Wednesday, November 12, 2014

how do you follow Jesus when you have a justice heart?



there are a lot of thoughts swirling in my head about what it looks like to walk in faith in Jesus during this life.

did Jesus really mean for us to "turn the other cheek?" when peter asked Him how many times he should forgive someone who did him wrong, did Jesus really mean "70 times seven" as saying over and over again? i mean, if some really does something unjust against us, are we to let it slide or make sure wrong is made right?

i am not trying to just ask rhetorical questions. my dad always described me as being someone who had a justice heart. i have a really hard time knowing that something was wrong and that nothing is done to rectify it. i get it when people want to wrong the rights of the world. i get it when it feels like a violation of everything i know to be true to just "let it go."

i don't think Jesus was saying to just let things go. i don't think He was saying that the wrong done isn't a big deal. i mean, look at His life - it was a really big deal that He was lied about and given the death sentence; He was beaten, humiliated, and left naked and half dead on a cross with people spitting on Him, taunting Him to make His own justice for Himself if He truly was who He said He was. i am pretty sure that Jesus knew that it was a big deal injustice happening to Him.

so, tell me, why was He able to say, "Father forgive them, they don't know what they are doing," when it seems pretty obvious that each person there fully knew they were killing Him and mocking Him? i don't think they had the insanity plea available. i don't think it was just a mistake. i think it was premeditated, wicked, and the worst offense that could have been done against a person, let alone the Person of God. i don't think Jesus was "brushing it off."

when i talk to my kids about forgiving their brothers that do wrong against them, i really try to start with the context that what their offending brother did really was WRONG. i don't want them to think that it is something simply to get over and ignore. i want my kids to know there there truly is a day of reckoning where each one of us will stand before a Righteous Judge who will make each wrong be paid for in full. each one of us will be required to fully pay the offenses that we committed - unless.

unless we cast ourselves at the mercy of Jesus on that cross.

i ask my kids when they are struggling with the forgiveness thing if they want to receive the mercy of Jesus over their lives when they stand before the Father. you see, it is clearly written in more than one place that the key to receiving forgiveness is to forgive.

to the merciful, they shall receive mercy.

mercy does not mean that wrong was not committed. the only time anyone needs mercy is when what they did was really truly wrong. i am in desperate need of mercy in my life, and this is THE reason i commit my heart over and over again to giving mercy to those who commit wrong against me. i do not do it for their sake, though i am learning more and more how much i should have their sake in mind - i do it because i want all my sins covered when i stand before the Father on that day of judgement. i don't want any areas brought up where He can point out that i refused mercy or forgiveness in situations that i thought i was justified in requiring things to be made right. i think of the parable of the man who owed a great debt and was forgiven, then went to his neighbor and demanded he pay the small debt back immediately. when the judge heard of this he was infuriated, for good reason. i do not want to be that man. i want to be the one to receive mercy because i gave the undeserved mercy to others. i want to be the one who was so thankful for my great debt being forgiven that it is overflow to forgive others of what they owe me.

i do not concern myself with whether i will be viewed as a doormat or not. if this was what Jesus was mostly concerned with, He would NOT have given us the example of dying on a cross. if Jesus was mostly concerned with if we would be treated as a doormat, then He would NOT have told us that we must carry our own cross to follow Him.

He did not give many ways to follow Him. i cannot choose how i follow Him. if i am to be a follower of Jesus, i must choose His way. that is frightening. i do not want to carry my cross. i do not want to be wronged. i do not want to be wronged over and over again, maybe even to the point of death. i am being totally serious. i struggle with this big time in my own heart and i wonder, if i struggle so much with forgiving small things done against me by my children, my husband, my family, and my friends, how in the world am i even going to give my life if that is what is asked of me? am i even saved when there are christians giving their lives all over the world for not denying Christ, and i struggle if someone broke my stuff and doesn't offer to fix it or if my husband doesn't apologize for hurting my feelings?

why would it even matter to give mercy? why is this how Jesus asks us to follow Him? it only matters because our God is a God of mercy. it is because Jesus was a perfect representation of what the Father is like - we can look at how Jesus lived every day of His life and know the Father. Jesus wants us as well to be a true witness of what He is like, and what the Father is like in turn. when someone wrongs me and i give them mercy and forgiveness - especially when they do not ask for it, think they need it, or are willing to make anything right on their end - i am showing a picture of what this awesome God i serve is like. i am showing that the only reason i even have an ounce of power or desire to show mercy and forgiveness is because i am constantly reminded how it was, is, and will be shown to me.

i am a sinner saved by the grace and mercy of Jesus. i do not ever want to forget this because it is the only way i am saved from the wrath of God.

so, if i am liberal in showing mercy and forgiving from my heart, not requiring wrong to be made right, i WILL probably be treated like a doormat. i will most likely be taken advantage of by those looking out for their own gain. i will most likely be misunderstood and mocked. but i believe that God will make ALL the wrong things right when Jesus returns, and i want to learn to be patient for His justice and not try to make my own justice. i know this doesn't come easy to me, and anyone who really knows me knows how much i struggle to be a witness of this. i wish i could write this conviction i have and at the same time have that perfect witness of it that Jesus had. i really wish, and hope to one day, have the type of walk in my life that you could look at how i conduct myself and say, "i think she really does believe those things that she wrote about." this is my goal. i mess up over and over again, but i have purposed my heart to learn how to walk out a life of forgiveness that isn't deserved and to wait upon the justice of God because i really believe that day of accountability is real and it scares me a little. okay, it scares me a lot. i ask the Father for the Holy Spirit to strengthen me in this because it is so hard. so terribly hard.

i think Jesus asked the Father to forgive the ones who enacted the greatest injustice against Him in the midst of dying, because He had full understanding of the day of judgement coming and He wanted as many to be saved from the wrath of God as possible. once in a while i get a small revelation of the realness of this day coming, and i have grace on my heart to forgive even deeper and cry out for the Lord to NOT make those who have wronged me pay but to give them full forgiveness and mercy forever. i do not want anyone to go to the lake of fire. i really don't. it terrifies me. i want my life to somehow point others to the mercy of Jesus that they would surrender their lives to Him as well and be saved by Him forever. i want people to know there is mercy available and that the day of judgement is real.

i know this is a long rambling, but these are my thoughts this morning. the belief that this is all real is the only thing that gives me strength to really turn the other cheek - to allow someone access to hurt me AGAIN, possibly in the same way and hopefully be praying for the Lord to be merciful to them in the midst of it. i fall short. i know i do. but i desire for the Lord to grow me in this area because i believe it is the biggest deal of what following Jesus looks like. if i cannot acknowledge that my own life is in desperate need of forgiveness, then it is much harder to see the why of me living in a way that could very well leave me without seeing justice in this life.
 

charis

Saturday, November 1, 2014

day 31: little miss

my last day of the challenge! first of all, i have to say thank you to every reader who hung with me. i can't believe i made i with only getting 1 day behind. no, i will not continue to post daily, but you will keep hearing from me. i won't wait 8 months again before a new post.



for my last day of these 31 days of thanks, i want to give thanks for my baby girl. i know i kind of gave thanks for her in my intro post too.

