Wonderstruck {A Timely Book Review}

One of my favorite authors,  Margaret Feinberg [www.margaretfeinberg.com], has a new book and 7-session DVD Bible study called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God[www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck] (releasing Christmas Day)—a personal invitation for you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life.

A Sneak Peek At Wonderstruck from Margaret Feinberg on Vimeo.

I’ve read many of Margaret’s other books and they have all been great.  Because I’m such a big fan, Margaret recently sent me the first few chapters of her book along with some insights into the back story for a sneak peak.  Here are some highlights from the interview:

Where did the inspiration for the Wonderstruck book and Bible study come from?

Have you ever had one of those seasons where everything goes wrong, and when you think it can’t get worse, it somehow finds a way? Most people who have worked in ministry have experienced those seasons—some may be in one right now.

My husband, Leif, and I had just gone through one of the roughest years of our lives. In the aftermath, as we processed the pain and loss, I had an unexplainable desire in my heart. I began praying for the wonder of God. In essence, I said, “God reveal yourself, your whole self to me. I want to know you as Wonderful. I want to know you as I’ve never known you before and see you in places I’ve never recognized you before.”

God did not disappoint.

What do you mean by “the wonder of God”?

Sometimes talking or writing about wonder feels like tying kite strings to clouds. It’s ethereal, and you can never quite get a grip on it. But if you look in the dictionary, the two main definitions of wonder are: “being filled with admiration, amazement, or awe” and “to think or speculate curiously.”

Those definitions come together beautifully in our relationship with God. That’s why I define the wonder of God as those moments of spiritual awakening that create a desire to know God more.

In other words, the wonder of God isn’t about an emotional experience or having some cool story to tell your friends, but the wonder of God makes us want more of God—to go deeper and further than we’ve ever been before.

Why are you calling people to #LIVEWONDERSTRUCK?

If you look in the Gospels, what you’ll discover is that those who encountered Jesus were constantly left in wild amazement. They were awestruck by the teachings of Christ, the healings of Christ, the mind-bending miracles of Christ. Within the Gospel of Luke we see words like “awe” and “wonder” and “marvel” at every turn. If this is the natural response to encountering Christ, how much more should it be for you and I—who are invited to live in relationship with Christ as sons and daughters of our God Most High?  We even created a free PDF that looks at some of these Scriptures. For a free copy, email us at wonderstruck@margaretfeinberg.com and we’ll send you one.

Follow Margaret’s snarky, funny, and inspirational posts on Twitter [www.twitter.com/mafeinberg], Facebook [www.facebook.com/margaretfeinberg], or her blog [www.margaretfeinberg.com].

I’m personally looking forward to my copy tomorrow to enjoy during our Christmas vacation. There is no time like the present to awaken to the wonder of God.

5 Conversations: Pleasing God

This is the fifth and final week of our study, 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Son.  Here is where we converse about the daily study.  Contribute to the conversation by leaving your thoughts in the comment field.  Answer one question or answer all… feel free.  Make sure you check the box for “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” so the conversation isn’t just one-way and you can also respond to comments.   If you have insight into parenting boys but aren’t necessarily doing the study with us, you are also free to join the conversation!

I can hardly believe how fast these five weeks have gone.  Part of me really wishes the study was longer because many of the insights I’ve gleaned from Vicki Courtney as well as from all of you who have commented and shared your thoughts and wisdom on and off-line have been priceless.  This is definitely a study I will return to from time to time to bolster my courage as these 4 boys grow into men.

Of every value and moral code we hope to instill in our sons, the most important thing is undeniably the hope and prayer we have for them to please God.  Our family sat all together in church this last Sunday and as we were worshiping, I was overwhelmed by the desire that each of my sons would love Jesus and follow Him all the days of their lives.  By the end of the morning, I had peace.  Not that everything would turn out perfectly according to my plans, but according to His plans and I must trust God for the outcome.  Peace for a fleeting moment in the life of a mom is worth something and I will take it!

The message in this fifth and final week that rang loudly in my ears was humility.  Without humility, our boys will not be able to hear from God, put others first and make decisions with a heart submitted and yielded towards God.

Isaiah 66:2:

“All these things my hand has made,
    and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
    he who is humble and contrite in spirit
    and trembles at my word.”

Humility and a contrite spirit is the only way we can actually become people who tremble at His word.

