Monday, August 12, 2019

Weekly Gratitude Journal

I often think of life like a tapestry. God sees the complete vision of the tapestry of our life. We only catch glimpses of the tapestry in retrospect. For example, looking back we see how He wove that relationship into our life at just the right time or we see how He was working for our good in that time of testing and trial though we couldn't make sense of what He was up to when we were in the middle of it. Right now, someone deeply woven into the tapestry of our lives and our church is moving back to their home country. It's painful to let them go. But, God is weaving something beautiful in us and in them. We can't see what His plan and design is, but we have a lifetime of experiencing His faithfulness to look back on and we know that He will continue to be faithful as we move forward. Meanwhile, we continue to give Him the thanks He deserves. He is so very, very good to us.
Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks, 
piling up gratitude day by day in my journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)

Thank You Father God for-
-the satisfaction of finally doing a chore I'm not fond of-weeding!
-the generosity of our daughter's in-laws in letting us schedule a getaway at their cabin
-a good talk with my middle daughter
-seeing God at work when we trust and pray

-a fresh haircut
-another chance to trust God in a hard situation
-a beautiful summer walk
-stopping by to see the grands for a few minutes on the way home from running errands

-a free bag of sweet, golden yellow plums
-a huge wild bunny hanging out in our backyard
-cooler temps - it feels like fall is on the way!

-having a little going away gathering for G. who's heading back to college
-love and encouragement and prayers from our church 
as we adjust to news of a beloved staff member moving away
-funny grandkid photos and videos via text

-God's provision for our needs and as well as for way more of our wants then we deserve
-a post birthday tea party with friends
-a good movie that made me laugh and cry

-a foggy, drizzly morning that makes me feel like I live at the beach instead of 80 miles inland
-youngest daughter and the two youngest grands coming over
-taking the youngest grands for a nice long walk in their double stroller
-stopping by the park to play on the swings

-the truth that saying goodbye to someone we love who is moving away
 is just temporary because the family of God is eternal
-God at work in His church, even as we say goodbye to a beloved staff member, 
God is working in His people to help cover their responsibilities 
-a 50th birthday celebration for a sweet friend

still following,

Saturday, August 10, 2019

He Heals the Brokenhearted

Some years ago on our last night of vacation, I asked my husband if we could go to the beach one last time and stay long enough to catch the sunset. While he got settled in his beach chair and engrossed in a book, I decided to walk down the beach to the jetty. It was on my way back to where my husband was sitting that I saw a pelican standing there on the sand. I walked right up to snap his picture. He didn't fly away. He didn't run into the sea. It was then that I suspected something was wrong with it. I stayed awhile trying to shoo him and to see if I could tell what was wrong. He waddled closer to the water. Suddenly, a wave came and knocked the pelican onto its back. It flailed there in the surf, its neck stretched out, its wings flailing in the water, fighting but not able to turn upright. My stomach felt nauseous watching it. I thought it was going to drown right before my eyes. When the waves subsided it managed to get upright and to get back onto the sand. It just stood there, immobile. I finished walking back to my husband and told him about the pelican. He went to look for himself and came back reporting that he could see a fish hook in the pelican's head. I felt helpless, not knowing the 911 to call for birds that need emergency assistance. We watched the sunset and left the beach, leaving the poor pelican there in the sand. The next day we flew home.

On the following Sunday morning, the whole memory of the pelican came back. The Lord used the vivid picture of the struggling pelican to speak to my heart about hooks. Hooks in our lives can be  things such as unhealed hurts, unmet needs and unresolved issues. The things that have broken our heart can become hooks if they aren't dealt with and allowed to heal. These hooks can affect our ability to handle the storms in life that come our way, Even the smaller waves that we should be able to sail through seem to bowl us over and knock us down. We feel we will surely drown if we get hit by one more wave. We flail and we fight, but we just can't seem to get on our feet and we surely can't fly. We need Someone to help us.  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, August 11th at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Monday, August 5, 2019

Weekly Gratitude Journal-the birthday week edition

A couple of weeks before my 62nd birthday I sent a group text to my husband and daughters declaring that, for the week of my birthday, I was abdicating all responsibility. I declared my birthday week, "Elizabeth's Week of Fun". 

