Sunday, November 22, 2015

G.I.G.-Day 21

  I don't really know what is going on, but I do not doubt that the Lord placed it on my heart to do this gratitude challenge in a month where He knew there was going to be a whole lot going on. So far, my paternal grandmother has passed away, my niece has been hospitalized for a host of life-threatening issues, my town was hit by a windstorm that squashed decades-long records for power outages, and my maternal grandmother found out she has more cancer, after recent enduring chemo and radiation for brain cancer. And that's just the "big" stuff. Today, that same grandmother had to be rushed to the hospital with a very high fever, and we still aren't sure what is going on. It's hitting me pretty hard, and I am really learning to give thanks in all circumstances, trial by fire edition, if you know what I'm saying?

   And surprisingly (or maybe not so much so, if you are saved), in the midst of all that there *are* things for which to be thankful! I haven't really listed too many "big" things-and there is a reason for that: it is easy to give thanks for those usually. If you ask children, they can list those. But I think that true gratitude encompasses EVERYTHING, both things large and small. And I think that by choosing to focus on the not-so-obvious, which I kind of have to in the process of listing over 400 things this month, it hits on exactly what I wanted. I wanted to be a more conscious observer of all the great things in my life, to realize that in each and every situation there are things that not only should I say, "thanks" for, there are things which I *must* surrender praise to only the Lord for, as He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. No matter the size.

 So onto my list for today...
I am thankful that:

1. We had such generous donations towards Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. It is so fun to see what people were inspired to give.

2. They are all signed, sealed and delivered. At least on our end! It was quite the process to sort, label and get 37 shoeboxes to the donation site, but we did it! My organized aunt was planning on helping me, but since she needed to be with my grandmother, Kelly came to my rescue.

3. There are 37 children that we are showing the love of Christ to, in ways both tangible and intangible. If you doubt that these boxes are physical expressions of the Gospel, you need to go check out OCC's website.

4. We can be a small part of a big effort. There are hundreds of thousands of boxes delivered every year. We are a drop in the bucket-but all those drops together are creating mighty ocean waves. Being part of that is humbling.

5. The Gospel is for everyone. Rich or poor, near or far, old or young. God is so good...

6. Tomorrow is uncertain, but there is no need to worry. It is almost impossible at times not to worry. My grandmother is ill, my husband is not getting a paycheck, my future seems unclear. But I do NOT have to worry. I can choose to have faith and know the Lord is in control. It seems a pity that I only get to list this once, as I could certainly use the reminder every day.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

7. I do not have to lose hope. There is always hope-He is called Jesus.

8. I am being renewed day by day. Just like the manna the Israelites received, I get enough every day for each day. Never too little, never too much, but I don't have to worry about provision.

9.This is all just momentary. In the light of eternity, all our troubles are "light and momentary". Even when they seem heavy and eternal, they aren't.

10. We can fix our eyes on the unseen. It doesn't make sense, in human terms. But taken by faith, it makes more sense than anything in the world.

11. What is seen is temporary. Oh! I am sooo thankful that this isn't all there is. So, very, very, thankful.
12. What is unseen is eternal. That the most glorious things of all are most definitely ahead of me. That the very best, most perfect time in my life isn't in this life.

13. Scripture makes me cry. Almost without fail. And I am thankful for that because I am not a big "cry-er". If I am moved, it is pretty significant. And I am glad that the Word is one of those things.

14. I can be sad. Jesus was, and since He was perfect, I know that it isn't sinful. I can tell Jesus about my sorrow and He can give me peace. It might seem weird to be thankful for what most consider a negative emotion, but I see it as part of the humanity that allows us to not only understand each other, but recognize how badly we need salvation.

15. I have people with which to share my sorrows. Grief is bearable when borne together.

16. It won't last forever. See #9.

17. Most of my family are believers. Oh, how sweet it is to claim these promises and share these burdens together.

18. Every cloud has silver lining. But only for those who are in Christ Jesus. Without Him, there aren't even any clouds, only darkness. But for a believer, "all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord...". (Romans 8:28)

19. Hymns. My mind is constantly flooded with Scripture, and that frequently brings old, familiar, comforting hymns to mind. It is so lovely... "'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus...just to take Him at His Word, just to rest upon His promise...just to know, "Thus saith the Lord." Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I've proved Him o'er and o'er, Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! Oh for grace, to trust Him more..." How can that not make you feel better?

20. I can sing. I didn't say well, or in public, but for a voice, and a little tune, even if it is only for myself and the Lord.

21. There are always miracles. I've seen them. And whether or not any of these situations that I'm experiencing today, or in the future, merits one I cannot say. But I am grateful for them just the same.

I know you are humming a hymn now. What are you singing? Is it a song of thanks?

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