Tomorrow is a new year for me and for many other special folks who celebrate their birthday. So today as I reflect back upon the year that is wrapping up, I am reminded of some valuable lessons that it brought.
Life (on earth) comes. Life (on earth) goes. But Love never ends.
In the past year, our beautiful niece Avery was born, and dear friends of ours welcomed a little girl and a little boy into the world. We became God parents to two out of the three. We also said farewell to two of our uncles who were near and dear to our hearts. Life (on earth) comes. Life (on earth) goes. But Love transcends space and time. Love never ends.
Want Instant LIFE? Trade in Instant Gratification for Instant GRATITUDE.
One of my mentors was challenged to create a list of 1000 things she was grateful for over the course of a year. I decided to follow in her footsteps and do the same. It is utterly amazing the amount of things that you and I take for granted each day. What I learned through this process is that the more grateful we are, the more meaningful, memorable, and monumental life becomes.
Here are few excerpts:
-Yesterday I went to the farmers market. I took out $40 but through a series of events, I ended up having $30 for the farmers market. I had bought stuff for us and for my sister and was down to my last $5. I was thinking of getting some peaches or nectarines ($5) but just before I did, my sister asked if I would pick up some strawberries too. They cost $5. So instead of buying peaches/nectarines for us, I used my last $5 to get my sister strawberries. This morning, mom and pops showed up with…a very large container of fresh peaches! Way more than the $5 would have got me at the market.
“God will repay double for any trouble.”-Zechariah 9:12
-Every snuggle with the kids
-Delay turned into deliverance! Went to wacky wings to get a gift card but it wasn’t working. They said they would call me back. I decided to have lunch in the car and then go about my day. As I was finishing up my lunch, Wacky Wings called me to tell me that it was working. I got the gift card PLUS coupons for 2lbs of FREE wings!
-Brooklyn was reading something she had drawn in her book. I could hear her say, “I love mommy, I love daddy, I love Marilyn, I love Jillian” and then she stopped and said “what does this say?” Upon looking at her picture, my heart melted because there in front of my eyes was “I love Drew and Joann.”
-Towards the end of my morning walk, I took off my earphones. I found myself walking behind a gentleman and could hear him humming. As I listened more closely, I recognized the song. It was “You raise me up” by Josh Groban-a song that was sung at our wedding. The part he was humming?
“You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up to more than I can be.”
It was a beautiful reminder that you my Heavenly Father, are near.
God lavishes His love, His grace, and His blessings upon us day in and day out whether we recognize them or not. My hope for you and I is that we don’t miss out on a single opportunity to encounter Him each day. #1000Gifts…do you dare?
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”-Melodie Beattie
Silly Devil, You’re Messing With The Wrong ________.
Last year was hard. The devil tried to take me out in more ways than one. He wanted to destroy me…he still does. But what I learned is that his pursuit of me only lead me to run straight into the arms of my loving Father. The devil used delay to try and discourage me. To be honest, at times it worked. He wanted me to become so caught up in all the things that I didn’t have, wasn’t doing, etc., that I would take my eyes off (the promises) of God. The devil wanted me to be discouraged. He wanted me to doubt. He wanted me to become bitter. He wanted me to resent others because they had what I wanted and had been praying for. He wanted me to become so fixated on others that I would miss out on the incredible opportunities and blessings right in front of me. He wanted me to miss out on the amazingness that God had in store because life wasn’t the way I thought it would be. The problem with the devil’s ploy was he failed to factor in that “God’s ways are higher than our ways” (Isaiah 55:9).
Yes, life wasn’t the way I thought it would be because God had something BETTER in mind.
Each day as I die(d) a million tiny deaths (namely to my ego, envy, greed, pride, etc) and surrendered every single area of my life to my Heavenly Father, life took on a whole new meaning. Friends, it’s not easy but God is so, so worth it. I’m not interested in living a mediocre life. I’m not interested in hanging out with someone whose main goal in life is to destroy me by distracting me. What I want more than anything is to be more like Jesus everyday and in everyday.
God’s way and God’s timing. What used to make me question and doubt, I now embrace and look forward to. Yes I do not always understand but I have learned not to trust in my circumstances but to place my complete trust in the ONE who holds it all together. It’s taken me a looooong time to get to this point and I am still working on it. The truth is, I’d have it no other way because there is no other One.
Tomorrow I am indeed increasing in age but I’m not getting older, I’m getting BOLDER:).
“If enough of us were to flourish and excel in compassion and kindness, then the world would be less wounded and broken.”-Bobbie Houston
You were created for this moment in time. It’s no mistake that you are here. And in this beautiful book by Bobbie Houston, readers are reminded of all that is possible when we encounter the love of our mighty God. Her words are spoken with authority and authenticity. Her heart for God, for people, and for the church is evident with every story shared and every chapter. Above all, she invites us all to stand up, stand together, and stand for each other in the fight for humanity vs. shrinking back and settling for less than God’s very best for our lives.
“Whether the nation we live in is categorized as ‘developed’ or ‘developing’ isn’t the issue-brokenness is brokenness, abandonment is abandonment, abuse is abuse.”-Bobbie Houston
We are all connected in more ways than one and “The Sisterhood” is a shining light of what is possible when we make ourselves available to a God who specializes in the impossible. This book is a date with one of your most fabulous girlfriends who has this gift of leaving you and all the lives she encounters, better off and more alive.
“So wherever life takes you and whatever life deals you, don’t forget to smile upward. It delights heaven, unlocks your heart, makes a way for his goodness, and irritates the pants off the devil. And if it is within your power (which it is, sweetheart), live life magnificently. Your example will inspire and bear fruit that will reach far into eternity.”-Bobbie Houston