Teaching our boys humility and pleasing God comes largely from our own example of how we approach God.  Humility requires me to give up control and submit to the truth that God’s ways are better than my own. It calls us to daily put down our own desire and put God first. It’s considering Jesus and giving Him the first fruits of our lives, trusting Him for the abundance.

As the author pointed to I Corinthians 3:4-11, it’s up to us to plant and water and trust God for the outcome of growth.  A good friend of mine reminds me from time to time that you cannot thwart God’s plans for your children.  If we believe what we say when we whisper in their ears, “God has a plan for your life, a plan to prosper you, not to harm you but to give you hope,” then we must trust Him for that plan to come to fruition as they walk out their days here on earth.

I appreciated the author pointing out one of  the characteristics of chivalry early on to include courage.  We moms need courage to show our boys the way of Jesus, pointing out His presence in their lives and teaching them how to recognize His voice. If we believe the Spirit of God dwells in them, we need courage to trust Him to lead them in the everlasting way.

In eleven years short years of mothering boys, I’ve learned courage is something I need to ask for daily.  Courage mingled with humility knowing I’m planting and watering but it’s God who will make them grow.

Raising these little men is not just my story, or their story… it is the story of God.

How do you practice the discipline of yielding to God, giving Him full control of your life?

In the five weeks of the study, where have you learned you need courage the most?

How can we pray for you?

5 Conversations: Launching Manhood

This is week 4 of our study, 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Son.  Here is where we converse about the daily study.  Contribute to the conversation by leaving your thoughts in the comment field.  Answer one question or answer all… feel free.  Make sure you check the box for “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” so the conversation isn’t just one-way and you can also respond to comments.   If you have insight into parenting boys but aren’t necessarily doing the study with us, you are also free to join the conversation!

When I picked up the boys from school on Valentine’s Day, they were anxious to tell me all about the day’s events, particularly who asked who to “be their Valentine.”  In 5th grade, the kids seem more open to the possibilities of romance and begin teasing and sharing who they have crushes on.  Apparently some kids will even bring a special gift for a special someone to demonstrate their heart leaning towards that said someone – for about 5 minutes.

My son shared that he was thinking about asking someone to be his Valentine, but wasn’t sure if he was allowed to.  Here is how I handled the conversation:

“You could ask someone to be your Valentine, if you want.”

“Really?”

“Sure, but you want to be honoring to her and her family, so you’d first have to speak with her dad about it and get permission.  After all, she is his treasure and you don’t want to upset any dad in regards to his treasure.”

“What?!?!”

“For example, if you wanted to ask {Cute 5th Grade Girl} to be your Valentine, you’ll need to call up her dad and see if you could come over and talk with him.  Wear something nice, I’ll drive you over and you can ask him permission to give his daughter a gift and ask her to be your Valentine for the day.”

“I’m not doing that!  I’m too young for that.”

“Okay.  It’s up to you.  Just be prepared that when the day comes that you may want to treat someone special, she’s already special to her Daddy so you’ll need to have these conversations.”

It was pretty fun and thankfully I knew my son would be completely mortified but it was a good opportunity to lay some ground work about how we’re going to do this girl/boy thing differently.

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation if – indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” ~ I Peter 2:2-3

I really liked how the author pointed us to this verse because it speaks to the process of maturity and growing up into who God intended them to be.  There was an article in a well-known magazine a few years ago expressing how in our western culture we’ve added adolescence and the teen years into our social life spans.  The article asserted that either you are a child or an adult and in our cultures we have created this in between that has often trapped people and left them in an abyss.

We see the struggle in many twenty somethings and sadly even those in their thirties who have never fully understood what it means to be a man or a woman, in the adult sense of the word.  I speak to many young women who somehow believe that you don’t really become a woman until you’re married.  And in our church, hundreds of men go through “Men’s Fraternity,” a study on manhood that calls men up to take their responsibility as providers, protectors and leaders at work, at home and in their spheres of influence.  Notice I didn’t say, “take their place.”  I don’t care how liberal or independent you are as a woman, somewhere inside of her, every woman wants a strong man by her side.  If you think you don’t, then ask yourself if you’ve ever used the phrase “Man up!” in talking to or about someone you love… but that’s another blog post.

