Tuesday, August 6, 2013

One Hundred Gifts of Grace

Counting the things that count.  No matter what.  God uses everything. As Ann Voskamp says…they are all gifts.  She also says Gratitude redeems. I say it also brings balance to our hectic lives and makes my complaints fade into nothing.
 1)      Achey feet, because it means I have a job
2)     Libraries
3)     The varied call of the catbird in the corn field
4)     My great-niece’s giggles.
5)     Quiet
6)     The generosity of friends and family.
7)     Worship songs that make my heart dance
8)    Blossoms…flowers, I love flowers
9)     The crack in my windshield…I have a car. Most of the world does not.
10)  Cherries
 
11)   Cool days
12)  Personal pain that leads me to call out to Jesus every day and night.
13)  Lavender
14)  Jesus presence
15)   Chronicles of Narnia
16)  Walks on foggy mornings
17)   Laughing with my neighbor
18)  Remembering and crying…
19)  Streams, rivers, ponds, lakes…the ocean...fountains and waterfalls.... Water represents Life and cleansing
20, 21) Words and the Word...I love words but even more how scripture goes far and beyond the written words I read.
22) Fossils...yeah, I'm a nerd.
23) The fragrance of honeysuckle.
24) Chocolate...God made it just for us!
25) The surprise of a frog jumping into the canal as I walk by.
26, 27,28) Listening...being quiet and listening for God's voice, for the kids in the neighborhood playing, and bird calls.
29) Being listened to...
30, 31,32) Laughing and silliness...my women's group does a lot of this and we do get to the study and prayer...prayer being the best part.
33) Ice cream!
34) Family humor...no one else would ever get it...but we have fun!
35) Movies that make me laugh...Despicable Me!
36) Movies that make me cry...
37) Just how intricate the human body is...each organ, our original DNA which really is God's DNA...did I say I was a nerd?

Counting some hard graces...what Ann has called the "ugly beautiful"

38) My abuse...yeah, that. Only because of Jesus love and healing. Why? Because I can that I have a destiny to raise up others with a similar personal history...not by myself or through my strength but through God's power which has grown me up and gives me strength and wisdom.
39, 40, 41,) Financial struggles...because they have caused me to find riches in other ways...precious friends, God's creation and my conversations with Him.
42) When I pray in exhaustion and frustration and in return receive peace.
43,44) The oder coming from the waste treatment plant -- grateful there is one and also to have a sense of smell.
45, 46) Blurred vision...appreciate the value of seeing and yes...bifocals!
47) Sweat...it means I am working or walking and that it is summer!
 
48) Long talks with friends
49) Campfires at night
50, 51, 52, 53) Colors...of flowers, of fireworks, and Christmas lights.
54) Bees --- lead to honey and a bountiful harvest of fruit, berries and God 
knows what else!
55) Loving...
56) ...and being Loved
57, 58, 59,) Road noise and honking horns...the gift of hearing, the gift of technology and God allowing some mysteries to be uncovered.
60) To be a woman...just one dimension of who God made me to be and that is just a beginning.
61) Sunsets

Seasons...
62, 63,) 
Spring and Autumn...my favorite seasons
64) Frost designs on Winter windows
65,66) Silent snowfall...Snow perched perilously on fragile twigs.

67, 68, 69,) Watching the world wake up and bloom...March, April and May. 
70) Tulips...so many varieties and colors...The Queen of the Spring Garden.
71) Long Summer Days to see all Life living to the fullest.

72,73, 74)
Crisp Autumn Days...sitting inside reading with apples, hot cocoa and popcorn.

75) Leaf Piles!
76) Children's Christmas programs...never knew angels threw their halos!

77) Grateful and Honored to pray for my family and friends.
78, 79,80,81, 82,) Provision ---through work and gifts, prayers and counsel --- God's bounty for all my needs, spiritual, emotional, and mental as well as physical.
83) That God intervenes in storms...the atmospheric, spiritual, mental and social.
84, 85, 86, 87,) Making memories with my nieces and nephew --- steal the socks game, making cookies, backyard made-up sports, and picnics.
88 and 89) Twins!...soon to be born great-nieces!


