Thursday, April 23, 2009

Grocery Lists

Thankfulness. . .

The Word says that we enter God's presence with thanksgiving in our hearts. He's been impressing this on my heart over and over lately.

I remember when I used to sit down for my quiet time with the stress and burden of my troubles cloaking me. My mind a fog of frustration or trying to spin out solutions.

I'd have to intentionally clear out a space in my brain and get to my thankfulness. Thanking Him for our house, our car, our health, our kids—okay sometimes they were strictly on the prayer request list . . .

While thanking him for all those things is vital, I'm learning that entering His presence with thanksgiving doesn't necessarily mean pulling out a grocery list of thank you "to do"s while a huge pile of hurt and stress sits on our shoulders.

My time with Him becomes more real and intimate when I can say, "Thank you for being with me in this stress and hurt. Thank you that you have a path already laid out to navigate this situation I'm facing. Thank you that You have everything I need. Thank You that you provide the energy to be what I need to be for my family during this time. Thank You for the answers I know You have for these problems. Thank You that You never leave me alone to handle it by myself."

My thanksgiving can be for who He is to me in my mess.

There is such power and comfort and freedom in speaking truth about who He is and what He wants to do in the midst of my challenges and struggles, that I come away from those times renewed, throwing off the fear and discouragement.

When we give Him our burdens, He gives us joy and hope.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When Life Gets Rough

I first noticed my emotions flat lining in February.

But it wasn't until I got a concerned note from my son's six grade teacher about a nose dive in missing assignments that I figured out what was going on.

We were nearing the six month anniversary of my father-in-law's death. According to grief experts it's a difficult milestone.

My reservoir was swinging toward empty but life's challenges didn't slow down to keep pace. They kept coming at full fury.

I wanted to pull over into an emotional rest stop. When I signed up to me a wife and mom, I forgot to ask about the vacation benefits (found out there's no sick pay either).

While the benefits of being a wife and mom far outweigh the challenges, those low spots can be pretty low and pretty lonely.

Quiet times can feel desolate.

It's easy to get caught up in emotional negativity. If I don't "feel" God near me, I could assume that I hadn't lived up to heavenly standards and he withdrew some of His love for me.

I know, if I hadn't been floundering in pain and defeat I'd have realized that is counter to everything Jesus said about our Father's heart.

But I'm learning a principle that I heard Graham Cooke speak about once: God is always present to our faith and occasionally we feel Him.

I love that. When life gets overwhelming, stand on what you know to be true.

God will never leave us nor forsake us. Amen!