In raising our boys, this week’s study spoke to the necessity of preparing to launch our boys into manhood and the process begins at the beginning of their tender lives.  I came away from this week wondering how well we are doing this with our four boys, particularly in two areas:

1.  Their faith.

2.  Their Work Ethic

Since my husband and I are in ministry, our kids go to church a lot, are surrounded by believers. Because we love Him, frequently talk to and about Jesus in our home.  In thinking of launching manhood, I want to address their faith first because the heart is the wellspring of life.

We serve together when given the opportunity, we give together. The tension I’m wrestling with today is that by no means do we lead our family in regular devotion time.  Nor do we insist they have their own devotion time daily.  Our discipleship of the boys is based on conversation and {we hope} our example of loving Jesus. We turn to the scriptures when we are inquiring of the Lord but I’m really careful not to beat them down with it.  It’s a tension for us being in ministry because we want the boys to love Jesus, His Church and His mission… not become inoculated to it because of their surroundings.

Ultimately, they will need to birth and grow their own faith.

Regarding work ethic, we have a system set up for chores and through their chores they earn money for their allowance.  We have a big family, so we often talk about the necessity for each of us to do our part.  Of course we love the bless our kids when we can, but honestly with the growing appetite for “stuff” we have found early on that we need to have these conversations with them.

So, I was challenged… are we instilling a healthy view of providing?  Are we setting the table for them to come to their Savior?

What do you think of when it comes to launching manhood? 

Are their practices you have established in your family towards these goals? 

Where are you challenged in raising your sons to become men?

Let’s Talk About Sex Baby {5 Conversations: Saying No}

If you’re following along in our study on 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Son, Raise your hand if the Salt ‘n Pepa song came to mind at least once this last week.

If you are doing the study with us, here is where we will converse about the daily study.  Contribute to the conversation by leaving your thoughts in the comment field.  Answer one question or answer all… feel free.  Make sure you check the box for “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” so the conversation isn’t just one-way and you can also respond to comments.   If you have insight into parenting boys but aren’t necessarily doing the study with us, you are also free to join the conversation!

This week’s study was thought provoking to say the least. It caused me to think about my own upbringing, experiences, impressions, conversations with friends and parents {or should I say – lack, there of}.  And along with some other random conversations this week, really made me think about how the subject of sex is being leaked out, presented and impressed upon our kids.

From page 81:

“Our sons need to know that sex is good and that God, the Creator of sex, put some rules in place so that they might experience the best sex life possible.”

Question – How did you learn about sex growing up?

I’ll go first… I learned from my friends, the media, and thankfully at the right time in my life learned from some amazing youth leaders from church and other people’s parents.  {Shout out to Mrs. Reed!}  If God hadn’t intervened, life may have turned out very differently for me and I’m thankful that in the midst of hearing from a mom in my community, I realized even then how I wanted to approach the subject when I became a parent.

Consider this quote from page 92:

“For evangelicals, sex is a ‘symbolic boundary’ marking a good Christian from a bad one, but in reality, the kids are always sneaking across enemy lines.”

If you were to take a moment of honest introspection, is your view of sex

closely tied to your view of a good Christian? What are the results you are looking for in your kids?

About 15 years ago, I would have reluctantly answered yes.

This week’s conversation drove home the concept that we as mothers ought to be about shepherding and nurturing our children towards a relationship with God.  An authentic-Christocentric-Jesus-loving-Holy-Spirit-leading-Sheep-hearing-His-voice-kind of relationship with the Living God.

I want to do my best to impress upon my children the truth and give them a God honoring perspective of sex and how fantastic God intends it to be. That being said, we must be careful not to make virginity more important than a heart turned towards Jesus.

Should they remain pure until the day they are married, praise God… this is only one sign of fruitfulness.  Behavior modification will only go so far… heart transformation is eternal.

In retrospect, my view of sex was largely based on a rule, “don’t do it.”  I didn’t grow up understanding the “why’s” of God’s design.

Have you and if so, how have you began the conversation with your son? 

If your sons have reached adolescence, do you encourage them to wait? If so, how?

In our home, it’s began in 3rd grade.  The questions came up and we decided to answer them {age appropriately} lest they hear a different, less accurate answer from a friend.  My son told me the kids are already talking about it, so I was glad when we began.

Consider the following:

“We moms must approach the topic of sex with confidence and assurance, so our sons are left with no doubt that it is an amazing gift from God.  If we’ll only ask, God will give us the wisdom to know when to initiate conversations about sex and the boldness needed to approach the topic with confidence.  Our boys need to hear the truth.”