  • she is truly a content baby.
  • she is a good sleeper, and not because of anything i have done differently. i get a good sleeper every 3rd baby...
  • if her brothers were a rich fudgey chocolate cake, she would be that perfectly delectable frosting on top.
  • i have wanted a baby girl my entire life. i always wanted a big family and when i met bill and thought i could easily have a bunch of boys if i had a little girl as a caboose. she is the most perfect caboose i could ever imagine. i doubted for several years that she would ever be, but she is and that just blows me away over and over again.
  • she gives bill the opportunity to have a daddy daughter bond that i had with my daddy, and that just means more to me than i know how to put into words. he never had sisters, and i am so thrilled to see this little girl rock his world in only 5 months. he has always bonded so well to our nieces, and now he has a little beauty of his own to love on.
  • i love to see how her brothers just adore her, take care of her, and make her smile and laugh. i love that they get to experience how special it is to have a sister. 
  • after some really painful years, God has given me such a gift and i don't know how to describe it... i didn't even really feel the ability to grieve my daddy until i found out i was pregnant. it was so bittersweet in ways words don't really do justice until you walk through something like it. i don't know what it was about this sweet baby, but she unlocked my heart to feel again. after being so numb for 6 months, the first emotions to tumble out were very painful. but God used her before i even knew her to bring healing to my heart, and she will forever be connected to my daddy even though she hasn't met her yet. i know he would and will love her so much. 
  • she is my little myrtle tree and the grace of God to me. she really was born for a time such as this that He has planned ahead of time.

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Friday, October 31, 2014

day 30: my fellow thumb sucking boy

it is simeon's turn for me to be thankful for him!

  • this boy is pure sunshine. we were camping with our church and went to a campfire gathering, a lot of the people there we didn't know yet, and he shouted, "these are all my friends!" he is so friendly and everyone who meets him falls instantly in love.
  • he knows no personal space. his favorite place is on my lap, holding my hair, and sucking him thumb (we have this thumb sucking thing in common since i sucked mine til i was 7). if my lap isn't available, anyone else's lap and hair will do. he just needs the snuggle.
  • he tells me all the time that i am his favorite. 
  • he is feisty. his middle name is jacob, and often i think it would have been a more fitting first name for his personality - one who wrestles with the angel of the Lord until He blesses him. also... i could see him tricking an older brother out of a birthright. i am just saying...
  • he is so articulate. he said "i need mama" and "i love you" at 3 months old, and has been a jabber mouth ever since. i am not kidding. i cannot tell you how many people have met him his whole life and say, "how old is he? his vocabulary is so advanced." trust me, i know! i am shocked often at how well he expresses himself. 
  • he has a contagious laugh! he wakes up happy and loud and giggly and greets people when he first sees them with shouts and cheers and clapping. 
  • this kid is a mama's boy. all of my boys are, but simeon acts like my world should revolve around him alone and it makes us laugh that he is #4 of 6... he so doesn't act like it to me.
  • he has the cutest little sylvester the cat accent. i know he will grow out of it, but it just cracks me up to hear him talk because it is so cute.

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Thursday, October 30, 2014

day 29: the gift of no regrets


i had a period of time during my teen years that my relationship with my dad was tense. we went through some intense family situations when i was a kid that led to a chain reaction of some unhealthy ways of dealing with stress. i personally struggled a lot internally with the stress in my family, and there were fractures in my relationship with my dad. i had a build up of hurt and emotions and felt like i often ended up in conflict situations with my dad even when i didn't mean to be in a conflict. looking back, as i was struggling with my own emotions and reactions i was often disrespectful with my mouth to both my parents, but especially to my dad because i felt hurt by some of the stress in our house. i was trying to protect myself in a very immature way. now as a parent, i feel especially sad about the way i talked to my dad in conflict and misunderstandings. i was so upset and just plain immature at the time that i couldn't see how hurtful i was to him as another human being who could be hurt by my words. i don't think i really understood that a child can hurt a parent with words, but now as a mom i do understand this and have experienced it to a very small extent. i can even see from this point in my life that the stress in my growing up years had nothing to do with me, but as a child it felt like it did. i also now have perspective that adults don't always make the right decisions just because they are adults - i am sure my kids wonder why i deal with things in immature ways because they don't realize that being an adult or a parent doesn't make you perfect.

i loved the Lord very much as a teenager, even though i acted very childish and disrespectful at times. i decided to go to a christian university about 600 miles away after graduating from high school. i was nervous to go away from home, but i think i needed the distance for a short time to try to work on my own heart with God in a very intentional way. my college years were incredibly fruitful in my life with the Lord and incredibly intense. the point of this post isn't processing living away from home or about the college experience, but there were times in college when i was so lonely and literally felt like God was my only friend. sometimes i was so homesick, but knew i was exactly where i was supposed to be. i made lots of friends and was very involved in classes, working, and extra-curricular activities. however, i was going through such a crushing and refining time with the Lord that i look back on that time as one that was incredibly hard and yet produced tons good fruit in my heart.

i remember coming home to work for the summer after finishing my first year of school away and my mom pulling me aside. she told me that she could see so much good fruit in my life with the Lord from how i didn't react in a conversation with my dad that just a year earlier
would have set off my mouth in a sassy way. i don't even know if i realized that i didn't react until she pointed it out. i remember feeling so happy, deep joy, when she told me that she saw a change in me. it felt like suddenly all the hard lonely times with only having the Lord to lean on, cry out to, and spend time with the past 9 months were suddenly so worth it because there was good fruit in my life and in the way i used my mouth!

i had been especially a daddy's girl when i was very young, but the stress in our house later on had broken down that especially close bond. i always loved my dad and knew his deep love for me, but we just had a really hard time communicating and i hadn't fully forgiven him for hurts even though i had tried over and over again. finally my heart felt free from hurt and i knew that God had given me the gift of truly being able to forgive him and love him the way i really wanted to love him all along - with a more mature and humble love. it was like that daddy's girl bond was reestablished because of the Lord's healing work in my heart and all the refining He had done in me while i was alone.

