Monday, February 17, 2020

Weekly Gratitude Post

I passed number 13,000 in my gratitude journal this past week! It's hard to believe that I've been keeping a gratitude journal for over ten years now and have written down thirteen thousand things  that I'm grateful for. 

After church yesterday we went out to lunch with our second born daughter and her family. Our five year old grandson has learned a couple of sign language signs and has now decided that he knows sign language. When our waitress came up to our table he began to wiggle his fingers at her convinced he was speaking sign language and that she would know what he was signing. I laughed so hard.  I recalled when his big brother, who is now fifteen, was convinced he knew how to speak Spanish and went up to some little Mexican children and jibber jabbered at them, convinced that he was actually speaking Spanish to them and looking at his parents very offended when they told him that he was not speaking Spanish. It's fun to look back in my gratitude journal and read little moments of family life like these sprinkled in among all manner of other things I'm thankful for. For the big answers to prayer, for the funny family memories, there is something to give God thanks for in each and every day.

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-
-this beautiful, spring-like day
-a good long phone call with my big brother
-beautiful, snow covered Mt. Hood showing off as I cross the bridge over the Columbia River
-spending time with our two middle granddaughters
-going to the OMSI Exquisite Creatures Exhibit with them

-God's help with prep for the parenting class I'm teaching
-a helpful florist at the store
-a good visit with my friend who's recovering from surgery

-listening to our grandson as he's learning to read
-our Foundations of Parenting class going well
-God's provision

-facetiming with oldest granddaughter all about her first job
-family group texts
-Thursday night after our weekly prayer gathering watching a good movie with my husband,
(which is our "Friday night" since Friday is our day off)

-a wonderful Valentine's Day with my guy

-lunch together at one of my favorite spots
-my favorite sweet treat for dessert

-our granddaughter's eleventh birthday-thank You, God, for our miracle girl!
-facetiming with the birthday girl
-worshipping while I do my Saturday chores

-God at work in our church
-lunch with our second born and her family
-laughing at silly grandson who is convinced he knows sign language when he's just wiggling his fingers

still following,

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Never Forgotten

"But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
And my Lord has forgotten me.”

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, 
And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
yet, I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me." Isaiah 49:15-16

The enemy is a ruthless, relentless liar. He is especially cruel in his craftiness and targets us with lies and accusations against God and His love and care for us. "God has forgotten you. God doesn't care for you. You are abandoned by God. There is no hope for you. God is not keeping His promises to you."  For good measure the enemy turns and targets us with some of his lies and accusations. "You've messed up too many times. There is no recovery for you. God has given up on you because you're such a screw up. God has turned His back on you."

In this passage from the book of Isaiah, the people of Jerusalem are hearing the enemy whisper in their ears his all too familiar lie, "The Lord has forsaken you and forgotten you." We've all heard that lie before. The enemy especially takes glee in shoving our head underwater with those words when we are drowning in difficult circumstances.   (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, February 16th, at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Monday, February 10, 2020

Weekly Gratitude Post

We had a wonderful week with most of the members of our church's worship team. We flew to Kansas City, Missouri and spent time in the prayer room at the International House of Prayer. Day and night prayer, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, has been happening there for twenty years. It is a blessing to sit in the prayer room, worshipping, praying, reading the Word, listening to God's voice. We spent our days there and our evenings as a team debriefing together-discussing what God had been speaking to each of us and praying with each other. What a blessing! 

On Wednesday, some of us went downtown and joined a million other people at the parade and celebration of the Kansas City Chief's Super Bowl victory. We met up with our long time friends, who live in Missouri, and enjoyed some fun and laughter with them. I think it's amazing how God ministers to us, both in our times in the prayer room and in our  times of laughter with friends. Both are needful. Both are healing. 

We are home now, back in "real life" where we can't spend all the day long in the prayer room. But God's presence is just as real, just as near here in my real life as there in the prayer room. That, above all else, is what I give thanks for - my God is always near, always here. Always. 

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 safe flight to Kansas City
-oldest granddaughter getting to come on this trip with our worship team
-spending this time connecting with the individuals on our team

-taking communion and remembering all of the benefits of Jesus's sacrifice
-fresh insight into Psalm 51
-God conversations around the lunch table
-and amazing group meeting after a day in the prayer room

-so much laughter with our longtime friends
-my friend telling me she's had me on her heart this past month
-another powerful team meeting
-texts from our second born daughter with ultrasound photos of our grandson

-God speaking to me through His Word
-God speaking clearly to our granddaughter through her time here
-G getting to hang out with us 

-a safe trip home 
-our own home and our own bed
-a very encouraging week

-God speaking to me through Isaiah 49
-Denise Hughes featuring my Instagram in her newsletter
-signs of spring on my walk
-flowers from my guy

-God at work in us and our church
-lunch with my guy
-an afternoon of rest after a very full week

still following,

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Infused With God's Strength

"What an honor for me in God's eyes!
That God should be my strength!"
Isaiah 49:5 The Message Bible

