Choosing gratitude in brokenness is not easy. It requires sacrifice of self, of self-righteousness, of pride. It might necessitate apology and forgiveness and humility. There is an element (a rather large element) of trusting that God is present, even in this, even if He seems invisible.
He promises that if we put our trust in Him, He will never leave or forsake us.
Today I hold to that promise
I hold to Him
I choose gratitude
Today is the first day of school for the girls. Our youngest was a little nervous, but walked through it step by step, and into the doors of high school. Our oldest is a trooper, and so kind to offer a seat at lunch, if needed, to her sister and friends.
It is strange to know that really, we are this close to the end of their schooling. Weren't they just starting first grade? Riding the bus, getting new backpacks that were smaller, lighter, just enough to carry some papers that had colors or letters or numbers to practice...
Now their packs have to be large enough to accommodate text books, and binders, and notebooks. (And do we need to find a chiropractor to fix the curve in their spine from carrying all of these?)
Time certainly keeps marching forward, though some days it feels like a sprint...
As we wind our way through this year, there will be new things to learn, and things to review. There will be beginnings and endings, good and bad, trials and celebrations.
We hold to love, faith, and each other as we work through difficulties, and as we rejoice in accomplishments. We know the One who holds us all in His hand, and we are grateful to Him for His blessings, mercy, grace and love.
As we approach Sunday, and the next step you take in your faith walk, I think of Joshua and how he listened to God. How he trusted and obeyed with strength and courage from God. As they crossed the Jordan on dry land, God told him to take twelve stones as a testimony...
And I think of you as you prepare your testimony. The account of the things God has done and continues to do in, around and through you. I think of how you have learned to trust in the midst of trials, in the valley of difficult friendships, and the daily struggles of just being human. And I thank God that He is watching over you, carrying you and teaching you so many things.
Remember the work here isn't finished. We are all still "works in progress."
We begin as empty shells, filled with wants and needs and sin - yes, sin. That dirty rotten side of us that seeks out our own desires, that makes us think and say and do things that hurt others.
But God knows this. Before we were born, He knew who we were going to be. How we were going to be, and He loved us.
You have chosen to follow Him. You are seeking His heart and His will and His way. You have accepted His truth and His gift.
And you choose to bloom and follow Him even when everything around you seems dead and different and hard.
I pray you continue in His light, letting it shine through you and into the world that so desperately needs it. Let His Holy Spirit continue to lead. Be sure to stay tuned to His voice.
When you feel stuck and alone, and maybe, like you are going the wrong direction in a sea filled with so many options...trust your Heavenly Father. Trust that He loves you, has created you with a purpose, that He is always with you, and He is your helper.
Watch for Him in everything, be grateful for His blessings and remember His promises. He is faithful, true, and mighty to save.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Keep gathering these stones, and remember God's faithfulness. Keep recalling them to those around you who will listen, to those who may need encouragement and reminders of what God can do and is doing.
Sipping my iced coffee, thinking about my melancholy state, got me to thinking...
Half empty or half full? How am I viewing this time of year, this change of seasons?
The girls will both be in high school next year, and in some ways that makes me feel old. Where has the time gone? Have I done enough? Will they be happy and healthy and productive?
They don't seem to need me, really...
They both seem to be running in different directions with their friends.
Granted, this is what I want for them as a parent. I want to know they can be independent and social. I want to know that they have friendships and responsibilities. There is a measure of comfort knowing that they will be self-sufficient and able to get things done.
There is still teaching to be done and lessons to be learned, but they seem to be on a good path. I pray they continue to grow in knowledge and wisdom and truth. I pray they learn to love the Lord more deeply, and follow Him all of their days.
So, I ask myself again, half empty or half full?
How do I see these days? "This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24