from that point on my relationship with my daddy just got better and better. there were still the normal human dynamics of misunderstanding or small conflict from time to time, but it was so good and so sweet so much of the time. i remember being so excited for my daddy to meet this guy that i had met in brazil and was considering marrying when he was going to visit me for the first time. it was one of my little tests to know if bill was the right one - how well could he talk to and relate to my daddy. i was thrilled to see they really hit it off. I could see how much my dad liked him andz he gave his blessing so willingly to the guy i was falling in love with.

the very first person i wanted to tell when i found out i was pregnant for the first time, besides my husband, was my dad. i immediately went to target to buy a frame that said "we love you grandpa" for him to open on father's day as our announcement. he was the first person i wanted to share my joy with in the expectation of having a baby. i remember when he was scheduled for a surgery several years ago that was pretty intense, and i knew we had been trying to get pregnant for several months and there was a possibility i could be pregnant. i knew it was a bit early to find out for sure, but i held my pee all day in hopes that i could find out the night before my daddy headed down to san francisco for surgery so i could tell him. it was a comfort to me that he would know going into surgery that he was going to be a grandpa again, and i was so excited to drive other there late at night just to tell him in person before he left.

anyways, i guess i go into all of this to just say that i am so so deeply thankful that God healed my relationship with my daddy, and that He made it so much better than i could have ever imagined. it was like He took something that was good before it was broken, and He took all the broken places and healed them up to be even better than it had ever been before. now, looking back after having to walk through my dad's battle with cancer and how horribly hard it was to go through in ways i can't even really write about at this point, i am thankful over and over and over again that our relationship wasn't only good, but it was really really really good. several years ago, before he was going through all the sickness stuff, i had been really convicted to repent to my siblings and parents for hurtful ways i treated them as a teenager. i went to my daddy and told him i was so sorry for all the hurtful ways i talked to him and asked him to please forgive me. he said he already had long ago. i knew that i wasn't really repenting for his sake, but for my own heart to feel released. i have thought so many many times that i am so thankful that God gave me that opportunity to acknowledge what i had done wrong in our relationship, so that i wouldn't have unresolved places in my heart.

i remember just sitting there in the room while my dad slept during the really sick times praying for healing and it was just so painful to see him like that, and i remember just telling the Lord i was so thankful for even that very painful moment of being with my daddy. i wanted to be thankful in the middle of the worst of it and in the middle of all the pain, because i could be there with him, pray for him, love him unselfishly, and be confident that our relationship was really really good. i am so sad that he wasn't healed here and now because i miss him so much. i am so thankful, though, that before ever having to walk through it God brought beautiful healing and health to our relationship and i will never have to struggle with regrets about my relationship with my daddy.

i really encourage anyone who is having a rift in your relationship with a parent or loved one to make it right on your end. fully press into God for grace to really forgive past hurts, and let Him be the One to heal the broken places in your heart. stop holding some standard of expectation of what the other person "should" do to make it right. ask Him for the opportunity to have any breeches in relationship mended. humble yourself to the person for your part in the mess, because there is no tension in any relationship that is 100% one party's fault but always some degree of fault on both sides.

none of us are guaranteed even one more day, and we don't want to live with regrets about how we treated those we loved. we all want to have a clean conscious before the Lord. God is the Restorer of all things, and He really does take what is broken and fix it and make it even better than before the breaking happened.

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

day 28: a mama's boy

it is uriah's turn!
  • he is such a fun kid! i love how his eyes twinkle when he laughs and when he cries.
  • he is so ultra focused on anything he is doing and he does everything with 110% effort.
  • everything is about speed with this boy. 
  • he is forever a mama's boy - such a sweet spot in my heart for his lovey ways and his deep attachment to his mama. he still thinks he will never marry but be with mommy forever.
  • he is so incredibly artistic and musical - i am often surprised at what he produces creatively.
  • he is so boyish boy, but he isn't afraid of having girl friends or doing "girl" activities like making a rag doll or stringing beads in a co-op class. in fact, he really enjoys it. he love to cook. he wants me to teach him how to knit. and yet, he is so rough and tumble and a filthy dirty boy. dirty feet all the time. he is quite a paradox and i love it.
  • he loves to lead worship. when in kindergarten and asked what he wanted to do when he grew up he said be a preacher... i think he very well may, but i know he will always lead worship.

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

day 27: my youngest little man


giving thanks for my little hosea justus today:

  • he is sweet as sugar - i call him my sugar baby. his smile and twinkling eyes can melt me in an instant.
  • he is fierce and loves to fight more than any of my other boys - he constantly plays david and goliath. he walks around the house as goliath yelling, "who will fight me today?!"
  • i thought i only wanted 4 kids - he is number 5, number 5 boy nonetheless, and he is seriously like icing on the top of the cake. i cannot imagine life without him and all he has brought to make my life fuller. God gave me such a sweet gift when He gave me our little "zeƤ." 
  • at only 2 years old, he already loves to pray. he starts every prayer out with, "Lord, i thank you that..." and he truly does thank the Lord for things and pray about real burdens on his heart. it is amazing what a 2 year old can really grasp.
  • he reminds me so much of asher at this age - i feel like i am reliving 8 years ago and that is so much fun.
  • he is a cuddle bug.
  • God really met me in an intimate and incredible way during his birth.

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Monday, October 27, 2014

day 26: avoiding the entitlement trap




i have been wanting to write about entitlement in this series. i think it it the elephant in the room when it comes to giving thanks (or not giving thanks).   everyone knows it is there, everyone struggles with it even if they don't want to admit it, and everyone thinks it is someone else's problem.

listen, i know that our culture has made a lot of money by selling us the line that we deserve to be happy, comfortable, and entertained. the thing is, the moment we start toying with the idea that we deserve anything at all, we lose the ability to be truly thankful.

i cannot look longingly at what i do not have, convincing myself of all the reasons why i really should have it, cling to the lie that have been somehow wronged if i don't end up having it, and see the blessings that are in my life. all i can see is the blinding light of what i "deserve."  whether it is out loud with my lips or deep inside in my heart, i will start grumbling and complaining about how i was somehow wronged because of my lack in the area of my life that i believe should be different. usually the one we ultimately believe has wronged us is God Himself.

it doesn't have to be about material possessions either. entitlement and self pity are like bffs. they take turns making us more miserable, more anxious, and more ungrateful. we can easily fall prey to this danger because it is one of the most widely preached messages in the american culture, even sometimes in the church. "you deserve _______." it is shouted everywhere we turn.

entitlement is the lock and chain that keeps our eyes blind and our hearts entangled in strife and envy, but giving thanks is the key to living in freedom and joy.

we do not have a right to be happy.

life being fair is nowhere in the bible.

we do not deserve anything.

we really do need the grace of the Holy Spirit to give us a heart of thanks to replace the heart of entitlement that every single one of us struggle with on some level.

in the words of a misty edwards' song:
You owed me nothing
i deserved hell
You owed me nothing
but You've given me mercy...
we need a sobering of our own estimation of ourselves to realize that these lyrics are the reality of our lives - without the mercy and kindness of God, we were on a road leading to hell itself. but in His abundant lovingkindness, He rescued us from a life headed towards destruction; and if it were for only this one single act, we could spend every moment of the rest of our days giving thanks. He is so generous with us if we could only have eyes to see His kiss of goodness in
every. single. event. in. our. lives.

