Looking at it, I considered the thought deeper. I hadn’t been giving a lot of thanks lately. Mostly just gripes to God about people, timelines and the endless cause of trying to keep my house clean. In reality, I’d forgotten about thanks.
So when I considered which of the mugs to give away, it was hardly shocking that I nearly heard God say, “Kelly, thanks is made to be given away.”
Here, a mug short, I picked up the “Give Thanks,” mug. I would give it away with a heart of thanks. . .
…for, thanks is meant to be given away.
And this is the heart of hospitality. You give because you are thankful. You receive and say thank you.
So when the ladies came to my house for the event (I told you all a couple of weeks ago, that I was completely nervous about) and they selected little mugs to take home, I nearly kissed my favorite mug goodbye. Except. . . I didn’t.
When the event was over, the mug still remained on my counter. After texting the group to ask who left it, I got no response. So what I gave away in thanks, I kept.
What we give away to God, in thanks, we also keep…
We keep a smile on our face when we think of that precious moment of joy.
We keep a memory of a moment that we will treasure forever.
We keep a belief that God really will come through.
We keep a hope that God really can do the miraculous time and time again.
We keep a heart that is willing to change because God’s results are great.
We keep a fresh perspective on how much we have.
We give: thanks. We keep: everything. God doesn’t take away our cup; He fills it.
I have got so much to do and I don’t know how I can ever take care of everything because there is not enough time in the day plus I can’t even begin to get on top of that laundry and the family needs clothes and I wish I was a better organizer…it seems everyone else has buckets and labels for all the things they have so that everyone knows where things are located…and I can’t seem to keep track of where the scissors went…plus I am hardly making dinners, most nights it is quick-eats, not gourmet dinners and I need to get my kids more nutrients because they need to have strong bones and I really should be taking my daily vitamins but I am not even doing that and what if when I get old my bones crack in half and I am hunched over and have to spend the rest of my life sitting in a lawn chair or strapped to a recliner…
“Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs.” Lu. 12:29
God knows our needs.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.” Lu. 12:30
Seeking the Kingdom first = Getting everything you need.
Letting go of the mind-rubbish consuming you to let God’s plans consume you = Getting everything you need.
Seeing the world as God’s drawing board and you as the paintbrush = Getting everything you need.
Getting love loosened from you and into the world = Getting everything you need.
Keeping your eyes on the kingdom of God, versus the kingdom of your every-waking-need= Getting everything you need.
Being watchful through prayer and diligently pursuing God = Getting everything you need.
God knows what we need. He has a good plan to give it to us. We need not worry about our fiefdom; it is all about His kingdom.
I am annoyed one way or another, yet seeking more.
I am discouraged by people, circumstances or problems and attempting to see things through new light.
I am thrown off, but working my way back to God.
Many days, I’ve used this blog as a counseling session. I like it this way: I come with issues – God comes with strength. I come weak – the Lord comes strong enough to change me. I come needy, he comes increasingly ready to feed me.
This is our power, coming weak. This is our life change, coming needy. This is our faith, being reliant.
God answers this approach.
But, I don’t want you to ever think, not for a moment, that I am not entirely thankful. You see, my posture of leaning on him, almost always, helps me discover how he holds me up. It reminds me that, every time, he is faithful. It helps me see that through every bump in the road, He’s the shocks softening the jolting impact of life. He smooths my ride.
I call. He answers as I keep seeking.
I cry. He catches my tears when I focus my mind on him.
I am in pain. He understands and draws near as I pursue his Word.
I need. As I wait (which sometimes feels like forever), He faithfully and, in his timing, rushes in.
He’ll do the same for you.
What kind of grief do you need to lean up against him to know he is strong enough to hold it?
The counselor waits.
Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
Maybe, like me, you’ll come out from an eating disorder, depression, financial trials, huge health issues or relational problems, thankful, in awe, and amazed at what he just saved you from – if you’ll just turn in.
Before you know it, He’ll work: soften your edges, sand off your rough spots, make space for his movement. Love and peace will come busting into your heart.
I’ve found this, after day-in-and-day-out writing on this blog…
I see God’s goodness in the land of my living grief, fear and guilt – when I run after it – hard.
What all seemed impossible, turned possible. We have the ability to reach God’s transcendent, his abundance. He loves us.
All this is the source of thanksgiving. As God enters the nitty gritty, the down and dirty of your life, you can’t help but lift your arms, lift your voice and give a good shout out to his character.
Today, I am thankful. What might you need to offer to God, knowing that soon enough, by faith, you’ll be giving thanks to God?
You do things.
You get me coffee.
You clean the pans that have scum left from the night before.
You give me time to execute my dreams.
You love your kids.
You give them your best.
You think about how I am feeling.
You encourage me in my dreams.
You tell me I can.
You show me you care.
You make sacrifices and time.
You give me the best Apple computer a writer could ever want.
You think about what I will delight over…
…all while being daddy of two, leader of home and strong at work.
If there is one thing a woman wants, besides God, chocolate and new clothes – it is a man that loves her. I have that in you. You are mine and I am yours. When I see you, I see Jesus.
