"For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace"

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

cheesy church signs...

I realize that it's been a while since I've blogged on here. A lot has been going on and I haven't been able to put pencil to paper, figuratively.

Sometimes I catch myself processing life through a mental blog post that I never actually write. I've been doing that a lot recently. I'll call it mentally blogging. It's like a journal except I don't always have the time to sit down and physically write so I do it when I am driving, cooking, cleaning, etc.

I have been thinking about a lot of things lately. But a couple really stand out right now. It is a season of thanks. In two days we celebrate the holiday Thanksgiving. For a lot of us that means gathering with family or friends and eating an incredible meal where we stuff ourselves miserable and the add dessert on top of it. I'm not complaining- I confess, my gluttony comes out.

But we all know it's about more than that. We all know the reason we have off work and school and celebrate Thanksgiving stems from a rich history. We have so much to be thankful for.

Something that I've learned is that an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude is a choice. And when you're thankful, it changes you from the inside. It's not always easy to choose to be thankful or grateful. It's actually easier to complain and want.

I think of the tornado survivors here in our hometown area that have literally lost all of their material possessions. The impact and the toll that it has taken on them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I don't think I can comprehend it- the extent of what they are facing, especially this time of year. It's truly devastating. And yet I hear story after story of them proclaiming their thankfulness for life. Their thankfulness doesn't diminish what they are enduring and the tremendous mountain they are climbing but it shows their heart. Their character. Their faith in Someone bigger.

I really wrestle with this one. On the day our sweet Gracie Mae turns one, our sweet and dear friends will be delivering their first baby. What a celebration of life that God has perfectly knit together in His understanding. But they also have to make burial plans at the same time. Because their sweet baby has anencephaly. Their baby can't live very long outside of the womb. It's horrible and really unimaginable. I don't have very good words of consolation. I don't know if there really are many. But I pray for them all the time. They are amazing, first- because they just are, but also with the way they've blogged throughout this pregnancy and pressed into Jesus through the deep, heart-wrenching pain and grief.

Y'all, I think we can all safely say- life is not a bed of roses. And even if it were- roses have thorns. So who would want a bed of roses anyways?

Anyways... my point. My point is thankfulness. I am watching friends, family, strangers, and our own family go through some reaaaaaally trying and difficult seasons and events. I have watched on facebook through the month of November where people post one thing a day they are thankful for. It is such a good perspective changer. I think we can all find something we are thankful for. And let that attitude change us, transform us. To endure, to praise, to cope, to live- thankfully.

Okay. I'm not typically a fan of those church signs with the cheesy sayings on them when you drive by- you know what I'm talking about. I mean sometimes they are reeeally cheesy...but even so they make you think. There was one that still sticks out to me from when we lived in Little Rock. It said (paraphrasing here) "What if you woke up today only with the things you thanked God for yesterday". I'm not trying to prove validity of it or say we need to get OCD and make lists of everything we are thankful for in fear of them being taken away from us. Y'all...it constantly comes back to me. This point- am I thankful? Am I expressing my thankfulness to God and my deep gratitude for Him and what He does and provides for me? I am simply thankful for Him because of who He is even if He doesn't do things in a way that makes sense or is painless for me?

So yes the cheesy church sign was effective.

I'm going to choose to be thankful even when my emotions don't line up and don't make sense. That's not a brag-on-me statement, it's a declaration- more for myself than anything- of even if He took it all away, I still have so much to praise Him for. It feels like a punch in the stomach to think about Him taking it all away and really praising, but it is true.

A few of the things I am thankful for right now: my husband, my daughter, my family, my friends, my home, food, health, warmth, clean water, the Bible, those who hold up your hands when you feel weak, books to read, cookie dough (seriously), freedom, hope, grace, mercy, God's steadfastness and His promises that don't change, creativity, invitations, Christmas cards, changing seasons, a van (yep, i said it), good conversations, soup weather (yeah!), music, and my Jesus. There's obviously tons more. But there's a few for ya.

A song I've had on repeat lately is Audrey Assad's "You Speak". Because when we get to the end of us and get silent in our hearts we, then, can really hear and see God. And we get new perspective. And it doesn't hurt that her voice is breathtaking in my opinion. (it makes me feel like a good singer when I sing along with her- as long as she is cranked louder haha :))

I like it so much i'm going to post the lyrics and the link to youtube because I think you should listen to it!

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all, I'm so grateful for YOU.

Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFr6dVTVN2w

You liberate me from my own noise and my own chaos
From the chains of a lesser law You set me free
You liberate me from my own noise and my own chaos
From the chains of a lesser law You set me free

In the silence of the heart You speak
In the silence of the heart You speak
And it is there that I will know You
And You will know me
In the silence of the heart
You speak, You speak.

You satisfy me till I am quiet and confident
In the work of the Spirit I cannot see,
You satisfy me till I am quiet and confident
In the work of the Spirit I cannot see.

In the silence of the heart You speak.