How many times have I come into God's presence and offered up to Him things done out of the strength of my own intellect, out of my own gifts and talents, out of the power of my own will. Like Cain's offering of produce grown by the sweat of his own brow, I bring to God my offerings of self-effort. (See Genesis 4) He cannot approve of these offerings tainted with pride in my own abilities, and so, in His mercy and grace, He allows me to see my own strength for what it is, it is the false armor of Saul. (See 1 Samuel 17) King Saul tried to get David to approach Goliath wearing Saul's armor. But David "was not used to them" the Bible says. David had fought and killed the bear and the lion wearing, not the false armor of human strength, but the armor of God. David wisely chose to fight Saul with the trusted weapons of God's warfare and in the power of God's name. 

Too often I have taken the verse in Philippians 4:13 and placed the emphasis in the wrong place. "I can do all things!", I say to myself and I forget that the emphasis should be on the end of the verse, "through Christ Who strengthens me."   (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, February 9th, at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Monday, February 3, 2020

Weekly Gratitude Post

Our sweet youngest granddaughter had her first birthday this week! It seems like just yesterday that she was born. Life zooms by! One of the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal besides the primary benefit of developing an attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving is that you can look back and read glimpses of years past and remember all of God's blessings. 
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)

#12,934-#12, 956

-youngest granddaughter's first birthday

-all of the grandkids together to celebrate
-an answer to prayer

-a really good night's sleep
-a visit and prayer time with a friend
-milk and cookies after school with three of the grands

-praying with oldest granddaughter before her job interview
-middle grandson spending the morning with us
-the forsythia branches on my table in full bloom
-spending the evening "getting to know" my new Bible

-no rain today! WooHoo!
-a fresh haircut and some new shampoo that I love
-seeing God at work in someone we've been praying for

-our granddaughter got the job!
-Friday date day
-a slow, lazy morning
-a yummy dinner together at one of our favorite spots

-It's February!
-a great time of prayer with our leader's wives
-a break in the rain for a walk

-such a powerful message at church today
-lunch and a good visit with our longtime friends
-five year old grandson lifting his hands in worship at church this morning

still following,

Saturday, February 1, 2020

How To Take A Spiritual Retreat-Part Three

You have said, Seek My face,inquire for and require My presence as your vital need. My heart says to You, Your face,Your presence, Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require of necessity and on the authority of Your Word. Psalm 28:7 AMPC

For part one of this series click here.
For part two of this series click here.

I began this three part series by sharing about a recent personal spiritual retreat that I took during a time of spiritual depletion and inner weariness. In part one I shared some of the symptoms of spiritual depletion. In part two of this series, I shared some practical tips on why you may want to take a personal spiritual retreat, how to take one and what to do on a retreat such as this. Today, in the final post in this series I want to share about how to build times of personal spiritual retreat into your normal life.

When we were a young married couple my husband was still in college during the day, worked swing shift in the evenings and volunteered in our church on the weekends. We lived one town over from the town where everyone we knew lived and we had only one car. I was home alone with our first baby much of the time and began to resent my husband for my loneliness. I was under the mistaken impression that once I got married my husband would meet all of my needs and I would never be lonely again. Our pastor may have saved our marriage with one simple statement he made - "If another human being could meet all of your needs, then you wouldn't need God."  His comment spurred me to begin what would become a lifelong journey of getting to know God as my intimate friend.   (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, February 2nd, at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Monday, January 27, 2020

Weekly Gratitude Journal

Sometimes, even with our blessings staring us right in our face, we can forget to be give thanks to God. My heart's desire is to live a life of gratitude, to have a thankful heart and to express to God my thanksgiving. Even with the daily discipline of keeping a gratitude journal, I have to be aware of how easy it is to write things down without truly thanking God. I am a continual work in progress in this area. 
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)

-relistening to Sunday's messages from our church and listening to our son-in-law's message on my walk
-my friend from Missouri calling me
-a quiet MLK day after a busy weekend

-my nephew's support and encouragement in our lives and church
-finding a clearance sale Radio Flyer car for our granddaughter's first birthday
-notes of encouragement in the mail
-our small group

-morning coffee made for me by my guy
-spending the afternoon together since we don't get Friday off this week
-seeing green leaves forming on the trees and the neighbor's forsythia in bloom
-ten year old granddaughter so proud-she made cupcakes from scratch all by herself

-morning birdsong
-a new journal
-a good visit with a friend from church

-no tears from youngest granddaughter when she spent her first night away from mama
-a fun evening with the two youngest grands
-they both went to bed without tears!

--youngest granddaughter's snuggles
-youngest grandson's funny sense of humor
-a much needed day without rain
-a new Bible

-a bouquet of forsythia branches
-baby dedications
-a "new" reclaimed wood bench  made for me by my son-in-law

still following,