- even the really tough ones that seem to be from the enemy of our souls.

the Lord is holding us in the palm of His hand and nothing can take us away from Him. in these times we still can give thanks over and over again for He is faithful to us all the time. if we fall into the trap of entitlement, we will always be discontent, demanding from our very Creator a different life than He has given us.

see, the best cure for entitlement is to give thanks. when we are filling our thoughts, hearts, and mouths with all that God has done for us, for how much He has given to us that we did nothing to deserve... we stop thinking about what we think we deserve that we lack. His gifts are always for our good. He is a good Father. we have so much to give thanks for, if we would only look at all He has done and given day after day after day.

we do not have to fall into this trap. giving thanks can set our hearts free.

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Sunday, October 26, 2014

day 25: beloved son

i know i write about my kids a lot, but as a mom of 6 they are a huge part of my world. i am watching my #3 son david creating on our hardwood oak living room floor and i am thinking of so much thanks i can give to God for him.

  • he was a surprise baby who came at a time that i didn't think i could handle being pregnant or adding to our family... and he came in God's perfect timing. i really couldn't have planned the timing better, and God knew that and gave me david as such a treasure. he was the easiest, most content baby.
  • he is my only brown haired child. this gives him an unique look, even though i see a lot of his older brother asher in him. 
  • he is fearless and yet very calculated in the risks he takes. 
  • he can make our baby girl laugh easier than anyone else - he has a special way that i haven't figured out how to duplicate.
  • he is a no nonsense kind of guy. you aren't going to be left guessing with him, as he has no pretense or game playing about him. if he gives you a compliment or does something especially thoughtful, it is genuine.
  • he has my color green eyes exactly, and i just love it.
  • he has the cutest round fat freckles that look painted on - they are endearing.
  • just like his namesake, king david, he is a worshiping warrior - so fierce and strong and yet so tender and sings spontaneous songs to Jesus all day long.

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Saturday, October 25, 2014

day 24: your assignment



then on that day david first assigned asaph and his relatives to give thanks to the Lord. 1 chronicles 16:7

could you imagine being the one whose life assignment was to give thanks to the Lord? wow. what a weight of responsibility and what an honor.

i imagine a conversation going like this:
average joe: what do you do? i am the armor bearer to the king. 
asaph: oh me? well, i fill by days by giving thanks the the Lord. 

and we all have that assignment, whether we realize it or not. our job is to praise and worship the Lord, from now to all eternity, and to give Him the glory due His name.

so consider this the day you receive your assignment to give thanks to the Lord.

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Friday, October 24, 2014

day 23: for the rest of my days

tonight i am thankful for the mercy of God. i am a broken imperfect person. i have nothing in myself that could earn the love of our perfect Creator and Father. i mess up so many times. i say things i wish i hadn't said, and don't say the things i wish i would have said. i get angry. i get sad and wallow in self-pity. i get boastful and arrogant thinking i am somehow better than someone else. i get incredibly self-focused and self-absorbed. i often think my way is the best way. i think too much about gaining the approval of those around me. i mess up even when i am trying my very best to do right and hurt others unknowingly and accidentally.

and yet, God in His abundant mercy forgives all my faults, short-comings, and blatant sin when i admit my need for a Savior. what a beautiful reality that my salvation isn't up to me! how sweet is the merciful love of God? how can i resist giving Him thanks at the top of my lungs, with every breath, for the rest of my days?!

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

day 22: interruptions

i have several ideas of what to write swirling around in my head. i have a couple half written posts, but sometimes life, lack of inspiration, or simply the difficulty of typing this one-handed gets in the way.

yet, to stay with the theme of 31 days of thanks, i am thankful tonight for my life that gets in the way. my days are filled with good things like noisy kids, warm bowls of potato cheddar soup, and blue storage containers of hand-me-downs of the next size clothing for a growing two year old. i may not have inspiration, but i have written for 22 days straight after having nothing i wanted to even attempt to type out for 8 months. i must type this post one-handed because my beautiful baby girl sleeps in my other arm - the baby girl i prayed for since i was a young girl and who i started to doubt i would ever actually meet.

so, thanks for these welcome interruptions to my attempt to be a writer. there are so many things going right, far more than i deserve, so i will stop there and say good night. i pray the Lord showers you with blessings that interrupt your well laid out plans.

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

day 21: to be satisfied in God



our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives. we hunger for something more, something other. ann voskamp


charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Monday, October 20, 2014

day 20: the hope of eternity


eternity.

i don't know how to describe the amount of thanks i have for eternity. i think of heaven as it currently is - the paradise that Jesus told the thief on the cross next to Him that He would join Him in that very day. finally free from the struggle with sin and pain. to be absent in body and to be present with the Lord, as the apostle paul put it.

and then there is the return of Jesus and the new heaven and the new restored earth - the new jerusalem. it is the day when He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. can you even begin to imagine it? the heavenly city joining with earth and the two becoming one... and our bodies raised from the grave and rejoined with our spirits, and completely restored to better than ever - just like ezekiel saw in his vision of the valley of dry bones. can these bones live? sometimes it is hard to believe it will really happen... and then i get those priceless moments when the Holy Spirit breathes faith onto my heart and it all clicks and makes sense and it so real that i feel as if i could almost touch it right now.

for me, it ends up relating back to my dad. if i die before Jesus returns, i will get to see my daddy in paradise. but, if Jesus comes back before i die - i will get to literally see my dad's body raised from the grave and completely restored from all the havoc that cancer wreaked on him. and not only restored, but in a glorified body shining with light just like Jesus. (and of course we will all be raised that day whether we died before His return or not) but wow. after seeing my dad at his very sickest, the thing that helps me not dwell on what that horrid disease did to him is to picture him happy and healthy and his body working completely perfect because i know the next time i see him that is how he will be.

