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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Try Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
There are no turkeys gobbling about my home, no freshly baked pies, and no football on the television. But we continue celebrating thanksgiving each and every day! 

Have we tasted of the precious mercy of God? Do we enjoy sweet fellowship with the Holy Spirit? Do we benefit from the favor of the Lord through His divine provision and protection? These are amazing gifts that the biggest earthquake or storm will never be able to shake or destroy--our security in Him.

We live in a world filled with His glory--from the tiniest, one-celled animal, to the microscopic particles which make up the protons, neutrons and electrons of the atom, leading up to the most magnificent nebulae in the solar system. In all of these--His creative handiwork is undeniably evident.

If you have ever been to a museum and seen first-hand the works of some of the great masters like, Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci you come away awed. Yet each morning the Master-Designer of all the universe paints with love upon His heavenly canvas a brand new sunrise.

God's heavenly canvas of love
And when the sunrise reveals the manly features of one's husband as the breath swells in his chest--do we recognize the handiwork of a loving God? There are wonderful benefits to be realized when we begin every day with thankfulness for each member of our family.

It's so easy to be grateful for the sweetness of a small infant, but can we see in the blemished faces of our young sons and daughters the promises of God? Do we look past their growing pains to the people God has intended them to become?

Thanking God for them, even their rough edges, can give us new hope and breathe new life and compassion into relationships that may presently be strained.

Rebekkah and her family
Even regarding the older children that have grown and moved away, giving thanks for them, just as they are and precisely where they are, allows us to rest in God's peace and trust that He is working all things for the good in their lives. With the intention that, when their names are brought up, joy and peace will come to our countenance, instead of the darkness that stems from a worried, sad or fretful soul.

In its simplest form, fretting is sin. It can't be "gussied-up" to look any better than it is, no matter how we might try. We may describe it as "concern" or even "a matter of deep prayer"--but fretting is still fretting.

David with his new wife Julia
My husband's brother, William, started a street ministry in the Pacific Northwest and planted an outdoor church named, Church Without Walls, for people society has all but forgotten. One of his closest ministry associates is a man with legs that are useless to him--they hang limp as he struggles to get anywhere. Instead of a wheelchair, he uses two shovel-handles (minus the shovel heads) to facilitate his getting around. These are not easy to use, and take tremendous upper-body strength, but he always has a smile on his face wherever he goes.

Anna, Grace and Leah
If anyone could claim to be having a unpleasant life, it would be this man. Yet he is one of the very happiest and cheerful in my brother-in-laws entire ministry and William considers him to be a great blessing, simply because of his humble and thankful attitude!

Sarah, Tim and Joshua
It may seem as though life is rampant with many sorrows and troubles, and undeniably most of us have experienced periods of terrible heartache, however, overcomers simply refuse to allow the sufferings in this life to steal their joy. They choose, as true followers of Christ, to live life in a continuous state of thanksgiving to the God who is so merciful, compassionate and full of unconditional acceptance towards us, that He even desires to have relationship with us, and to forgive us through the atoning death of His only begotten Son, Jesus. As we put our faith in Him, he promises to make a place for us in heaven so that we may enjoy Him forever!

As we humble ourselves, we soon discover that He is completely trustworthy. It is then that we can cast our cares upon Him and  leave our past, present and future in His loving and capable hands--having a thankful heart is the very vehicle which transports us into His presence where the joy of the Lord renews us and becomes our strength. 

Nicole and Patience
Lord, I thank You for the privilege of serving Your people right here in my home. I thank You for my dear sweet husband, that in his manliness he has tried so hard to understand my womanliness. Thank You that he loves to be here with us each day. Thank you for the way we met, and for all of the things we are to each other. Thank You that we have celebrated 30 years together! I never knew anyone could love me this much--but He does. 

Thank You for each child. Thank You for all of the sleepless nights and morning sickness that I've experienced over the years. Thank You for early nursing pain--knowing I was giving them love and life at the same time. Thank You for each cry, each soft bottom, each diaper change. Thank You for each tantrum, each quarrel, each cranky morning. Thank You for the times of watching and care because of sickness deep into the night. 

Faith, Olivia and Eliana together!
Thank You for their oft wanderings and curious wonderings. Thank You for their many questions, and for their sweet acceptance of the answer. Thank You for the times that I lost sight of the most important things, and instead sunk deeply into petty misunderstanding, and even then You spoke to them through this imperfect vessel. 

Now I can also thank You for new sons and daughters that are being added through my children's marriages--I wish they all knew that I love them, too. Thank You for the wonderful blessing of grandchildren that give us plenty of material for laughter as they grow. 

In all these things I see Your hand, as You have softened and grown me up, but there is so much more to be done!

Little Patience
Thank You that You are not giving up on me, not even for the bazillionth time. Your love is so great, and broad, and deep.

I could never run out of ways to praise You, not even for an eternity! Amen!


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