Experiencing the Miracle of Gratefulness…Some Sort of Perfect Storm…Clinging

I have hesitated to write this post…knowing the minute I speak of this publicly, I open myself up for spiritual attack or to fall miserably on my face. Probably both.

But, I’m too encouraged…

invigorated…

full of peace and joy…

strengthened…

in awe…

and grateful…

…not to share this.

Over the past few weeks, something miraculous has occurred in my heart. God is changing me, and I am in awe. I’m not sure if it’s an answer to prayers being lifted up on my behalf….or if it’s the miracle of learning eucharisteo as I read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts…the simplicity of offering a steady stream of thanksgiving directly to the Lord, in everything, watching my own list growing each day…embracing the gift of right now. Gratefulness is a powerful thing. How could something so simple bring such unlimited joy and cover our lives with such grace?

It could also be the fact that my friend Dinah seems to have left behind pieces of her legacy within me and others who love her…inspiring me to be more, to be free, to be the person He created me to be. I can see her now, among the “cloud of witnesses”, encouraging us from heaven, cheering the loudest. Strange how in the midst of the missing, something else has risen….inspiration, strength, courage, grace, freedom. How can that even be?

Perhaps it’s the perfect storm of all of the above. After all, He makes all things beautiful in His time. Perhaps it’s all coming together just as He planned it.

All I know is that, while the circumstances of this imperfect life have remained the same, I am changing.

A heavy burden is lifting. Granted, it’s only been a recent change. But for right now…I’m going to embrace this gift and give thanks for it.

I am sleeping at night and have all week (This hasn’t happened much in the past four years). Good sleep. Enough sleep.

I am resisting the temptation to eat unhealthy foods, and not complaining about it.

The gratefulness is replacing all desire to complain and wallow. It’s taking away the attitude of “I don’t wanna” and replacing it with “I get to”…taking away the desire to resist what I know I should be doing, replacing it with a big “Cowboy up, Chicken Little, and do the next thing!” (In case this message wasn’t clear enough, my pastor threw in a bit in last week’s message about how we look like two year olds throwing a temper tantrum when we whine and don’t do what we know we should do…and God looks down and says, “Get over it!” Don’t get me wrong…I love me some grace and mercy…and God gives both generously. But there is a time when a loving Father says…Let’s move on…it will do no good to stay here and wallow. In other words, “Get over it!”) I’m not speaking about grief. That’s a different thing all together. I am talking about the things I make excuses for…not giving Him all of me, not doing my devotions, having wrong attitudes, going to other things, like food, for comfort.

I didn’t even consider how powerful simply focusing on the gifts God has given in each moment would be in every area of my life. In high school, I had an Algebra teacher who used to always say, “It’s a great day! You get to do Algebra! You don’t have to…you get to.” When I was a teenager, it was a bit annoying. That man, a lover of Jesus, who was also my pastor back in my baby Christian days, knew the gift of gratefulness. He had the right attitude. I feel that same fervor for life seeping into my heart, renewing me. When I feel tempted to say, “I don’t wanna”…it is quickly replaced with “I get to…live this day, go to my job, cook for this family, help this child with his homework, listen to that child play his guitar, wash these dishes, settle into this bed at the end of the day beside this man that I love.” I get to!

Another day…really?

Is being transformed to…

Another day! Really!! What a gift!

Crazy, huh?

I’m embracing it.

——————–

One more thing…on the subject of “clinging”…

Have you ever considered the word “cling” in The Old Rugged Cross? I never had…until the day we stood side by side, singing at Dinah’s funeral. Tim’s guitar music gently guided, and I sang the words. And, when I reached the chorus, my voice quivered for a moment as I sang,

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

“I will cling to the old rugged cross…and exchange it some day
                                             for a crown.”

A crown which I will lay at His feet. I remember when Dinah and I talked about how He will turn our struggles, and our clinging to Him into crowns one day. Crowns we can lay at His feet in an act of worship. She had just gone Home, and I stood in  her church, singing about the crowns and the clinging. And..He met me there.

You know, He always meets us there. Where ever He asks us to go, He is faithful to meet us there.

And, He’s here, right now…in the laying down of my trophies, in the learning to cling to the cross ever closer.

In all of it, He is there.

Comments

  1. Trisha Larson says:

    Beautiful. Awesome. Love it. You give me hope and for me that is the best gift ever!!!

    Hugs,
    Trisha

  2. I'm just on chapter 3 of 1000 gifts and I already love it. I hope it speaks to me as it did to you. I spend a lot of time and energy looking back and focusing on the what-if's of life. I'm trying VERY hard to embrace the here and now. Thank you for this post!

    Love,
    Tonya

  3. I love to hear these kind of stories, Kelly! I love how God takes tragedy and uses it to bring breakthroughs and to move us to the next chapter. He is absolutely amazing! I can hear the excitement in your writing and it reminds me so much of how He has been so faithful to do the same for me too. I just love to see God at work!!

  4. Jennifer Ross says:

    Well, I was going to tell you what a great post this was, then I read the part about 'The Old Rugged Cross'!!! WOW! You did meet Him there Kelly! Isn't that the best feeling in the world!? I just love it when that happens…… God IS so good…..

  5. Mom to 2 boys +? says:

    That's so awesome!! I just want to tell you that God is speaking to me through you right now. He's trying to teach me some of those same lessons. The stuff you shared about Dinah has really made an impact on my life too. Thank you for being so open and sharing with us, I can imagine it's not easy to do!

  6. I always see such a beautiful example of humbled grace when I read your words! Thank you for allowing Him to be glorified through you!

  7. This 1000 gifts book must be pretty good. Seems like a lot of people are reading it right now…

    Thanks for the encouraging post, Kelly!!! (as usual)

  8. Crystal Theresa says:

    you are such an encouragement to me, sweet friend. thanks for sharing this beautiful post. i am perpetually behind in reading and blogging and just about everything else, so i've been terrible about commenting. but i wanted to let you know that i have been reading and praying with you and for you and for dinah.

    and i also just wanted to let you know what a blessing you, your friendship, your blog, and your ministry have been to me.

    i am still very, very slowly, but surely going through the lies women believe bible study. it is challenging and it is working on my heart in ways that i'm not sure i will be able to articulate. i know it's hard not seeing the fruits of your labor, but know that you are reaching people.

    ((hugs)) and AMEN :)

  9. Gottjoy! says:

    Ann's book helped pulled me through after I lost Rebekah. Not because of her, but how God use her words to change my perspective of thinking on things that have been given, instead of things that were taken away. At first, I started my list with no expectations, just a desire for my numb heart to feel. And then one day, I could feel my heart becoming tender again and my attitude began to change. Thanking God, for me, was to key to live a fuller life.

    I just pulled out Nancy's book out of the garage this weekend to revisit. Hopefully I can look over your older posts as I reread the book.

    Have a great day, Kelly. Your words are beautiful and inspiring!

    Hugs!!!

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