If there is one thing a kid wants, besides candy and toys – it is a daddy who cares.
You make breakfast a coveted affair.
You lug them around on your shoulders.
You tackle and toss and take your kids places they have always wanted to go.
You laugh and dance and fuss over little things.
You bring little gifts home from work.
You make time for stories.
You pray morning and night over things that count.
You take them on new adventures.
You do breakfast tours in new cities.
You make your minutes count.
And what I know is all these small moves of love, will end up as giant leaps of the heart kind. They will know significance. Believe in it. They will know belonging. And rely on it.
They will know they can because daddy always believed they could.
They will believe Father Daddy will carry them because you did.
They will know Jesus because you reflected him.
She will find a good man because you are good man.
They will remember. They will remember the “You are courageous” comments. They will remember the “Don’t give up,” words. They will remember the, “Spin for me” requests. She will remember the, “You are beautifuls.”
You are sowing security. You are making it the fabric of our family, the knitting of our future. It counts. It will reap rewards.
We cheer you today, daddy. You are a man doing well. Working hard. Giving your all. We applaud your generosity, your heart and your passion – for us.
Wifey and Kids
P.S. From your little boy: Daddy, I love you, daddy. You are strong. My heart feels glad to be with you, daddy.
P.S.S. From, your even littler girl: Daddy, you make me feel happy.
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The poor thing, she had been up all night hacking.
I shut my door.
“I can’t sleep if all I hear – is her,” I thought.
I wasn’t trying to be cruel, but, we all know how mothers end up when sleep gets lost. They turn ugly, mean and tense. I hate being that lady; I get mad at that lady. Anything not to be – that lady.
Hours later, the barks still ensued. Then, an internal battle ensued – do I get up or do I not get up? My mind wrestled: If I get up, I will never get back down. I will never fall back to sweet and delicious sleep again – I know how this game goes.
I climbed out of bed, checked the clock, stubbed my toe and headed to the medicine cabinet. It was the unseen hour that called for more medicine. Moms don’t give up.
Begrudgingly, I kicked open the door, my mind half out of its own mind. I stumbled in, expecting to drop the junk down her throat and stumble out. But, what happened next woke me. It jolted me like coffee.
From her helpless position, she looked, and said, “Thank you, mommy.”
My heart nearly dropped to the floor. Wow. She sees. She knows. She appreciates.
I felt loved.
I felt adored.
I felt alive. I would have gotten up a thousand more times, every single night (well, maybe), just to hear that sweet honey come off her lips.
Do I show God he matters like that?I wonder. I doubt it.
Guilt hits. Then, love arrives. God doesn’t need me to know he matters; but, I need him to know I matter. And, maybe this is the point. It’s probably far less about what he gets from these words and far more about how I feel when I speak these words. It is far more about me seeing the rescues, the panaceas and the answers that arrive out of nowhere. It is far more about me realizing how loved I am and how far out of his way he would go to help me.
Now I see: The small whisper of thank you is the moment you realize you’re daughter– and you’re really cared for.
It is the moment that you realize God would do anything to love you.
It is the joy that comes from receiving instead of striving.
It is the power that unfolds from heaven right in your lap.
It is the realization that kingdom come will come because God gives good things.
It is the inclination to bow down and see how tall God really stands over the world.
It is looking at the might that has might – and acknowledging it.
It is the strong hold of one stronger – that has the power to take hold over your life.
It is you not being you, as you normally are, but being you – with gratefulness.
It is the uncovering of the jewels you never knew existed.
It is the unwavering trust that he will do it again.
It is seeing him as he is – good.
Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Ps. 106:1
Thanks gives legs to greater faith, for it believes in the one who gives – and will give. The giver is daddy. He pours out every time. And in the process, as we trust this, we are changed. We become little balls bursting with humility, dipped in his love, coming out covered in good. We become sweetened by grace and full of excitement about who we are becoming.
Thanks is anticipation of God’s faithfulness. It, frankly, is delicious.
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My prayers kind of remind myself of a puppy pining from next to a table. I kind of look up all puppy-dog eyed and beg for scraps.
It looks like this:
Day 1: “Please God. Help me God. Do this thing_________________!”
Day 2: “Please God. Help me God. Do this thing_________________!”
Day 3: “Please God. Help me God. Do this thing_________________!”
Day 4: “I really need this. I need it right now… “Hey God, maybe you don’t really want to do it, but please do it anyway.”
Day 5: “God, do you hear me? I need it….” I wonder, does God really hear me and love me?
Day 6: Silence. I say nothing. What is the use?!
Day 7: I give up hope in praying.
The more I beg and get fed, the more I keep up the begging, but if the master doesn’t hand me any good food, I start wondering why I am forgotten. I start wondering why I am next to his table when he can’t even see me.
I start asking, “What is the use?”
A wound sets in and I keep licking it… No answers. And deeper it burns. Roadblocks. The more it stings. Discouraged faith. The infection sets in.
