact, this year I plan on forcing my relatives at my parent's house to tell us at least one thing they are thankful for.  They don't know this yet though so I hope no one embittered with life hates me for requesting they think thankful thoughts.  I am thankful for so much.  The good Lord has shown me so much about thankfulness and contentment.  We are NOT to wait for our circumstances or the people around us to be perfect before we are thankful for them.  We are to look for those blessings within others and life that are there and pointing to the God who gave them so graciously and cheerfully.  They are there but you must recognize them.  Yes, this can be hard.  I came across the verse the other day that says, "Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name." (Hebrews 13:15).  Praise can be hard.  Praise can feel as though I am lying through my teeth.  My heart can be grieved or angry and to praise God in the midst of that is what feels like torture.  To choose to see the blessings in the midst of trial can be difficult, to say the least.  Yet, those blessings exist.  They exist in the circumstances of life which for us are laboring day and night caring for our little ones and pouring ourselves into them while working to keep a roof over our head and food on our table.  They exist in the people we meet and live with.  That person that turns you off has the image of God within them.  They are valuable.  Broken, but valuable.  Do you choose to rejoice over that image within them or complain in your heart about their flaws?  Ok, so let me steer away from my preachiness to tell you what I am so very thankful for this year. 

(1) I've been married for over 5 years to a man that acts more like Jesus than any other person I have ever met.  I admire him more than words can express.  I have changed and grown through his daily example to me of patience and kindness.  (I was worse than this 5 yrs ago  :))

(2) My two boys have filled my heart with so much AWE!  I am in awe that I have the privilege to care for these two precious people.  I am in awe of how they grow and love and learn.  I am in awe of how I enjoy motherhood.

(3) I am continually thankful to see the Lord meet our needs financially.  Sometimes it is tight.  Sometimes it isn't.  But either way, He has cared for us whether it be through a timely check or some savvy grocery spending or generous parents. 

(4) I am thankful for internet and television.  I realize what is a vice for many is hardly a virtue.  But it has given me distraction from those thoughts that loom and threaten to overwhelm me.  I can't help but feel grateful for it.

(5) I am unbelieveably thankful for new friends that I've made through a couple of groups I got involved with.  They are a daily dose of support, encouragement, and laughter.  Thank you,  AP, Redeemer, and LLLadies. 

I hope all of you find yourself with not enough time in the day to list all things that you are thankful for.  It is a good place to be.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"I long for transformation"

Jo of Little Women is the one who says that (in the movie, anyway.  I read the book 3x but I don't remember if those particular words were there).  I find myself longing for similar things.  Then again, I've always identified with Jo.  She was the awkward, less than frilly girl who would rather hang with the boys than be dainty and demure.  Adventurous and a visionary is what she was.  Her hair was her "one true beauty".  She was rough around the edges but passionate about life.  I can relate to all of these.  Her struggle throughout her early years was finding her place--finding where her gifts were best suited.  She thought it would be in writing that great novel but in the end it came in educating alongside her professor husband (seeing the similarities yet??) a group of boarding children.  FYI:  Little Men is an excellent book about those boys. 

I am where I could never imagine I would be.  I am married with children.  I am content here.  I am in awe of the beauty of this calling that motherhood is.  I get to fall in love with this man that I marry.  We grow in sync and become the "bestest" of friends.  We have babies and I get to fall in love all over again.  I'm amazed at how beautiful it all is.  This is my primary calling at this point and the Lord is using this stage of life to teach me so much.  I see the fruit of the spirit that I lack and am seeing how I daily need His sustenance to bring about the needed gentleness, patience, and self-control with my children.  There is a lot of messing up going on; therefore, a bunch of repentence and forgiveness. 

Even with this hard and wonderful calling of motherhood, I find myself wanting to be creative.  I want to use my hands and brain.  If I don't get to, I begin to wither.  It refreshes me to do such things.  I dream of taking creativity to new heights.  I wonder how this desire can be used in God's kingdom.  My prideful heart wants it used in big ways where many are affected and influenced but lately I think my circle of influence is small.  Meaningful but small.  It is SO good for me.  If I were to have the sphere of influence that I want- there will be a whole load of other issues that will come with it.  I am looking for ways to use my gifts in new ways--ways that I can effectively accomplish with my primary tasks as well as encourage or inspire others (just one person is enough). 

I'm thankful that the Lord is most effectual in using His chidren's gifts.  He doesn't want them wasted.  He may give our gifts a hiatus but only to further refine them and perfect us.  So, I will wait to see how the Lord will continue to use me in my small sphere of influence.  Transformation will come, but as with dear Jo, it will likely come in a package I do not expect.