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…
full of peace and joy…
…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!
Is being transformed to…
Another day! Really!! What a gift!
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.