After walking around like this for a while, I am coming to think: Sometimes, God lets our wounds sit wounded, so that we can see how wounded we are without a right view of him.
Clarity sets in: I really feel abandoned. A new prayer takes form: Let me see your love. God’s prompting arises: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer an supplication to God, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses understanding will guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7)
Answers appear:You may be praying, but you are hardly thanking.
In an instant, what feels broken suddenly gets mending, because what I remember is God is always working. He doesn’t have to speak, or appear or provide some emotional answer, but as I pray he is working.
Why else would he tell us to thank him when we pray. For when we ask, he then takes it on. We can at that point thank him for what he is working out.
Will it always look like we expect? No.
Will it tend to end up better than that? Quite often.
Will we end up looking more and more like Christ? Yes.
And that is worth giving thanks over.
Thanks that sounds like this:
Thank you that you hear me God.
Thank you God that this is now in your hands and you have it.
Thank you God that you are for me.
Thank you God that you know best.
Thank you God that you will never desert me to my destruction-ending plans.
Thank you God that you are always leading me to the better way.
Thank you God that you have a Christ-like vision for my heart.
Thank You God that everyday I can trust that you see me and want me.
How might your perspective change if you just said thanks?
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Sometimes I’ve had a not-so-fun day at home with my kids. When my husband walks in and asks about our day, I let it all roll out. And what rolls out is a list of complaints, how everything went horribly for me. “I had to deal with ____ and take care of ____ and then they ____ and so I had to ____.”
As I recount the day’s battles, I sink deeper and deeper into my desire to just call it a day and go to bed, in hopes that I’ll wake tomorrow, having forgotten it all. In hopes that tomorrow, everything will be different.
When things are hard, I’m far more aware of my hardships than my treasures.
My hard days are not the whole story of my life, but I start to feel like they are. And I sink lower, because of my awful perspective.
When I saw it, I immediately knew something was wrong.
The A, B, Cs where there. I was anxious, burdened and out-of-control as I cast my eyes on what was asymmetrical, border-weird and color not-normal.
My days of laughs in the sun,
felt like they were being exchanged for tears at the mirror
as I looked at my back from every angle known by man.
The possibility of cancer, the pain of removal and the fear how long it had been there swung like a wrecking ball in my chest. Whatever was resurrected for Jesus, was all broken today.
Have you ever noticed that, a heart that dwells on the looming possibilities of fear,
tumbles down the great possibilities of God?
It’s a pack-up-your bags, furious move from residing under the shadow of God’s wing to living in a battle-soaked village of doom and gloom.
The more I looked at that mole, the more I knew I had to do something. So, I picked at it. Then, I started to rub. With no progress, I grabbed the great tool of exfoliating cream and dug into it.
This thing was coming off!
I rubbed some more…
Until all that remained was the bloodied marker of all that was threatening me
and an open sore filled with discouragement and embarrassment.
That’s how it is with worry, isn’t it?
The more we move the chair of our thoughts back and forth over that same spot,
the more we dig deep tracks of distrust into our heart.
We rub, and rub and rub – the same spot.
The more we dig deep these tracks of distrust, the more we follow these ill-conceived tracks to illogical solutions.
We rub with exfoliating cream.
We ruin the floor of our faith with the imaginations of our future. We take action to things only God had the best action for. What ruminates in our mind, dominates in our life.
Then we ask:
God, where are you? God, why did you let this happen? God, do you not care? God, are you going to let _____ happen?
It’s like we allow our all-powerful problems
convict our seemingly low-power god –
a god who is entirely lacking in the love department.
We get squinty-eyed at the one who loves us most. We do what we don’t want to do.
God, return my heart and my presence back to you. I am sorry.
Confession is the flashlight to clarity.
Worry doesn’t stop what destroys, it just steals joy.
Worry self-centers us. People, needs and ministry move to the outskirts.
Worry erases the idea that we are living for God’s glory, his plan and his will.
It makes invisible the prayer, “Thy Will be done.”
Worry is like a bouncy ball stuck in a box, it will keep you up all night and get you nowhere.
Worry places our eyes on our present problems, rather than our present God.
What do I really believe?
Do I believe God is an all-sufficient problem handler or do I believe that he is absent, I am all alone, in the woods, by myself, fending against all my worst fears by the strength of my own might?
Is God the warrior or am I?
The truth is: God has us, he won’t let us go, he has a plan, he will bring us through all pain, he will provide for our every need, he will not forsake us, he will never let us go, he will not let our foot slip, he will pick us up if we fall, he will guide us through suffering as he has suffered, he will bring glory to our pain, he will lead others to know him through our trials.
But the real question is, do I believe this deep down -where it counts?
Hearts that believe God is good, give thanks for their good God.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phil. 4:6
Thanks breathes in God and exhales bitterness. Thanks makes us see all we have versus all we could lose. Thanks brings into remembrance all of his past faithfulness.
Thanks puts into perspective our present perspective.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:7
What can you find to be thankful for?
What praise can you immerse your one-track mind in
so that you don’t rub yourself raw
with feelings of God-has-left-me?
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