I am not sure where or who taught Dottie and me to not wish away a current time in our lives. It could have been when our children were little and as her Mom shared with us “the hours of the day now crawl, but the years will fly by”. Or was it when we moved from the “physically tiring” stage of life into the “emotionally exhausting” time of having teenagers? 😀 We have all had them haven’t we? Think about time or times where you couldn’t help but say, “once we get through this or that trial or ideal, things will be much better?” If you are like me, several come immediately to mind; including my bout with Guillain Barre and now 9 months of Covid19. So, As we enter into the last couple weeks of Advent, remember the waiting is to be intentional. A time to reflect and prepare ourselves for what God wants to do with us through His son Jesus.
Christmas reminds us we have a loving Father and a wonderful counselor who wants the very best for us. It doesn’t start tomorrow or in the future, it starts right now. We have a choice, every day, to give him thanks. And with a heart of thanksgiving, we realize that no matter what we face, God doesn’t just work to change our situations and help us through our problems. He does more. He teaches us in those moments to prepare us for what lies ahead. He changes our hearts so that we might become better. This 3rd Sunday of #Advent2020, take time to stop, wait patiently, and expectantly to celebrate the tiny baby who God allowed to change the world. May we prepare our hearts so that we receive Him in love and then go out to serve with hearts full of compassion. This is a time to reflect on the fact that the Mighty God and Prince of Peace has that same compassion for us. How do we not miss out on what God wants for us right now? Try not waiting 364 days each year for Christmas or Thanksgiving to say thanks and give gifts. Instead, have a thankful heart and the Christmas spirit every day so that you have no regret on how you spent a season no matter what came your way. After all as Eleanor Roosevelt so aptly put it, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift..That is why it is called the Present.”
During this Advent Season, as you wait, work on Making your Present Perfect by keeping God in every moment of your day.
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It has taken me awhile to figure out what I wanted to post this week. I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have the desire to sit down and write. Many thoughts and topics crossed my mind but for different reasons, I ruled them out. It finally dawned on me a couple days ago that I was having a hard time being thankful. How can one post on a blog about being thankful in all things when you don’t feel thankful? Gratefully, I came across this devotional thought from my friend Tom. “One of my “Thanks” this year is finding my Joy in God. ” The joy of the Lord is my strength,” Neh 8:10. This crisis makes me go deeper into my relationship with the Lord, and the deeper I go the more thankful I am for him. This trial has me seeking him constantly, where he becomes, “my joy and my delight.” Ps 43:4. My friend’s words stopped me from focusing on the sadness of knowing there would not be 35 family and friends (pictured below) packed around tables for Thanksgiving. It provided another lesson learned that adversity makes me lean in and go deeper in the trust I have for the One who created and wants only the best for me. Proverbs 23:18 reinforces this affirmation by saying, “Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”
If that wasn’t enough, Facebook reminded me of a prayer I wrote last Thanksgiving. My Thanksgiving poem-
Gratitude for which I strive
Instead of stress eating me alive
The world wants us to never be content
Achieving much, asking what’s next.
So on this another Thanksgiving Day
Lord I ask that my heart does stay
Focused on you and all that You give
Abundance abounds and in that thought I’ll live
So my encouragement to you is this simple exercise. Stop focusing on what you don’t have, where you can’t go, or who you can’t visit. Instead, take the time to look around you and take in all the abundance you have in your life. Once you have gotten yourself refocused with an attitude of gratitude, find some ways to bring thankfulness into others’ lives knowing this season will indeed pass and another Thanksgiving will be here before we know it. I can’t wait to celebrate it with the folks pictured below 😀
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There is so much tension in the world these days. It comes from so many directions. Stop for a moment and think. Maybe even find a piece of paper. Write down from where the tension in your life is originating. I think you will be surprised by how many things come to mind. It may explain why you are feeling tired and discouraged. Think about your computer or smart phone. Throughout the day, you are opening different apps and websites. With each one that is opened, the battery starts to run down and the system starts to get sluggish. We need to regularly go in and clear the cache, close the apps and websites. We also need to plug it in so it can recharge. So it goes with our brain and nervous system. Look back at your list. So many things are flying through your brain that you forget or aren’t able to shut down. They unconsciously weigh you down and tire you out. The question is how do we acknowledge and deal with the tensions so that our mind can find time to relax? We also need to figure out the best ways to allow ourselves to recharge so that we can venture out with a mindset of wanting to make a positive difference in the world. It reminds me of an earlier blog post linked here. http://thankfulinallthings.com/to-what-are-you-tethered/ It is so important to venture out knowing we have a way to get back.
Why is acknowledging tension, fatigue, and discouragement important? There are many reasons but the one I want to focus on is how it impacts how we love our neighbor. I am generally a pretty even keeled, slow to anger person. When I look back at why I lash out or find myself being short with someone, I realize it is because I am tired or some other stress triggers it. Therefore, I have found setting reminders so I stop throughout the day to defrag and clear out the stress that has come my way, helps me in dealing with others. It also makes sure I get a good night sleep so I can be recharged for tomorrow. How do I know this will work?
I trust in the Lord and obey Him even if friends choose a different path or when suffering or discomfort is guaranteed. Seeing His will done is more important than my own comfort or personal ambition. I commit the consequences to God and cling to His promises: He will never leave us (Heb. 13:5), and He makes good out of every situation (Rom. 8:28). I can cling to these promises because I can look back and see where God was present in my adversity and His good was evident even when I didn’t see it at the time.
I read a book years ago called Travelling Light. With the Twenty-third Psalm as his guide, the author writes about burdens we were never intended to bear. Using these verses as a guide, Max Lucado walks us through a helpful inventory of our burdens. May God use this Psalm to remind you to release the burdens you were never meant to bear. Yes, fellow Weary travelers, we are called to rest and lay our burdens down. As Matthew 11:28-30 instructs, “ “Come to Jesus, all you who are weary and burdened, and He will give you rest. Take His yoke upon you and learn from Him. You will find Him gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”
Take the time to Be still friends and know that God is with you and wants to replace all of your anxiety, fears, and stress with His peace that “surpasses all human understanding.” If you find these posts helpful, please subscribe to the blog so you can be notified when new content is posted. You can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org