90) Cloudy Days...for some reason they are comforting and cut the harshness of a too bright sun.
91) A good cry...letting it all out.
92) Lincoln Logs and Legos.
93) Growing older, grayer and stiffer...hopefully growing some wisdom and perspective as well.
94) Encyclopedias and books....amazing facts and imagination...
95) Spaghetti and Pizza...What does God have for dinner?
96) Misplaced items found....library book, gift card, doctor appointment note...


97) Forgiveness....
98) Forgiving...no other way to mend relationships.
99) Grace...for not being perfect or reaching 100...because there is always room for one more thing or person to be grateful for, to find God's grace in and become the person He designed YOU to be.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Follow The "Chocolate"


I recently watched the kid's move “UP” again. In it the curmudgeon and a local scout end up on an adventure floating away in a house powered by the wind, their imaginations and balloons. They find Kevin...who loves chocolate. Kevin is the elusive bird that Charles Muntz, the boyhood hero of curmudgeonly Mr. Fredrickson, is pursuing. Muntz was stripped of his scientific and explorific medals and credentials when scientists decided the evidence he brought back of "Kevin" was manufactured. Charles Muntz returns to Paradise Falls and becomes obsessive in his search for the bird who successfully eludes him for 70 years more or less. Then along comes Russell the scout with his chocolate bar. Hungry Kevin is hiding in the tropical bushes nearby when Russell pulls out his treat. Kevin takes a nibble and another and another and becomes addicted...just like me. Kevin takes a liking to Russell and Russell to Kevin. Russell, not being as totally clueless as he seems, lures Kevin along by leaving a trail of chocolate behind him. Good ole Mr. Fredrickson keeps his eye on the goal....Paradise Falls and barely tolerates Kevin. Kevin manages to not peck Mr. Fredrickson's eyes out in her devotion to Russell and the chocolate.

God knows my heart, my mind, my soul...He created them. His desire is for relationship, not to sit on some lofty throne listening to babies in diapers play harps badly. He created us to fulfill that relationship and He created us in His image to desire relationship with Him. Humankind fell...and we fell hard. He has been luring us with “chocolate” ever since. Don't protest...He made chocolate too. Chocolate didn't exist as far as we know when Jesus walked the earth, at least in Israel, so it wasn't for Him exactly. He made chocolate for us! That is how much He loves us!

God knew what it would take to draw us back to Him. He had to make us fit to be in His awesome holy presence for one thing. That's where Jesus comes in, His life, His ministry, His sacrifice and His resurrection. But it takes an act of our will, a choice in order for that part to be complete. We choose to believe Jesus. We choose the whole package of His life, ministry, death and resurrection. We also choose to repent...to give up ourselves, all we have done, all we are, our entire being to Him. That is the commencing of our relationship with God...not a culmination. The Great Adventure begins...reaching the elusive depths of our heart while simultaneously reaching God's throne in heaven where Jesus is more real than our jobs, our spouses, the distractions of this world and the pain of past abuses. God lures us with His amazing Word. The more I read it, the more I want it...and the more I want it the more I read it. Sounds like chocolate for the spirit! Perhaps its more like chicken soup but this is about chocolate. He touches our spirits with music He has inspired those gifted to write. We in turn raise our voices in praise and worship. We hear the words He has given to those He has commissioned to lead us. He knows what feeds our need for relationship with Him. He also knows what we do to try to fill that void. There are industries, some barely legitimate and others not that exist to fill that void. There is also a whole industry out there in order to help us when we engage in our distractions to excess...and without Jesus it becomes a distraction itself.

Follow the “chocolate”....find what Jesus has for your spirit, what He has provided to satisfy us to the depths of our souls. No one needs to go hungry or thirsty. He is always present, willing to give living food and living water.

John 4:13 and 14 Jesus answered “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water I will give will never be thirsty again. The water that I give will become in those that drink it a spring of water that bubbles up into eternal life.”

Thanks to my friend Celeste who reminds me to eat chocolate every day.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Resources

If you are a survivor of abuse or any traumatic experience in your life, I want to suggest a couple Internet resources. One is the website Christians in Recovery. It is a website with alot of resources for different topics people are recovering from. A person can become a member for $15 a month and take advantage of message boards and scheduled meetings. They encourage the use of the 12 steps which originated in Alcoholics Anonymous.
The second is the website for
Theophostic Prayer Ministry. There is an explanation of what it is and how to contact someone in your area who is trained in this Christian healing type of prayer. The healing prayers I went through were very similar to this, that is why I am recommending it.