Wednesday, March 30, 2011

continued gratitude

I spent a good 30 seconds trying to decide if that title rhymed in the effort of being catchy and creative.
It doesn't. Right?
Now I've said it so many times both the words sound funny.

I have decided that it would be beneficial for my heart to continue to focus on thankfulness. Too often lately I'm dependent on my current situation to determine my state of mind and mood. If life is fun, carefree, and going well in one moment, I'm happy and positive. If another moment I'm stressed, intimidated, or bored, I'm discontent and blah.
I need a heart check. With His help, I want to continually focus on things that I'm thankful for throughout the day. Not only because He desires that, but I want to train my mind to start noticing little gifts He provides me; so many times they go unnoticed. By finding things to be thankful for no matter my situation, my perspective of my day can't help but be changed.

“The psalmist’s point [from Psalm 145:9, 15-16) is that, since God controls all that happens in his world, every meal, every pleasure, every possession, every bit of sun, every nights sleep, every moment of health and safety, everything else that sustains and enriches life, is a divine gift” -Knowing God by J I Packer (READ THIS BOOK!)

Today, I'm thankful for:

  • waking up with a full 8 hours of sleep
  • this verse
  • words with friends iphone app
  • finding myself debating on how to spend my afternoon (no looming school assignments the rest of the week!!)
  • falling down the stairs, getting only a small scratch and a big laugh with the roommate
  • my comfy bed to sit and blog, read, or do homework in. (and sleep, occasionally)
  • hearing the birds chirp outside of my room
  • being an aggie and the journey to get here
  • John Piper and how the Lord uses him to speak truth into my life- "The strength of patience hangs on our capacity to believe that God is up to something good for us in all our delays and detours." 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Give thanks in all circumstances.
I'm just now understanding what this means. I heard this verse a million times. heck, it's even at the top of my page. Whenever I read verses on thanksgiving, I just thought it was a "count your blessings" kind of thing to realize how much God has given to me. While this is true, I have just learned the beauty of giving thanks in every. single. circumstance. It's so easy to do in good times...bad ones are a different story. Anyone in a bad situation can say "thanks God for putting me here because I know you have a purpose for it." But what about gut wrenching, bring you to your knees, painful circumstances where you doubt God's presence? We've all been there. And if not, then it's coming.
I have such a hard time truly and genuinely lifting up my hands and thanking my God in those times. Or even the times that aren't so painful, but just exhausting. Rarely can I, in that moment, stop and thank God with a pure heart. I say it but deep down I'm doing it because I'm supposed to.
Recently, though, God has been reshaping my view of giving thanks. Opening my eyes to see that it's giving Him thanks in every circumstance that allows us to get the focus off of ourselves and onto something constant, unchanging, and dependable. His promises. By giving him thanks we are acknowledging not only our blessings, but His sovereignty. When I truly believe in God and His promises for my life, how can I not genuinely praise Him in every situation? (that's a rhetorical question because obviously I'm a sinner who unfortunately has many times of unbelief)

Paul was way ahead of me when he wrote in Philippians- "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." 

No matter how broken we are by our current circumstance, nothing exalts His name more than one of his children humbly and faithfully coming to Him with thanksgiving. Even thanking Him for the little things.

Today, I'm thankful for-
-early morning workouts with a friend
-oatmeal with fresh strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries
-eyes to see the beautiful, bright sun
-the stillness of an empty house
-time to sit, reflect, and blog

Sunday, March 13, 2011

it's about time

two weeks since I have written on here. that tells you how hectic the past few weeks have been if I didn't find the time to do one of my most favorite things.
feels good to be back. 
not to mention, it is officially spring break 2011. i have been waiting for this week all semester. my big plans to be in dallas all week have not disappointed me, yet. funny how there was a time where (while I love my family) going home wasn't at the top of my "places to go over break" list, and now I couldn't think of anything more blissful. 
The giddiness I feel when I first see the Dallas skyline.
Entering downtown traffic and not even caring that someone cut me off.
Pulling up to my house, knowing there will be a little black girl waiting.
Seeing that little black girl's tail wag, watching her disappear, and predicting her return with one of her prized possessions.
Having my parents run out the door, overflowing with genuine joy that I am home, embracing me as if it was their only chance to do so.
Walking in the door, smelling the familiar aromas and experiencing the beautiful house my mom has put her touch all over.
Sitting on the couch gladly answering their multitude of questions about my life, soaking it in, because too many children are without parents who care.
Being followed by my parents the whole first day I'm home because they want to be right where I am, and me, loving it.
Feeling instant peace and blessings over the home God has so graciously brought me in to.

oh, how things have changed. Not too long ago my eyes weren't open to these little gifts from above. A lot of them were annoyances, or went unnoticed.
Now, I ache for them when I'm away and drown myself in them when I am here.

home so very sweet home.