i think of my sister's baby that she miscarried - a baby i had prayed for for so long - and i wonder if that baby will have aged with the time gone by or if i will get a chance to hold the baby just like i want to so badly. i am not sure how all that works, but i am so happy that we will meet that little miracle baby and all the pain and sorrow from this delay in knowing the little one will be wiped away by our Beloved Savior and King. i think of so many friends who have lost babies and my heart longs more and more for the day when all this wrong will finally be made right and families will be rejoined.

can you imagine it? we will behold the beauty of His face, we will feel our hearts come alive for the first time... and He Himself will not be too busy with important things, but will wipe the tears that we cannot help but cry. because we have waited so long... so long for this day of a restored earth and the curse of death removed forever and life to finally be the way it always was meant to be - eternal and free from sin and pain and sickness and death.

i know my words are so weak to express the depth of gratitude or longing i feel for the eternity that awaits - it makes it tolerable to walk through very hard days here in a fallen world. it is true hope.

i hope you will take time to listen to this song below - it has helped me along many a tough day... many a day when it felt like i was blurry on how anything would ever get better or my heart would not hurt so much. it has filled me with the hope of His coming and the hope of seeing my daddy and my Daddy God too...



 
charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Sunday, October 19, 2014

day 19: the key to eliminating anxiety


be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. phil 4:6-7
charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Saturday, October 18, 2014

day 18: my firstborn

this is going to be brief because i waited until 9:33pm to even start this post. today i am giving thanks that i have an oldest son named asher.

  • i prayed for my son named asher since i was a young teenager and sometimes i still can't believe i have him.
  • he is an amazing older brother to his 5 younger siblings - he loves them, protects them, is kind to them, serves them, and defends them. 
  • he has a tender heart towards the Lord.
  • i love to watch him lead worship from the piano.
  • he has a really great sense of humor.
  • he is my boy twin who is 24 years younger than me.
  • he is so affectionate and loves to talk to his mama. he sat on my lap the other night - taking up my entire lap. 
  • he will always be my baby, even though he is growing up to a wonderful young man and can already lift me (and i can't hold him anymore!)
  • he is a great leader - not the bossy type, but the type that encourages others to be their very best and helps them get there.
  • he made me a mom.

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Friday, October 17, 2014

day 17: our thankful journal



we keep a thankful journal as a family. we don't write in it every day. we take it out probably about once a week to once every other week and pick one person to be our scribe. then we go around in a circle and each of us says something that we are thankful for. i wanted this to be more than just practicing gratitude, but really directing it as worship and thanks to God. i tell the kids to tell the Lord what they are thankful for, and when the rest of us hear them give thanks it stirs worship and thanks in our hearts towards Him too.

this is a simple way our family tries to incorporate giving God thanks into our worship times and into our lives and heart attitudes.

how do you incorporate giving thanks into your family or daily life?



















charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Thursday, October 16, 2014

day 16: give thanks to the Lord for He is good



oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name;
make known His deeds among the peoples.
sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
speak of all His wonders.
glory in His holy name;
let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad.
seek the Lord and His strength;
seek His face continually.
remember His wonderful deeds which He has done,
His marvels and the judgments from His mouth,
o seed of israel His servant,
sons of jacob, His chosen ones!
He is the Lord our God;
His judgments are in all the earth.
remembers His covenant forever,
the words which He commanded to a thousand generations,
the covenant which He made with abraham,
and His oath to isaac.
He also confirmed it to jacob for a statue,
to israel as an everlasting covenant,
saying, "to you I will give the land of canaan,
as the portion of your inheritance."
when they were only a few in number,
very few, and strangers in it,
and they wandered about from nation to nation,
and from one kingdom to another people,
He permitted no man to oppress them,
and He reproved kings for their sakes, saying,
"do not touch My annointed ones,
and do My prophets no harm."
sing to the Lord, all the earth;
proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
for great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
He also is to be feared above all gods.
for all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
splendor and majesty are before Him,
strength and joy are in His place.
ascribe to the Lord, o families of the peoples, 
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name;
bring an offering, and come before Him;
worship the Lord in holy array.
tremble before Him, all the earth;
indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.
let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
and let them say among the nations, "the Lord reigns."
let the sea roar, and all it contains;
let the field exult, and all that is in it.
then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord;
for He is coming to judge the earth.
o give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
for His lovingkindness is everlasting.
then say, "save us, O God of our salvation,
and gather us and deliver us from the nations,
to give thanks to Your hold name,
and glory in Your praise."
blessed be the Lord, the God of israel,
from everlasting even to everlasting. 
then all the people said, "amen," and praised the Lord.
1 chronicles 16:8-36



















charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

day 15: simplicity



we live in a world that has so many choices. we have endless options of how to spend our money, and even how much money we have to spend. we have countless activities we could be a part of and entertainment constantly at our fingertips. the time we live in is so much different than any time in history, and yet i am not sure if we live as fully as generations before us.

we have been reading the little house on the prairie books as a family during our school time. over and over again i am blown away by how simple they lived. by simple, i don't mean life was easy by any stretch of the imagination - they worked incredibly hard at everything they did and for everything they had. what i mean by the simple life they lived is their girls had two dresses each and one set of shoes. they were delighted when there was one bag of candy in their christmas stockings. fabric to make a new dress was a significant event that laura remembered years later when she wrote the books. the girls entertained themselves for hours outdoors, and learned many crafts and skills that i am just learning how to do in my adult years. their pa playing the violin at night was delightful because of the absence of so many distractions and other means of entertainment.

we have chosen to purposefully limit our family in certain ways in attempts to simplify our very full life. we are still by no means close to what i read about in these books. a couple ways we have simplified are the elimination of the option of credit cards and the absence of a television in our home. i have been so thankful for how these two little things have forced us to choose to live a simpler life in the midst of a world of so many choices and different options.

small self-imposed limitations have had enormous effect on my heart. i am more thankful after waiting on a purchase because of the absence of the instant gratification of spending on credit. we are more purposeful in how we use our time than if we had the option of tv to fill the time and silence (silence, in a house of 6 kids? who am i kidding. what is that?!).

are these things innately wrong? no. however, i find so many people think our family is amazing because we chose to survive without them. many have a hard time imagining how they could do so as well. we are not amazing. really, whenever we limit our options in any area of life it may seem intimidating at first, but it opens us up to enjoy what we have and do in such a fuller, deeper way.

it is like the ingalls girls opening their bag of candy once a year and savoring each taste. they experienced the sweet delight of sugar on their tongues in a way i don't know if i have ever experienced. in our day and age, we eat so much sugar we have almost lost the taste of its sweetness. in our culture we have so many options it sometimes dulls us to enjoy life the way we could.

