Peace and gratefulness

It’s so much easier to hear God’s word when I am silent.

It’s so much easier to be grateful when my lips are closed to complaint.

There is a link there.  The one between listening to God’s words and being grateful.  I’m not too good at being subtle, so I tried to make it obvious above there.  Just in case you might have missed it–because I miss this often in my daily chores.  Amid the chaos of washing one more set of sheets, returinng calls after a long weekend gone, running in to pay the lunch bill at school.  I miss the chance to be grateful when my mouth and mind are running a million miles a minute.

Perhaps you see the same in your life.  I have gone to bed pondering John 14:27 lately

“My peace I leave with you.  My peace I give you to.  Peace not as the world gives, but as I give.  So do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” 

Our world around us promises peace when the kids are gone, when the house is quiet, and when our chores are done.  I think Jesus meant something else entirely.  The peace amidst our chores; amidst the day-to-day grind that comes from our deep and intimate relationship with Him.  It’s the sigh of contentment at the sink when I realize how grateful I am for the hot water and warm house on this November morning of falling temperatures.

Being grateful reminds me that Jesus has left his peace with me in this world–during the day, with my kids, in the middle of a moment of discipline.

What are you grateful for today?

21.  A clean house when I come home from a long road trip

22.  The giving heart of a 9-year old beautiful girl

23.  A cup of hot chocolate

24.  Sharing the shower

25.  Friends who call to see how the morning is going

26.  Memorizing scripture

27.  Silly children’s songs that come up when the moment is stressed

28.  Expressing feelings; writing thoughts

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Grateful anyway

I have a great pastor.  He is truly gifted in the way he presents God’s word day after day, between Sundays, and especially on quiet Sunday mornings.  Sitting in the pew is a weekly gift.

His sermons, of late, have focused on the call of forgiveness in our lives.  Such an easy word to throw around, yet difficult to do.  In fact, the more he preached on it, the farther I realized I was from forgiving the most precious person on this earth to me–my husband. 

I have spent the last three weeks wondering what, exactly, is my problem here?  I know I want my relationship with my husband to be full, alive, and vibrant.  But, without basic forgiveness, we chip away at what can be.  And, all those little pieces we’ve chipped away somehow end up bound together in our hearts, forming balls of bitterness and anger.  Isn’t it funny how easy it is for these to surface in the hard moments?

I think God must see me in much the same way.  He must see the bitterness in my heart over issues that are almost trivial to Him.  The daily frustrations of picking up toys underfoot, cleaning up spilled drinks in the car, trying to get them all in bed after a day that ended much later than it should have.  My cry inside that THIS isn’t what mothering should be, or should feel like.  Being a good wife SHOULD be so much easier than this.

*sigh*

And this bring me back to forgiveness.  When we turn to our heavenly Father and ask for forgiveness, he restores our relationship completely through the healing act of His son, Jesus.  Our sins are removed from us “as far as the east is from the west.”  (Ps. 103:12)  My human mind cannot figure out how to remove transgressions committed against me in my life so completely.  And, perhaps I am not supposed to know.  Perhaps I, again, have to turn to God for His divine help.

One thing, surprisingly, has come to light more and more in the last few weeks.  If I focus on the gifts He has given me, the moments of grace, my mindset is so much more open to forgiveness; to allowing the daily moments to overshadow the stressful hours.  And, my list of 1,000 gifts continues for me . . .

11.  Little boy kisses

12.  Giant sunflowers nodding their heads to the end of the garden

13.  Afternoon calls just to say “I love you”

14.  Rays of sun coming through the church window straight onto my pew

15.  Warm arms in the middle of the night to cuddle into

16.  Cooler fall mornings hinting of warm sweaters and blankets to come

17.  Laughter between sisters

18.  Releasing anger over issues that cannot be controlled

19.  Finding just the right book for the moment

20.  Friends who call just to see how you’re doing

Giving thanks every day

Ah, these mornings, when even a cup of coffee hasn’t helped pry my eyes open fully yet.  When my seasonal allergies have kept me up for many nights now, and the kids have started off the morning arguing.  These mornings–when I have yet to find my way to the shower or know what my direction for such a day is yet.

How do I glorify you today, Lord?  Please open my eyes to see the gift you have brought me in today . . .

And so I begin my list of 1000 gifts.  It’s all very new to me, but I’ve been reading Ann Voskamp’s list for 6 months running.  Don’t misunderstand me; I know I have gifts in my daily life.  I often whisper a thanks when my eyes are truly open. 

But sometimes it takes a little more looking to actually see them.  Being intentional even when the morning looks like this.  He leaves us gifts every day; seeing them is part of the framing of our outlook.

1.  A husband who works hard for our family

2.  A sunny morning to wake up to

3.  Safe, comfortable community

4.  Three beautiful daughters

5.  One rambunctious son

6.  Baby eggs from our new chickens

7.  Renewing a friendship I thought might be gone

8.  Hearing and loving God’s word from a gifted pastor

9.  Hot coffee

10.  Fresh vegetables to put up from the garden