Being in full-time ministry is much like parenthood. It's a great privilege and a great responsibility. There are so many wonderful things about it that I wouldn't trade for the world. But, much like being a parent, the demands of ministry life can sometimes make me feel like I'm not the boss of my own life. Before you misunderstand, I know that God is the Boss, the Lord, of my life and has every right to be so. I don't chafe against His leadership over me. But, in complete honesty, I have seasons of chafing against the demands of others that can dictate how I spend my days. Perhaps much of the blame should actually land on myself. With my enneagram one, wing two personality and need to do all things well and right and to be seen as good and to help others, I worry about failing others if I'm not available when they need me. I don't want anyone in our church to feel unloved or uncared for. It's a burden I've put on myself that is too big for my shoulders.

My husband was in full support of the idea of my week of fun, my week of shirking all responsibility. Even so, I felt a bit guilty, wondering if it wasn't me just being selfish and self-absorbed. I talked to God about it and surrendered the week to Him.

It was an awesome week-a staycation if you will. For a week I savored and enjoyed summer instead of letting it fly by. It was the reset I needed. What is interesting is that by the time Thursday rolled around I wanted to gather with my church family for our midweek worship and prayer time, though I'd originally given myself permission to skip. 

On Friday, my 62nd birthday came and went. I fully enjoyed it and was so incredibly well loved by my family, friends and church family. I felt no hint of regret or worry within myself about  my advancing age. I just felt happy and blessed and loved and so very thankful for this life God has given me!

Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks, 
piling up gratitude day by day in my journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)

Thank you, Father God, for-

-discovering more layer of riches in the book of Ephesians though I've read it so many times before
-making homemade crumpets for the first time, with G.
-her sweet gratitude to us

-my big sister calling me to wish me happy birthday 
since she'll be out of cell phone range not the actual day
-a beautifully perfect day trip to the beach!

-a new Rae Dunn "thankful" mug-the word I've been looking for!
-three handsome elk with their huge antlers 

-youngest daughter and the two youngest grands coming over to see us
-a walk with my youngest grandson
-texts from our middle daughter who is on an Alaskan cruise

-It's August!
-buying a fun, inexpensive bracelet I've been wanting but talked myself out of getting until today
-comfy new shoes I've been wanting came in the mail today-my birthday gift from my husband
-an encouraging word from one of the men in our church

-God's loving, watchful care for me these 62 years
-so many phone calls, texts, messages, and cards wishing me Happy Birthday!
-a delicious and fun family dinner made by our daughter

-a sweet time of worship and prayer as I cleaned house
-hugs and a gift from our middle daughter and the grandkids, who got home from their cruise today
-a walk and good talk with a friend

-Your powerful presence with us
-and a good word
-a fun Sunday lunch with friends

still following,

Saturday, August 3, 2019

God's got a grip!

This morning I was listening to worship music and praying and turning over to God, once again, circumstances and people that were weighing heavy on my mind and heart. I was going to write, "such is the life of a pastor's wife", but in truth, we all have this in common don't we. We all have loved ones and circumstances that we are concerned about. As I prayed God brought to my mind a portion of scripture from John 10:25-30 in The Message Bible "My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from Him." God was reminding me that those I've been praying for were all His born again children, His sheep, and yet I wasn't praying with conviction that God was truly able to keep them safe and secure, protected from the Destroyer.   (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, August 4th at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Monday, July 29, 2019

Weekly Gratitude Journal...

