Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Choosing Gratitude

So I am continuing some thoughts on how I have grown over the last few months.  To be quite honest, being transparent is sometimes a hard thing.  To admit to others that I might actually NOT be so perfect? However, I have learned that it is very "freeing" to not have to be perfect and know that God is growing me and changing me into something for HIS glory.
Let me start off by saying that if you asked anyone who knows me well (husband, kids, close friends, parents, etc) they would probably say that I tend to be a negative person.  I get in this rut and nothing seems to go well, or maybe I should say, nothing goes my way.  I really do know that I can go to this place of "yuck" and at times it is hard to get out of it.  I know that ultimately it is a lack of trusting God and where my heart is so wrong.  Well, about 6 weeks into arriving at the training center, the wives were given this book called, "Choosing Gratitude" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  If you have ever read anything by Nancy, you know how awesome she is in calling sin what it is and speaking the truth through God's Word.  At first, I set the book aside because I was working on reading another book that we were given (I will talk about it at a later time).  After I finished the other book I picked it back up and started reading.  Honestly, I wanted to throw it down because I was so convicted by the truths that were penetrating my heart.  It was so practical.  I want to share just a couple thoughts today that I have pondered on from chapter 3.  So yes, I am giving a plug for this book!
Chapter 3 is called "No Thanks" and it begins with this awesome quote by Elisabeth Elliot, "Thankless children we all are, more or less, comprehending but dimly the truth of God's fathomless love for us."  If you asked me I wouldn't really say that I was an unthankful person or had ingratitude.  But when the following list was given I was really convicted. Here are some signs, feelings or attitudes that can set off ingratitude in our hearts:
  1. unrealistic expectations-sometimes I expect a lot from others around me or situations around me and when they don't live up to what I expect then where do I go?
  2. forgetfulness-we were talking in family devotions last night about the Israelites and how they complained and forgot what God did, but how true of us that we forget what God has done in our lives (even if He just saved us)
  3. entitlement-I have to say that this was a big one for me....I think, "really God?  Look at how I have sacrificed to serve you and do what you ask and this is what is happening?"  Or I think God really owes me some things....
  4. comparison-This is really easy to do, especially in the ministry.  You see other people that God is blessing in different ways than you and you start to compare and feel like you are getting the raw end of the deal.  The whole time our focus in on me!  How crazy!
  5. blindness to God's grace-This is where the rubber meets the road for all of these mentioned.  Think of all that God HAS given and done for us.  The Bible even says, "His mercies are new every morning." Lam. 3:23 So everyday, I have new grace and mercy from God to go through what He sees fit to put into my life.  Sometimes things aren't really as bad as it seems.  Look can find someone else hurting worse, or experiencing God's grace and mercy in a different way than you.
Just some random thoughts that God is using in my the way, at then end of the book there is a 30 day devotional focusing just on Gratitude.  I am on day 4 and looking forward to how God grows me in this over the next month.

Monday, January 9, 2012


First of all, let me say I have totally missed blogging.  I think at least twice a week, I want to sit down and just blog, but either the computer is preoccupied or its a moment where I know I will be interrupted 100 times by my 5 lovely children.  So, with that being said, while we are here in Hickory, Sam has a computer at the church, which frees up our laptop for me.  Also, I am writing this blog at 6:30am which is pretty unusual for me.  God woke me up "early" this morning so instead of trying to roll over and sleep, I got up, made coffee and am sharing my heart today.
Last night I had the opportunity to slip out of the 3rd service (Hickory Harvest has 3 services on Sundays all identical) because I was working on a headache and wanted to take something for it before it was worse.  I ended up in the lobby area talking to some great people.  The lady asked me once I told her the journey we have been on if I was keeping a journal.  In some ways I feel like I have because I have blogged some, but then I was thinking I better sit down at the beginning of this year and just start writing about how God has changed me through all of this.
I am not the same person I was before.  I have grown up in church my whole life, literally.  I was saved at the age of 14, but I have grown MORE in the Lord in the last 2 years than I have since that point.  Does that shock you?  I hope it does, but I dare to say there are others like me.  There came a point in my life where I got tired of going through the motions and putting on a smiling face and pretending to be the "perfect Christian" that everyone else wanted me to be.  I felt like even though my sufficiency was in Christ, I was adding other things to that.  This is SO not what the Christian life is about....doing things to gain/earn HIS favor?  The moment I stopped trying to earn God's favor by doing a list of things and understood the fact that HE alone was who my sufficiency was in, it was a life altering moment for me.
I know, some of you say, "my sufficiency is in Christ," then you say, "but you still have to...."  If your mind starts saying or thinking but....then its not in Christ alone!  This may be a hard pill to swallow, especially if you have been raised this way your whole life.  It's an exhausting way to live my friend.  There is so much freedom in trusting Christ alone.  This is not a one time deal at salvation.  We have to be reminded daily of the gospel and what it means to us.  I want to share some more things (hopefully this week) about how I have been changed.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  II Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)