Thursday, April 7, 2011

and I thought...

I'm sitting here thinking, with a cat on my lap and his head almost on the keyboard....

I'd like to share things I've been processing, but don't know if I can get it out.

I'll try :)  The mistakes are Smeigle's fault....the case you didn't know his name.

I've been reading "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.  It makes you think.  One of the challenges for her was to record 1,000 the day to day of life.  Things that we take for granted or just don't see because our minds are focused elsewhere.  I find some days difficult to remember to look and others easier.  I've started my own ought to start one, too.

The challenge doesn't stop in naming your blessings.  It's to find joy in them. 

She writes about her fascinating journey.  I'm just trying to tell you in my words what I am reaping from this.

I'm finding from her quest that the essence of joy is giving thanks.  As she explains....  (in my words)

Before the crucifixion....Jesus took the bread, raised His eyes upward and gave thanks.

Before many of His miracles, He looked upward and gave thanks.

He gave thanks then the miracle happened.  He blessed the loaves and fishes, gave thanks and then the miracle happened.  Plenty of food was available for everyone. 

When He knew what lay before Him, the untold suffering of sins for mankind, He took the bread, raised His eyes upward and gave thanks.

Paul and I have discussed this thought.  What a picture.  On the eve of His road to the cross, He broke the bread, gave thanks, and then said, "take and eat in remembrance of me."   He gave thanks when He knew death was coming in just a few short hours.  He gave thanks when He knew that within moments a miracle would occur....

The giving of thanks brings joy.

God's been trying to teach me this for a long time.  Sometimes I remember.  Too often I forget.  One scripture He has used is Philippians 4:6-7.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Another is in 2 Chronicles 20.  A battle is coming.  The king, Jehoshaphat, didn't know what to do.  He turns to God to ask for His help.  God told him, "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God's. ...You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem.  Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you!"

Wow!  But you know what happens next?  He takes the singers of the people and appoints them to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:  "Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever."

I don't think I would like to be a musician at this time.

I would be trembling....hiding...worrying...scared.

Same thoughts I had today as problems bugged my mind.  I tried HARD to remember to give thanks.

All the what if's?  School budget cut backs, next year's taxes (good grief, already worrying about them.  I need to trust!), how this is going to work and the list goes on.

Finally, I thought to myself, "I'm giving thanks because I know that God is good.  And that the gift of Salvation is enough...enough to give thanks for."

I still struggled with pushing negative thoughts out of my head, but I felt giving of thanks.

Obviously, the singers had more courage than I did...or they had someone to hold their hand and encourage them to sing.  Most importantly, they probably just BELIEVED God when He said, "Do not be afraid!" 

They went out and sang....and as they sang and praised, the Lord sent ambushes against the armies and they were defeated!

They didn't have to fight.  They won!


By giving thanks!

I see carefree, joyful....a little first grader skipping gaily down the hallway

...and in myself I took a moment to borrow her joy for myself.

It was the little gifts...seeing life through the eyes of a child.

I hugged the joy close and smiled.


Reese said...

Just beautiful, Vicki! My Mom & I read Ann's book, too. She is a God-ordained writer; that is for sure.

be well.