What makes you nervous about these conversations? 

If you are married, do you think it’s just as important for you to be having the conversations

along with your husband?  Or would you rather leave it up to him?  Why or why not?

And just a note… one of the best books I’ve read on the subject so far is called Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality by Jim Burns.  Jim is the President of HomeWord Ministries where they have a plethora of resources on marriage, relationships and parenting, including books on sexuality you can read along with children as young as 6 (which we’ve used).  We have found these resources helpful… and I didn’t get paid to say this.

5 Conversations: Redefining Manhood

Today is the week one wrap up for the study we are doing on 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Son.  If you are doing the study with us, here is where we will converse about the daily study.  Contribute to the conversation by leaving your thoughts in the comment field.  Make sure you check the box for “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” so the conversation isn’t just one-way and you can also respond to comments.  If you have insight into parenting boys but aren’t necessarily doing the study with us, you are also free to join the conversation!

The title of this week’s conversation is “Redefining Manhood.”  There was so many rich things we could talk about here but what really stood out to me was the building up of character.  Drawing from examples in 2 Kings and Genesis, there was a building up of character we want to nurture in our boys.

A Penitent heart  (a tender or responsive heart over wrong doing)

Humility (Having or showing a low estimate of one’s own importance – – the rare quality of caring more about God’s approval than the approval of men)

Courage (grounded in faith, seasoned in love)

From boyhood to manhood, we want to partner with God in raising up men who embody these three characteristics.

In one of the personal reflections, the question was asked: “How might you encourage a penitent “softening of the heart” when your son does something wrong?” 

I have to be honest here… my answer was:

I. don’t. know.

In our family, we believe in discipline, we believe in consequences.  These are good things, but I was really challenged with whether or not we are also forming the hearts of our boys to respond with a heart like Jesus… a heart that breaks like His.

It all came to a head on day three when another character trait came up. This time it wasn’t regarding the boys, it was for the moms.

Fear.

“But while at first glance hovering Helicopter Moms may appear to have their child’s best interests in mind, their high need for control is unhealthily rooted in fear.  Fear of danger. Fear their child will not find future success (as defined by the Helicopter Mom). Fear their children may not be accepted if they don’t look or perform a certain way.  In a nutshell, Helicopter Moms want to ensure that their children turn out according to their personal script and time line.”

I was really proud when I took the Helicopter Mom quiz, I only checked one thing (Confession – I’ve signed my kids up for 2 extra curricular activities in one season).  I’ve never considered myself a “Helicopter Mom.”  But I was challenged that I often respond, discipline, and react from the root of fear.

What do I fear?  Perhaps they will not choose the narrow road.  What if they would not live healthy lives – choosing things or lifestyles that are unhealthy? What if they end up doing drugs? Or get caught up in pornography?  What if they choose friends or a spouse  who will not love them or love God.  I have many fears about the outcome.

In the beginning of the week, the author used the illustration of a mother perhaps acting like a “regent” to a king. Someone working to surround him with Godly role models throughout his reign to help him make good decisions, be a good influence to help him live up to the potential and carry out God’s plan for the boy and the nation.  We ended the week with Rebekah, a mother who manipulated and made her plans and timing supersede God’s.

There is a thin line between a regent and a manipulative, helicopter mom.

Our plans and God’s plan.

Courage vs. Fear

One way to teach our boys courage is to parent courageously.  Knowing there are lessons with skinned knees and brokenness.

Father, help us raise these boys to men according to the plans you have for them, not our plans.  Give us courage to let them live adventurous lives, learning how to trust you when they encounter difficulty and danger.  May they learn throughout life how much bigger you are than them and may they learn to seek you with all their heart, soul, mind and strength so that at the end of their lives, they would be known as men who did what was right in the eyes of the LORD.

Questions:

1. What, if anything, do you fear in parenting?

2. How do you encourage penitence, humility and courage?

3. What were you challenged in your parenting this week?

4. How were you encouraged in your parenting this week?

Feel the freedom to answer, one or all of the questions in the comment field.  Be sure to check the “follow-up box.”

