One Thousand Gifts

Sunlight Throught Trees

A couple of days ago I blogged about Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. I mentioned that I was taking “the dare”. I’m daring to live fully right where I’m at. Right here. Right now. Just as I am.

Sometimes a word, a thought, a book resonates with me in a deep and profound way.  It touches me in a way that I could not have imagined beforehand, causing me to have an “a ha” moment(s). A different way of thinking. A different way of living.

That is just how God works in my life. More often than not, when I’m least expecting it, He shares with me. In the midst of my day, He meets me. Just where I’m at. He sees me as I move throughout my day and bids me to come and sit at His feet for awhile. Just to be with Him.

Jesus…His calming voice, in the storms of my day.

Jesus…His touch that heals my heart.

Jesus…His love that renews my spirit.

His gifts to me are numerous. Writing each gift down and listing them all, one by one, causes me to focus. I am more keenly aware of His presence in my life as I list the ways He shows me that He loves me. Nothing I list is too small nor  too big. God is so good to me.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17 NIV)

Each moment becomes a time of worship, to thank Him.

God’s Story

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Life has joy mixed with sorrow. Incredible highs punctuated with incredible lows. Births and marriages. Smiles and friendships, scattered amongst deaths, chronic illness, financial challenges and broken promises.

There are so many people that I know that are going through difficult times. People that are hurting because life has handed them situations that seem almost impossible to handle.

*Family members that continue to fight through treatments to rid their bodies of cancer. Their bodies are tired.

*A friend whose husband has to face early onset Alzheimers in his 40’s…and she has to watch it.  It seems so unfair.

*A friend of a friend who woke up yesterday morning to find her teen had passed away during the night. And a mother’s heart breaks.

*A woman from my home school group who said goodbye to her husband one morning in early November, he died hours later in an accident. And she is lonely.

* A mother who has three children and all three children are on the autism scale. She feels overwhelmed.

*Friends whose hearts are broken because of divorce. And they feel like failures.

*Financial devastation. Lost jobs. Foreclosures. And they are scared.

It’s easy to love God when life is going well. When the bills are paid, the house is warm, and the family is safe. How do I feel about Him when life is hard and seems unfair to me? I thought I wasn’t supposed to get more than I could handle? WHERE IS GOD?!

Not being able to get pregnant again after my only child. A first husband who died from a chronic illness. A father who chose to take his own life. A second husband who lost his job of 22 years. Pain. Broken dreams. Confusion. Scared. I have been there.

Life isn’t fair. I said it out loud. It tastes bitter in my mouth. I gag on the pain of saying it. And yet it is true.

Bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen to bad people. Good things happen to both. It really doesn’t make any sense by itself.

Each of our lives must be looked at in the scope of eternity. Each of our lives is but a chapter in God’s great story of redemption. When we just “read” our chapter, most of the time it doesn’t make sense by itself. It seems jumbled and confusing. And not fair. It is impossible for us to fully understand how we fit into the story…how our chapter is interwoven with others.

But God does. He knows. His story began before time. He is an exceptional and deliberate writer. He sees each smile, and marks every tear. As He penned the story He already knew how it would end. Each of us is a part of His grand story of redemption. In light of His son, Jesus Christ, everything begins to make sense. It is Jesus that makes this story special. And real. And alive.

It is He, that is the main character in God’s story of redemption. The reader begins to see the central theme of God’s story is love.

Love for a hurting and dying world.