the journey towards simplicity is one that i give thanks for. it isn't easy to try to live counter-culture, but i love the fruit it produces in my heart. simplicity causes my heart to give thanks for sweet moments in life that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

day 14: sweet small gifts



this morning i give thanks for...
  • overcast skies that hint of rain to come
  • money in the bank to pay the month's bills
  • uplifting worship songs redirecting my heart to praise Him
  • cuddles with little people early in the morning under the warm covers
  • crepe myrtle trees still blooming in my neighborhood
  • freshly painted kitchen cupboards
  • the words of the psalms reminding me of God's righteousness
  • fresh produce straight from the farm every tuesday afternoon
  • watching a blushing bride open gifts at her bridal shower
  • cool enough weather to wear a cardigan but still wear my flip flops
  • the early signs of fall

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Monday, October 13, 2014

day 13: my marriage advice

*it is ironic that i was already half done writing this post when i got into a dramatic disagreement with my husband. (note: all the drama and most the disagreeing was coming from me). interesting how the Lord will often test if we are willing to walk out the message we feel He is giving us to share with others. 

i am thankful for my husband. he is a good man, not perfect, but a man who loves the Lord who i like to have around.

i am going to resist from telling you all the things that are "not so perfect" about my husband when you and i hang out and have coffee together. this isn't because he is a flawless creature. it seems that it is more popular to tell our girlfriends all the things that are annoying about our husband. "he doesn't do this... i hate it when he does that... we are just going through such a hard time (all the time)..." inevitably hearing this reminds us about the things that annoy us about our husbands too, and we women can be quick to join in the complaining. i have been at girls' nights when i left feeling slightly sick to my stomach from all the complaining i heard about the husbands hoping that men don't talk with the same freedom of tongue that their wives do.

listen, we have had our share of tough marriage times. i am not in some perpetual blissful ignorance of marital woes. i do think, however, it isn't the wisest thing to blast it all over social media or to all my girlfriends. this isn't for the sake of how we appear in our marriage - no, this is for the health of my own soul and for the health of my marriage.

there are reasons a woman falls in love with a man and chooses to vow her life to be by his side. yet, in the middle of conflict or stressful times it can be hard to remember why we like this person we are walking with through life. we are too quick to forget the good things when the hard things are clamoring loudly for our attention.

even when we do appreciate different traits or aspects of our husbands, we don't share them out loud like maybe we should. yet, don't you agree that if you heard someone sharing about the parts of her husband that she is still attracted to, it could have a similar chain reaction effect as the complaining does?

i was thinking in light of this writing challenge... what if i committed every day for a month to tell someone something i really liked about my husband. how do you think my heart and perspective would be at the end of that month? by focusing on what my husband is doing right and on his strengths, my whole attitude would be vastly different than if i spent the month grumbling and complaining about all his flaws.

paul wrote to the philippian church:
finally, brothers and sisters, 
whatever is true, whatever is noble, 
whatever is right, whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things. phil 4:8
giving thanks changes our hearts and nourishes our souls.

what we focus on colors the lens with which we view life.

even if i didn't commit for 31 days to focusing on what i like and love about my husband, but just became more purposeful in thinking on the things that are lovely, the things that are admirable especially in the heated moments, would it soften my heart to believe the best and apologize and forgive quickly?

my marriage advice is do as paul said to the philippians, but apply it to your marriage. give thanks in your marriage. i know i need to do this more myself as i want a vibrant marriage and a vibrant heart. so, let me take a moment to practice what i preach.

5 things that are lovely and admirable about my husband:

1. he is a really good daddy. he spends time with our kids. when he disciplines our boys, he takes the time to connect to their hearts and shepherd them instead of just punishing a behavior. it is beautiful.

2. he is good about telling me often that he thinks i am pretty. i am freshly not the only girl in this house and sometimes as a girl you just need to know that your outfit is cute and that you are having a good hair day.

3. he is a hard worker. we live in a house built in the 50's and so it has both charm and older house issues frequently. he spent 25 hours a week ago fixing a plumbing problem that had a domino effect of issues. i didn't hear him really complain except with humor trying to laugh about it.

4. he is a man of prayer. he wakes early in the morning to spend time with the Lord. i am not an early riser and i really admire how he gets up before the sun to pray.

5. he has a really cute smile. it is one of my favorite things about him from the moment i met him.

what is something you can give thanks for about your 
husband that you could share?
Photobucket
want to read more about marriage? click here to read my whole series.



charis



want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Sunday, October 12, 2014

day 12: thanks of the day

something i am thankful for today...

we live in the same city as my family. i don't want to ever take this for granted, since it isn't promised that it will be this way forever. (no mom, this is not an announcement of relocating.) most sundays our family has lunch with my mom, my siblings and their families, and my grandma. my kids have grown up knowing their cousins as their closest friends. a couple of hours ago, my brother just gave my oldest son a haircut. we do life together.

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Saturday, October 11, 2014

day 11: a simple reminder





















if ever we begin to doubt 
that we possess a reason 
to erupt into shouts of thanks,
we only need remember 
that all our hope 
is anchored in the one name 
exalted for all eternity long - 
Jesus our Messiah.



charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Friday, October 10, 2014

day 10: how to be thankful in the waiting

                  
we are in the middle of a search for a larger home to rent. we own a cute older house that we live in right now but, in most people's opinion, have grown out of it.

i have had some thoughts about this house hunt lately. we have put forth great effort to find a place, but keep hitting road blocks. the houses the size we are wanting in the price range we are looking are few and far between. for far too many reasons to list here, as soon as we think we may have the money together for a deposit it is drained by normal life events. i am probably asked 3 times a day, by all different people, if we have found a place yet. over and over again i have to answer no. one can grow weary saying no over and over again.

as we have prayed for God to open up just the right place and for the provision to move forward on it, i have thought a lot about what faith looks like in the middle of all of it. i know many people talk about taking a "leap of faith," and just going for something when the provision isn't there yet. i have been told, by people trying to encourage us, that one of the nicer options that have come up over the time of looking is too good to not jump on, and that if we just go for it then it will all work out. i am not in disagreement that stepping out without knowing how things will work out takes a lot of trust, and there have been times in my life when i felt the Holy Spirit leading me to do just that. sometimes i have heard a clear direction of the Lord, not knowing how any of it could possibly work, and known it was a matter of obedience.

i also believe there is a faith that looks different than taking the big leap. this is the faith of trusting God that He will open the door and provide exactly what it takes to go through the door when it is His timing. it is the willingness to look foolish, weak, and unable to make things happen. i am learning that having a heart that is fully thankful for what i already have, not being envious of what others have or demanding what i think i deserve, produces a faith in my deepest parts. entrusting my life to Him looks like learning patience and opening my eyes to all He has done for me that proves His trustworthiness.

