I have 15 blogs started and unfinished. Wow. Maybe my next project should be to go through and finish them all. Leave nothing unsaid.
Even with that many unfinished thoughts, and some of them are really great, I couldn't come back to my blog without starting with this one.
It was just Thanksgiving, a time where many people, including us, focused on all that we have to be thankful for. For us as Christians, it goes deeper. It's not just being thankful to the universe or the powers that be that blessings have poured down on us. It's not just saying "I am thankful for.... fill in the blank", but instead saying, "Father God, thank you for..... fill in the blank." Giving him credit for the blessings that pour down. All the gifts that surround us. Even when some days the blessings feel small in comparison to the struggles and pain that try and try to distract us.
Paul and I have so much, SO MUCH, to be thankful for. It's amazing what happens to your heart when you turn it towards seeing the blessings instead of the stress and pain. Through the course of the last year, we have endured over $7000 in car repair costs. Each and every time, God has seen us through and somehow from somewhere, he has had his hand in helping us stay out of credit card debt to fix cars. Our diet has put a significant strain on our budget, and yet God continues to provide information through friends and blogs of ministries that are out there providing organic, natural food at rock bottom costs.
(You have to understand that our way of living is not by some hipster/bohemian choice. Our son's body doesn't rid itself of toxins on its own, so the more non organic food he eats, the more he poisons his body. We either take the cost up front in natural/organic food, or at the back end detoxing him with natural methods. Either way, for my son to have a chance of staying off meds, our diet needs to be what it is.)
We have had a year since the tornado soaking in all the blessings of that hard and devastating day. The blessings just keep revealing themselves and we are overwhelmed by the way God moves through pain and suffering.
This month has changed the way I live. Changed the way I talk to my kids, to my husband, in my prayers, and to others. Living in a place of thankfulness changes the way you do life. It's funny, when you read scripture, from beginning to end, God starts most of his passages to us with, "Remember, I the Lord your God, the one who brought you up out of slavery, saved you and redeemed you, heard your cry and answered your prayer." Before he even begins what he wants to say, he takes a moment to remind us of who he is. Remind us of his life giving power. Remind us of patience with us. Remind us of his sovereignty Remind us of his compassion and mercy. Remind us of his love that surpasses all other powers in this place and beyond. He reminds us to be thankful because when we live in a place of thankfulness, we live different. We have more compassion for others. We judge less, we forgive more. We stress less, and laugh more.
Mmmm...to live in thankfulness.
I spent a lot of time this month focusing on that. I existed most of my days feeling overwhelmed by the amazing people in my life, my husband, my children, my home, my family and friends who live far away. I am so incredibly blessed by the people I have the privileged to call my friends and family. I am so thankful and feel so blessed by you all.
Then, the day after Thanksgiving, I received three letters in the mail. Two were from people I know. My first thought was, "Man already! Who are these people that they already have their Christmas cards out! Man they are on the ball." But as I opened them, I was humbled by the kindness in their words saying that they were thankful for me. Thanksgiving cards. I was speechless. I was so taken aback by the fact that someone would be thankful for me. This is not in a self deprecating way, but just a truly unexpected gift. There was one letter though that came from an anonymous person. The words and gift in that card still have the power to bring tears to my eyes and take words from my mouth. It is so humbling to have someone thank you for sharing your life with them. It reawakened me to continue to write my blog.
I have said before that I struggle with what to write most times in my blog because it isn't a specific place for recipes or crafts or devotions It's just my life. Life as someone who lives in a city with a family that loves Jesus and strives to live in place of passion and purpose. But I realize that it is in sharing our lives together that we see Christ, we share in his gift of the "Church" and his body. It is where we find encouragement and can give support. It is where ideas are sparked and life becomes richer because we share it together. I can't have you all over for supper, but I can walk through life with you in this weird way that the internet allows.
Paul and I kept trying to figure out who the letter might be from. Then we both realized, we didn't want to know. We understood that it was the Lord giving us that encouragement we need. Reminding us it is him who makes us great. It is His inspiration and spirit that people are drawn to in our lives. We are just your normal, every day folk. He is what makes us great. And so we press on. We are reminded that we invite people into our lives so that we can all grow, all be inspired, all see the face of Christ on each other.
So, thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for walking with us. Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for being in our lives. You all have changed me and I am so thankful for you.