A Season of New Life

Today, I am grateful that God is so unyieldingly willing to take as much of the reigns 
as I can get my stubborn fists to loosen. 

When I let go, He tills the dead leftover of what grew in the previous season using it for good, strengthening and expanding my capacity to hold and retain things of value. As new life springs forth in a new season every sprouting seedling reflects the promise of more freedom in Him, sweeter fruit, and greater peace.

In gratitude today, for signs of new life peeking up from the enriched soil of a cold season:

~ New LIfe and their Kid's Club 
~ the women's night brewing out of the weekly hour at little gym
~ wisdom from a woman walking with the King
~ a quickly approaching vacation to be with my favorite woman ever
~ the women in my life who are saying YES with me
~ my birthweek
~ God's faithful enduring constant awesomeness

Even with my eyes cast downward I find the most amazing testimonies of God's provision in all of life!

He is stronger than my worst day.
And praise God, I cannot stop HIm!

Join Ann, at a holy experience, where she guides, inspires, 
and hosts a beautiful, flourishing community of Gratitude Seekers. 


Gratitude Transformations

I've been meditating and really trying to dig in on the practice of living in gratitude. I've been curious to see just how far the blessing and joy of it might reach.
The stages have been like that of peeling away at an onion, going deeper - getting richer as it nears the core.

In the beginning it was one thing to count the obvious things I could be thankful for - the gifts and blessings abounding all around;
  1. my God
  2. my husband
  3. my child
  4. our home
  5. health
  6. love
  7. faith...
After awhile that began to feel a little trite and even a bit smug. And I prayed for God's guidance - that I might grow further along in this exercise. 
I was quickly exposed to another layer beneath the surface that brought focus to a level of things I should have been grateful for but rarely considered in a day;

  • lights
  • water
  • heat
  • clothes
  • hearing
  • seeing
  • walking
  • breathing...

These things made me conscious of a broken hurting world living without the luxuries I was taking for granted everyday. And it brought burning edges brimming with remorse and tears.  

Then Ann's new book arrived, and One Thousand Gifts brought on questions about my intentions and purpose for jotting down thanks in this brown spiral-bound book each day.
Reading Ann's experiences caused my heart to widen and my vision to focus on seeking and finding the beauty of Him in the otherwise perceived mundane of which I'd previously passed by in oblivion;

  • steady floating snow freckles closing space between sky and earth  
  • cold wind sounding against the walls of my morning tucked in a marriage bed warm
  • the steady ticking minute hand in early stillness
  • feet and soul that obey Him
  • streams of sunlight straight through eyes
  • warmth on still young hands
  • bright like His love
Then, last week Monday, I stumbled across Jenny, at A Minute Captured.
She didn't just write the things that she was grateful for. She wrote in between, in a tone of repentance, the things she complained about or begrudged during the week.
Her honest, humble, raw reflection made a connect in me. This is what I was doing "between the lines", only in my mind and never on paper. But to share it... this perspective didn't just make an account of His gifts, but could put a woman in check of her heart and attitude along the way.

And so Jenny brought me to consider giving thanks in the storms and even for the storms, as a means to an end for the in between flesh indulgences that the enemy feasts upon;

  • the deserved cold snap of winter in my face and the reality of my choices
  • a feeling heart to ache
  • his healthy lungs blowing into his recorder at 6:45am
  • his strong legs to stomp him up to his room for a time
  • that they found my mom's heart problem
  • repentant agony over hurting a sister
  • God's faithfulness to me even in my ignorance
  • that the trouble I'm in right now is not beyond God's will or power

I don't expect these layers to stop peeling away or for these transforming lessons to end soon. I want to take them all with me as I continue to give thanks in each of these different and valuable ways.  

Though I don't share in posts from my Gratitude Journal much anymore these Mondays, I slip in to quietly encourage and spur on the Thankfulness Journey, and to thank Ann for encouraging this movement. There is more to be discovered where ever He leads.

Following together,


After the Storm

I hadn't yet intentionally stepped out from God's protection since He offered a warm safe place under His wing. I knew I had the freedom to do it, but the soft down tucking was so good and whole compared to what I'd known forever before. So I stayed, like a baby chick. 

Tempted in a storm to squirrel out for just a second and get a little peck at what I "deserved", I peeked out with wonder... what was it like to chose by flesh how to respond to someone else's flesh? It had been awhile. 

Immediately enveloped in the habit of my formerly dead self, the free gift of my Holy, debt free, righteous wardrobe was traded out for those of a flesh response. Somewhat of an orange jumper now that I'm looking back. 
And I heard Nordeman singing in the background, the ten years past, familiar, "started rubbing sticks together, thought a spark would take forever. never dreamt this fire would appear..." 

And that's about the way it went. 

I didn't think of how pleased the vulture would be to see little me skirt out on my own for just a second. Some-wonderful-how I'd forgotten that he hates my Father and he wants to crush me for a snack in attempt to hurt Him. I hadn't seen the enemy up close in so long that it slipped my mind how he acts like he just might win the battle he's already lost, like he might still have a chance.

"asked for matches and i received a gallon full of gasoline..." again, it was Nichole.

And he clawed, and drooled, and licked his serpent tongue at me. So sure he had me in his reach. 

And he had. 

and I felt the fire. and I burned in it. 
Knowing God had not let me go, but would certainly let me feel the scorch of my decision, I burned. 
And Nichole's words soared in my spirit, "I know I'm gonna blister in these flames...".
I scrambled for the next words looking for the guidance of what I never fully understood until that moment, 
"but I'll stay here, until this smoke clears. and I'll find You in the ashes that remain..."
So, I feared not between me and an ever Faithful, Gracious, Loving God, who provides a way out of all temptation and would certainly be found by at least the end of me.

And here I am today. 

The brunt of the storm was four long days. God stood with His eyes on me, watching every burning blow... everyone of them I asked for. I sensed the coming peace as I imagined the aftermath with every sizzling branded lesson. 

Strong and sure were all that withstood the surge. And strong and sure were few. 

There was a washing, a clearing out of all the debris I had left lie in naivety. 
It was time to see that nothing would be worth losing His promised protection, finding my refuge in the shadow of His wings. Not a peek. Not a peck. Not all the victory and glory my flesh could conjure.  

And this morning my storm has finally passed. 
And Groves sings, "Glory, come down, sent from Your holy place."

No more whipping winds or torrents of rain. No tirades or flying rocks. No lashings. No more days wasted wondering what would come of me, what sure would break off and need healing since I pinned on an "idiot" sign and stepped out to have a go on my own three days past.  

"Come cleanse us, now. Sovereign and Holy, come make us holy.", Sara hums sweet.

The tide has receded. The gulls fly silent. The sun shines soft on my face, and peace warms the ache of all that is stripped missing.
There is a beauty in this eery quiet stillness. 
As I scan across the weathered horizon I feel the heart pangs twinge at the few broken remnants of what had just stood full in my life before the storm warning. 

The relief of finality far over-shadows my concern for what is lost.

And before one single broken piece of dross is overturned, a day of worship and thanks awaits, beginning with the end of Sara's song, at the end of me...

"Lord, i need You
Lord, i love You.  
Thank You, Jesus..." 

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