i cannot begin to articulate how foolish i feel at times that everyone knows we have been actively looking for a bigger house for a year, and still aren't in a position to move. like, it is so hard to write this right now because i don't want pity from anyone. the only reason i am willing to write this is the possibility that it would encourage someone else in their own journey.

i know that God is using this to produce really good fruit in us that will draw us deeper in trusting Him. i know that even how it makes me feel to have to walk through the struggle can produce humility in me if i let it. i know that God is fully able and willing to put us exactly where He wants us.

honestly, the number of bathrooms or square feet in a house don't really matter. in the states we like to think they matter. they don't. we are not suffering for Jesus. we are really so blessed and have not one complaint against the Lord or how He has provided for us so faithfully the past 6 years of living on missionary support. we really don't have one complaint of provision our whole lives; even in the very tightest financial times i can look back and see His abundant faithfulness.

when i pray about finding a house or ask the Lord what He would have me do right now in the middle of the search, i just feel Him whispering to my soul to give thanks for all that He has already given me. as i start naming things out loud, one by one, and each thanks makes me think of another and another, that is when i really start having true faith. giving thanks causes me to remember how faithful my God is and how it doesn't really matter what size house i live in. that isn't really the point of life anyways. i am not going to look back and say, "gosh, life would have been just so much better with that 2nd bathroom." i am going to look back and have fond memories of this time and marvel at the Lord's faithfulness through it all.

so let me share just some of the ways i am thankful for this wonderful home God has already given us:

1. we have never missed a mortgage payment in 11 years of owning our home. this is not to boast in ourselves, as we have lived on missions support more than half that time with much of our income fluctuating every single month. it is fully God who has made a way every single month to pay our mortgage, even when it looked like there was no way it would work. He is amazing.

2. the walls of my home are colorful and i love color. i give thanks for this all the time because when we rent i may not get to choose the colors of my wall.

3. i have brought all 6 of my kids home from the hospital to this house. that means so much - it is where i became a mom and where i have grown into that role. this little house holds all of my parenting memories - the painfully hard, the hysterically funny, the preciously sweet... all a beautifully woven fabric that has made up my last 11 years of life.

4. i have learned how to live simply in this home. having 8 people in a small space means i continually go through things and decide if it is something i really want to keep. it keeps me from spending money on things that might tempt me if i had room for them. it has taught me the value of continual downsizing.

5. it really is a home more than a house. we have had many people over for coffee or a meal. we have had late night counseling sessions with couples in our living room. we have had single guys who have slept on our couch for months at a time in different stages. we somehow once crammed a christmas party of 50 (adults and kids combined) into these walls. we have had many a stay home date night in our living room after putting the kids to bed. we have had really good times here and i have loved living in this house.

6. my kids have played hours and hours in our backyard. we have such a great backyard - the perfect place for boys to explore and play. i feel safe letting my kids have time to just be kids outside.

7. we have two huge trees that completely shade our house and give us fantastically low utility bills in a city where summers are very hot! our thermostat is normally lower than almost all of our friends and our family, while our electric bill is always lower. our kids have played hours and hours outside happily, even in the hottest parts of summer, because of the shade from these trees. what a blessing with 5 little boys who would otherwise go stir crazy indoors.

8. we have a perfect block to walk laps on. i have walked and walked and walked each of my 6 pregnancies around this block. i have met many neighbors that way (who, by the way must think i am eternally pregnant!). i have cried many tears, prayed many prayers, felt many labor pains, heard the comforting voice of God many times walking this very block. my heart has come alive walking this block in this small older neighborhood. i am so thankful for it.

9. i love our wood floors. searching the rental market i am realizing there are a lot of flooring options out there that i don't love as much as the original 1950's hardwood floors i have right now.

10. we own our home! i don't want to take for granted what a privilege it is that so many people haven't had. so what if it is small - it is ours!

those are just a few thanks that i have about the house God has already provided for us. i do continue to pray that He opens up a bigger house for our family, but I want it to be His timing and not necessarily mine. i want to be a child who trusts my Daddy knows exactly what i need and when i need it, not a demanding brat who doesn't know Him enough to wait on His perfect loving leadership. i think that i have really good ideas for my life, but the course He sets before me is trustworthy and will prove to be so much better for me than my very best ideas.

as my son spontaneously prayed last night, "thank you Lord that you have provided the money for our beautiful house that we live in right now." we pray as a family all the time for a new house, but on his own he felt the need to give thanks for what God has already given us. he didn't even know this was stirring in my heart to write. i love how God confirms His word.
the mind of man plans his way, 
but the Lord directs his steps.
proverbs 16:7

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Thursday, October 9, 2014

day 9: the gift of solitude



i am a mom of six kids and i home school. my husband and i run a small ministry in town. my boys play soccer and have a full schedule of practices and games (and are really good!). i have a lot of family who live in town that i am blessed to spend regular time with. i am also very much an extrovert. back in college we did the myers-briggs test during a leadership training and my results were enfp. our leadership director told me that in all of his years working with college-aged leaders and giving this test, he had never seen anyone with results as extremely enfp as mine. most people are some where on the spectrum of each characteristic, but i was extremely each one of mine. for the category of extrovert or introvert, i was all the way on the extrovert side.

i say all this to give context for what i am thankful for today - i am thankful for alone time.

as an extreme extrovert, i really enjoy being around people. (good thing since i am around 6 little kids 24/7!) but i still need the occasional alone time, and i am not very good at recognizing my need to be alone because i don't actually like to be alone. however, when i do get a chance to be alone, even if i spin my wheels the whole time wondering what to do with myself, i am re-energized and enjoy my time with others even more than before afterwards.

when i was young my mom used to put me in my room for a "nap." during this nap time i would often sit in the dark of my room and play with my stuffed animals making up a whole world for them. other times i would  prop the black out blind against my bed frame just so, so that light came onto a corner of my bed and i could lay there and look at books and read. i used to think my mom didn't know i was awake in there. i later found out that she knew i wasn't asleep but was just giving me some alone time, since i tended to get overstimulated by constant activity (even when i was enjoying it).

my husband seems to recognize the same dynamic and has encouraged me to take time to be alone when he can be with the kids and have life carry on without me. when i decided to start homeschooling he volunteered to teach one morning a week, so i could sneak away to the closest coffee shop and read or journal or just people watch while i drank a hot cup of coffee in peace. so many times i really don't think that i need the time that is just for me, but after the time i realize that i just heard myself think for the first time since the last time i sat down alone! i don't get to do it every week, but i find the weeks that i don't take time alone, i surprise myself and start to miss it. i think it somewhat funny that my alone time is in a crowded coffee shop surrounded by people rather than in complete solitude. i guess that is just how i roll - alone with other people around.

