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Posts Tagged ‘choosing gratitude’

Gray and forlorn, the skies promised rain and I tucked the first holiday CD into the disc player. The lonely strains of “I’ll be Home for Christmas” reminded me of all that was missing, and I glanced at the sweet boys playing near my feet. Chunky, plastic blocks and knob-wheeled trucks lay strewn about the floor as my preschooler curled his upper lip and uttered an imitation of a jet accelerating off the tarmac. The youngest, a robust infant with dimpled fingers and white-blond hair, gnawed on an icy teething ring.

“How would you like to make some sugar cookies, Benjamin?”

His head bobbing in agreement, the four-year-year old dropped the miniature F-18 replica and danced toward me—his smile my reward. My son perched beside me in his tiny Home Depot apron, we began assembling the ingredients. Baking sugar cookies on Thanksgiving was a tradition I refused to give up despite the unconventional circumstances.

The phone rang and I breathed a prayer, Please, Lord, then choked out a weak ‘Hello’?

The distinct crackling on the other end of the line was interrupted by the unfamiliar cadence of a man’s voice. “Ma’am, Happy Thanksgiving. I’d like to patch in a call from Lt. Kennington. Is that alright with you?”

It’d been weeks since I’d spoken to my husband and suddenly, he, and I—and the ham radio operator—were enjoying conversation. This wasn’t the Thanksgiving celebration I’d imagined. Instead of our family gathering around the table to celebrate together, we were separated by half a world as the man I loved served on the Navy’s version of a floating city while I parented and prayed from the home front.

But today was a day for gratitude.

Despite the loneliness, I wasn't alone. 
Regardless of distance, I was loved. Click To Tweet

Despite the loneliness, I wasn’t alone. Regardless of distance, I was loved. No matter the circumstances, God provided good gifts.
Many of you may be facing a season of uncertainty. A holiday without loved ones. A Thanksgiving bereft of its usual cheer and celebration. I am truly sorry. If I could, I’d invite you over for a mug of something warm and steamy. We’d share happy holiday memories or watch the snow float like miniature white-winged moths from the low-slung November canopy until it covered the tree branches as they reach to the sky in prayer.

His ear is attuned to the cry of those who are burdened. Click To Tweet

But my heart isn’t adequate to lessen your struggle and I can’t know the depth of loneliness, grief, or heartache you own. Someone else does and His ear is attuned to the cry of those who are burdened.

There might not be a shift in circumstances 
but when you lean into God,He remains steadfast. Click To Tweet

There might not be a shift in circumstances, a sudden answer to ongoing problems, or a change in what you’re experiencing, but when you lean into God during the hardest of times, He remains steadfast. Can I encourage you to whisper a prayer—even if it is only, “Please, Lord”?

He’ll hear you. Allow Him to pull you into the circle of holy arms where you’ll discover comfort. Feel the Father’s heartbeat. You’re never alone. You’re always loved. He will provide good gifts.

Even today is a day for gratitude.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

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thankful woman.jpg

Greeting me with a smile, my friend announced with conviction, “I think I should focus on the positive things. I need to be more grateful for the good that is happening.”

Considering the discussion, I began imagining what it might be like if we—God’s women—consistently chose gratitude. How might hearts overflowing with thanks transform our lives? Could the life of a Christ-follower unburdened by the weight of thanklessness more powerfully impact others?

As prone to grumbling as anyone else, I often catch myself murmuring about the inconsequential…noticing the small stuff…losing sight of the eternal because I’m running hard into the right now of life. And, honestly, much of my thanklessness centers on me–focuses on the inconveniences common to the first-world problems of Self.

Can’t anyone remember to wash the toothpaste out of the sink?

Won’t someone please pick up the socks?

I don’t understand why nobody rinses the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.

 During these complaint-filled times, my children avoid me—gesturing wildly at one another to escape upstairs. Dave, the love of my life and skilled interpreter of both my tone and actions, suddenly realizes he needs to send an email. Even the dog wanders to a quiet corner—protected from the words of an ungrateful woman.

But walking in gratitude? Humility expressed in thanks? Gratefulness rightly directed toward God? These are the marks of a right attitude…the differentiation between those things that are important and those that are temporal…the willingness to bend a knee in recognition of the One who deserves all thanks and praise.

This month, let’s choose to live intentionally grateful. Will you join me? Let’s exchange criticism for thanks, ungrateful hearts for spirits abounding in gratitude, and negativity for right attitudes shaped by humility in our position as followers and servants of Jesus.

 

Scripture for Reflection

 Psalm 136 The Message (MSG)

1-3 Thank God! He deserves your thanks.
His love never quits.
Thank the God of all gods,
His love never quits.
Thank the Lord of all lords.
His love never quits.

4-22 Thank the miracle-working God,
His love never quits.
The God whose skill formed the cosmos,
His love never quits.
The God who laid out earth on ocean foundations,
His love never quits.
The God who filled the skies with light,
His love never quits.
The sun to watch over the day,
His love never quits.
Moon and stars as guardians of the night,
His love never quits.
The God who struck down the Egyptian firstborn,
His love never quits.
And rescued Israel from Egypt’s oppression,
His love never quits.
Took Israel in hand with his powerful hand,
His love never quits.
Split the Red Sea right in half,
His love never quits.
Led Israel right through the middle,
His love never quits.
Dumped Pharaoh and his army in the sea,
His love never quits.
The God who marched his people through the desert,
His love never quits.
Smashed huge kingdoms right and left,
His love never quits.
Struck down the famous kings,
His love never quits.
Struck Sihon the Amorite king,
His love never quits.
Struck Og the Bashanite king,
His love never quits.
Then distributed their land as booty,
His love never quits.
Handed the land over to Israel.
His love never quits.

23-26 God remembered us when we were down,
His love never quits.
Rescued us from the trampling boot,
His love never quits.
Takes care of everyone in time of need.
His love never quits.
Thank God, who did it all!
His love never quits!

 LIVEFREETHURSDAY

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