Remodeling, church activities, squeezing in special time with the grandkids when we can - this summer has been full!  I always want summer to be a bit more laid back than the other seasons, but I haven't been very successful so far this year in achieving that. I guess I'd say I may be more busy than I'd like to be at times, but I'm more blessed than I deserve all of the time. And so I continue to count His graces in my life...
Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks, 
piling up gratitude day by day in my journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)


-day one of Vacation Bible School in the books
-an afternoon at the lake with the three middle grands
-a sweet talk with my ten year old granddaughter

-some quiet time with Jesus before this busy day begins
-new shower doors installed in our remodeled bathroom
-belly laughs

-my favorite time of the day-morning coffee and time with Jesus
-all of the wonderful volunteers for our VBS
-meeting youngest daughter and our two youngest grands with our two middle granddaughters
at the splash pad 

-the mechanic saying that our new to us used car was a great deal
-when not so fun errands are finished
-a "day moon" in a cloudless blue summer sky
-a hummingbird "chasing" a large yellow butter on my walk today

-a fun date day lunch out-Korean tacos, yummm!
-stopping by our daughter's to see the two youngest grands
-watching a favorite show and munching my favorite popcorn with my guy

-finishing the book of Ezekiel
-going to Chipotle for lunch with a friend
-God's help with a blog post

-God is building His church
-a sweet spirit and powerful worship
-God sending us relationships

still following,

Saturday, July 27, 2019

When you need to reboot...

Dualistic thinking, us versus them thinking which is so prevalent in our culture, is even evident in our choices of cell phones. You are either an iPhone lover or hater. Me, I'm an Apple lover for one reason. Got something glitchy going on with your iPhone or Mac computer or iPad? There's aren't many things that turning it off and then back on again won't solve. The definition of reboot is to restart or revive, to give fresh impetus to. It's sometimes necessary for your smart phone and even more necessary for you and I! 

Continuing with this analogy, just as our phone can get "glitchy" and need to be rebooted in order to start functioning as it should, there are times we can get "glitchy" and need rebooting as well. For example, let's say you're feeling irritable and easily annoyed and generally out of sorts. Rebooting for you could be as easy as getting a good night's sleep or going on a good brisk walk in the outdoors. It's amazing how something as simple as some rest and some exercise can change our perspective.

Sometimes, however, the glitch is more than a physical issue-it's a spiritual one. In my own life, I've often described it like this, when I'm "running smoothly" spiritually, my innermost being feels like butter in God's hands. I can tell that there's no resistance in me to His will and His ways. I'm able to hear His voice in my spirit. I'm able to sense His presence. I'm more loving, kind, patient and giving in my relationships. When I'm spiritually "glitchy" I sense resistance and irritation within myself. I am more easily irritated and annoyed with others. I become more selfish and self-absorbed. Like a smart phone that isn't functioning as it should, I'm not operating at optimal spiritual capacity. I need to reboot.  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, July 28th at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Monday, July 22, 2019

Weekly Gratitude Journal...

Vacation Bible School begins at our church this morning. Our two middle grandgirlies will be staying at our house for the next few days so they can attend. Our five year old grandson lives in our city, instead of across the river like his cousins, and he will be attending also. Our oldest two grands will be helping with games and such along with some of the other youth group teens. We have twice our usual number of children attending this year for our V.B.S. so we are excited about that. It's going to be a busy few days but I wanted to pop in here quickly and post my weekly gratitude journal!
Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks, 
piling up gratitude day by day in my journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)


-a sweet time in the Word and prayer
-getting things done for VBS
-the new vanity and toilet are installed in our master bathroom remodel
-time with our middle grandson who wants to sing and talk about Jesus with me
-God's provision
-a beautiful walk at sunset

-more volunteers for our upcoming VBS
-prayers via encouraging texts
-oldest grandson doing yard work for us and hanging out a bit with his Nana

-a big sale on the custom bathroom blinds we needed
-a creative idea, with God's help, for how to update the jet tub surround
-friends and family to talk to when I'm frustrated about a dishonest plumber I'm having to deal with

-a good meeting with all of the V.B.S. volunteers
-our bathroom remodel is done! Hallelujah!
-help from our city water bureau and a plumber friend about our plumber problem

-chips and salsa and mahi-mahi tacos outside at our favorite restaurant by the river
-going to the new Lion King movie with our oldest granddaughter and G.
-talking with my granddaughter about everything from makeup to school to friends....

-Proverbs 3:5-6 in the Message Bible
-a nice long phone chat with our oldest daughter when she got home from vacation
-oldest granddaughter texting me about some spiritual insights she had

-freedom in worship
-pastor friends coming to our church while here on vacation
-all of the volunteers who helped us set up for tomorrow's VBS

still following,