5 Conversations Bible Study {Update}

Unbeknownst to me, Vicki Courtney also has an actual book called 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Son so many of you who have committed to the study purchased the book instead of the “member book/Bible study.”  Due to the glitch, we are going to push back the beginning of our discussion to Tuesday, January 24th so every one has time to receive their book from Lifeway and get going on the study.

I have a strong belief that Bible study is meant to be life-giving and not a yoke or a box to check off daily.  So the last thing I want is for this to stress anyone out. Since we still have some time, it’s not too late… in fact it’s never too late to join us.

That being said…

There are a lot of Reading Plans out there to get plugged into a daily rhythm in the Scriptures.  They range anywhere from a couple of verses to four chapters a day.  I started Project 345 yesterday which is a New Testament plan that takes you through one chapter a day for 5 days.  That’s my kind of plan with 2 days left over in case you need to catch up!

Do you follow a Bible reading plan? 

Have you found it to be fruitful?

Wholistic Care for Women and God’s Psychology

One of the best things to come out of 2011 in terms of my ministry involvement is the beginnings of the Women’s Care Team at King’s Harbor Church.

Every leader has areas of weakness in which they must compensate with by bringing people on the team who have the gifts they don’t have.  For me, my weakness is in the area of counseling.  I can counsel someone to a degree, but to stay in the long haul and help them get unstuck and moved on to the next place in their growth can be really hard for me and well… not my best contribution.  That being understood, I invited 9 women from our church who either counsel people professionally or have spent years in the trenches with women through the local church.  These women have blessed me so much with their wisdom, enthusiasm and genuine love to see women walk in the ways in which God has called them.  Out of their prayers and team work will come a new and better way to care for women in our church in a more whole way… heart, soul, mind and strength in 2012.

One woman in particular who has become a good friend has just published her first book.  I love hearing Terry’s perspective of psychology and how God has created our minds to work, heal and seek after Him.  She is a licensed therapist with a PhD and has a profound understand of God’s Truth and a desire for women to walk in that truth.  Whatever your bias is towards psychology, I would recommend her insights to you.

I’ve personally benefited from cognitive therapy a few times in my life.  With the help of Christian professionals I’ve been able to clear the clutter that’s been in mind and heart and make way for the God to do a work of sanctification and transformation in my life.

What about you?  Have you benefited from therapy/counseling before?

A Bible Study for Mothers of Sons: Want to join me?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationship with my boys and how much it will influence their attraction to and choosing of their wife.

That’s a frightening thought.

But it’s been convicting me to be more purposeful and careful in the way I relate to them and instruct them.  I came across this interesting Bible Study by Vicki Courtney called 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Son.  While many of the principles in this book will be caught from and taught by their dad, it looks really interesting from the perspective of the mother-son relationship.

The five conversations are:

Redefining manhood: “Don’t define manhood by the culture’s wimpy standards.”

Choosing sides: “What you don’t learn to conquer may become your master.”

Saying no: “Not everyone’s doing it!”

Launching manhood: “Boyhood is only for a season.”

Pleasing God: Godly men are in short supply – dare to become one!”

So, here’s an invitation I’d like to throw out to any moms of boys out there… want to join me?  Two are better than one and I figure if anyone wants to go through this with me I’ll have a better chance of actually finishing it. 

I’d like to start the week of January 8th and will post reflections and discussion questions each Tuesday.  There are 5 days worth of homework for each week, so our first discussion forum will be here on January 16.  If you have a blog, you can post about it as well and link up here, or we can just chat in the comment section.

The video sessions are available for download for $4.99 each and the book can also be purchased here.

Are you in?

Book Review: Untitled

In the quiet moments when I have a few to read, I’ve been reading and reflecting on the creative process.  Creativity is something that is required in almost every area of my life {and I’m willing to bet yours as well}.  However I have found myself stuck for quite some time and the anxiety of wanting to/needing to be creative with a newborn is well… full of angst.

So I’ve been reading here and there about the creative process and have come across a new book by Blaine Hogan called Untitled: Thoughts on the Creative Process.  Blaine is the Creative Director of Willow Creek Community Church and has consistently been generous with his experience and wisdom on his blog and now offers this book to those of us who need it.  A great read for anyone who does anything creative, be it parenting, pastoring, graphic designing, set decorating, photography, writing, teaching, or producing wireless technology for motorcycle officers.

Untitled is encouraging, inspiring and motivating especially if you find yourself in a cloudy place and need a bit of direction to get you moving again.