i hear so many people telling moms of young children how they need to make sure to take care of themselves and their own needs so they can be better wives and moms. for a long time i just thought that to sound selfish (just being honest). but after 10 1/2 years straight of nursing a baby (a year and a half of that nursing two), and almost 6 years of being pregnant... i am realizing that it really is a gift to have a few moments to regroup without a constant audience of children. it really can help a mom be more serving, unselfish, and present with her family. at this point i would encourage all moms, especially those with young kids who tend to be very needy physically and emotionally, to take time to just be by yourself. it doesn't have to look any certain way or even be very often. regardless of your personality, i believe it will refresh you to love deeper and serve more willingly.

i am so thankful for a husband who can see my need before i do, and that he has given me the opportunity to have space. so often it takes me a while when i am alone to even figure out what i want to do with my time, but that is the beauty of it - it is my time. no one is demanding anything of this little window of time and it is completely my choice how i spend it.


do you get time to be alone? how has it benefited you? if you don't, how do you think it might benefit you if you did start spending time alone once in a while?

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

day 8: a list of thanks

i am thankful for...

 creative ideas for dinner that turn out to be a hit.

early bedtimes when we are all sniffling.

raw milk fresh from the farm.

singing worship songs as a family.

a husband who is willing to try to fix all the little projects on our older house.

not having to wake super early to drive kids to school, but the ability to sleep a little longer while teaching them at home.

our cute little house - it may be small, but it is a good home.

open windows with the cooler temps at night.


what are you thankful for today?

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

day 7: giving thanks is a choice



today is a reminder of why i am doing this writing challenge on thanks. i feel as if i have nothing to say, i am so utterly drained and apathetic. however, i want my heart vibrant and alive! i want to give thanks to God in all things - to recognize and appreciate His activity in every part of my life.

so right now i am thankful that there is new strength for each new day. i am thankful that my emotions are not my boss and that they do change. i am thankful that writing when i don't feel like it will bear fruit that i can't see right now. i am thankful that i don't have to always feel inspired or be inspiring.

i am thankful for silly little things like bright pink nail polish on my fingers and a hot cup of tea next to my side. i am thankful for this day that God has given me, even when my emotions don't line up and i have to choose to be present.

giving thanks is a choice. it doesn't always overflow naturally. but i am hoping that the more i give thanks, the more naturally it will overflow on the days i am not feeling it. even moreso, i am hoping that the more i give thanks, the more my feelings will follow.

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Monday, October 6, 2014

day 6: You have not forsaken me

we have been s.l.o.w.l.y. been memorizing the psalms with our boys. we just finished learning psalm 23. my 2 year old is adorable trying to say psalm "tweney-free," (and he knows almost every word), but that is a whole different story for a different time. right now, i am thinking about how thankful i am that He is my shepherd. 

while teaching them the different words of the psalm, certain parts of it jumped out at me like i was hearing them for the first time. 

for one, it really hit me that "He restores my soul." my soul needs to be encouraged and restored so often, and i can really say that He is faithful to do just that. i have been praying lately, "Lord, i need you to restore my soul right now because i am having a really hard time and my emotions feel out of control." it is so comforting to know that He will do just that because that is one of the ways He leads me as a Good Shepherd.

the other part that really got me was that He never promised that we wouldn't have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. i have heard many preachers say that it is only a shadow, somehow meaning that we won't really have to deal with the death part. but that isn't quite the way it is, at least in my experience. i have had to walk through a lot of the death part and it is painful and sometimes confusing. but i have this beautiful promise that really does comfort me: i don't have to fear any evil because He really is with me. through the hardest darkest times, He is with me. He never leaves me. He never forsakes me. He is a Good Shepherd and He cares for me so much that He won't leave me to go through it alone. 

it may a really intense journey at times for all of us, but He will never let us be consumed. He is good like that - when we can't seem to carry on ourselves, He carries us. i really believe it.
keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." hebrews 13:5
this song by amanda cook is super encouraging. if you can, take a couple minutes to listen to it and let me know what you think. i was there right there on the far right side in the crowd when it was recorded and tears were streaming down my face. it was exactly the reminder that i needed to hear.



charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Sunday, October 5, 2014

day 5: my inadequate words to describe being a mama



i am so thankful to be a mama. each of my babies have won my heart so fully and deeply. there is nothing like it - i wish i had the right words to give an adequate description. i think pretty much any words i tried to use would fall short.

it is such a tiring job. it is the hardest job in the world and so many times i doubt my ability to do it well. i know i mess up a lot. i know that it is not in my own strength that i can even get through one day, but by His grace alone.

these sweet looks from my babies... this is when i think, wow, what a gift i have been given! my heart has expanded to be able to love far more than i could have ever imagined if someone had tried to tell me before it happened. i never thought so much unselfish love could come out of my heart - no, i am not perfect and still struggle with wanting to look out for myself first. i wish i knew how to write the heights of joy i have experienced and the depth of fear and pain as well. it is just so humbling that God would allow me to steward these little lives.

no matter how hard it is at times, no matter how much motherhood has cost, and no matter much it has exposed my weakness, it is totally indescribable to say how thankful i am for my 6 treasures.


charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Saturday, October 4, 2014

day 4: the moments of my offline life

i am thankful for all the life that i get to live far away from this computer screen, so full and so exhausting at the end of the day, that will someday be lovely memories i replay over and over again -

time teaching my kids math, explaining concepts and watching their eyes light up when they get it...

time spent in the prayer room watching children worship and dance and play and pray...

time spent nursing my sweet baby girl marveling at this amazing kiss of kindness from God...

time spent running to the store for soccer game snacks and last minute gifts for a kid's birthday party...

time spent in the heat with friends and their children at a big birthday party, visiting, sweating, and watching our kids have a great time playing and laughing and eating cake...

time sitting under the lights on a friday night watching my boys play soccer, yelling at the top of my lungs cheering them on, watching my #1 son score the only goal leading their team to victory...

time looking at the breath-taking pink, violet, and gold sunset with purple mountains reminding me why i love living where i live; maybe i should have taken a picture to post, but instead i took one with my mind to hold in my memory banks...

time falling tired into bed, wanting to read just one short blog post, but eyelids falling heavy beckoning me to a place of dreams.

charis

want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

 photo 31daysofthanksbutton_zpsecacaf4e.jpg


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...