“My only rule was to spend at least one hour in front of the given surface.”

His words served as a reminder of the divine purpose of art:

“Art seeks to tell the truth in dark places (movie houses, theaters, sanctuaries, museums) and it seems to me that’s what faith in God seeks to do as well – tell the truth in dark places.”

Blaine encourages his readers to take time to be reflective.  For me this is the transformational work of Christ in me through sitting at His feet first.

“When my inner self has been explored, I tell the most truth and I create the best work.

“You have absolutely no business taking us to places you are unwilling to go yourself.”

 He also stresses the importance of the message superseding the medium… it’s more about the message than the medium.

“Any technology (medium, tool, etc.) should always be in service of a greater purpose.  A tool is just a tool until it’s been given meaning.”

Most importantly, he gives readers the courage to fail.

“When you don’t take your failures personally you open them up to becoming experiences that can transform you.”

I read the last couple of pages today which were exactly what I needed to read today:

“As I write this, my seven-week-old daughter Ruby, in a ramshackle swaddle, propped up on a pillow on my lap.  I’ve got her wedged tightly between myself and our dining room table.  When I’m not using the Shift button, I’m bouncing her with my left forearm with a little help from my left thigh. 

For seven weeks,day and night, we’ve been caring for what seems like a wild animal.

She cries for seemingly no reason and simply refuses all my pleas for silence.

But today she’s in my lap, smiling and cooing.

She knows me.

She recognizes me, I think.

It brings me to my knees and I weep. 

Her smile makes me believe that the world is good.  It makes me believe in hope and possibility.

And then she spits up.

White goo is everywhere. On the keyboard, on my shirt, on our couch pillow which, I know, I know, I should have never used in the first place.

In a flash all is lost.

The smile is replaced with a cry heard round the world or at least through the foot of concrete between our apartment and the next).

Back to work I go. Let’s try the vacuum this time. She liked that yesterday. Or how about the Baby Bjorn. Maybe another swaddle?  And where on earth is that pacifier?!

This is the creative process.

For the most part it’s just plain old unsexy work.”

 

Blaine goes on to say… It’s all worth it.

Have you read anything good lately?

Gratitude

I’m currently reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. In chapter 2, she writes:

Thanksgiving – giving thanks in everything – prepares the way that God might show us His fullest salvation in Christ. The act of sacrificing thank offerings to God – even for the bread and cup of cost, for cancer and crucifixion – this prepares the way for God to show us His fullest salvation  from bitter, anger, resentful lives and from all sin that estranges us from Him. At the Eucharist, Christ breaks His heart to heal ours – Christ, the complete accomplishment of our salvation.  And the miracle of eucharisteo never ends: thanksgiving is what precedes the miracle of that salvation being fully worked out in our lives. thanksgiving – giving thanks in everything – what prepares the way for salvation’s whole restoration.  Our salvation in Christ is real, yet the completeness of that salvation is not fully realized in a life until the life realizes the need to give thanks. In everything?”

It’s Friday and when I look back on the week, the things that stand out are the heart breaks.  A friend receiving hard-to-swallow news about her son.  A piercing challenge to humility that a loved one is facing.  A woman trying to shepherd her son, much less her own self through the reality of a husband abandoning her for someone else.  A young girl on the brink of making life-changing decisions.  The story of the McRae family struggling to accept every parent’s worst nightmare.  Two friends dealing with the suicides of people near them.  A close friend coming to terms with another month that she is not pregnant.

It’s easy to give thanks in life for that which is going well.

It’s easy to be thankful for a job that provides, but what about when that job pushes every button at our core?

It’s natural to give thanks for family that loves, but what about when family disappoints?

I’m thankful when I succeed, but can I give thanks for my failures?

I’m thankful for the health of my husband and children but when illness or imperfection threatens, can I fully embrace it as a vehicle for God to show me

Just

How

Glorious

He

is?

I’m thankful for the body of Christ, but I rarely give thanks when I encounter difficult people.

The heart of gratitude keeps the heart soft, pliable, and able to absorb that which Christ is pouring in.  The hard heart is unable to receive, unable to take in and unable to break off into pieces that can be offered to others.

Today, I want to receive everything with thanksgiving.

Every thought, every person, every conversation, every encounter, every challenge, every moment so I don’t miss any opportunity for my Salvation to restore me.

What will you give thanks for today?