I have been here in our camper for the last four days.
Just me…ALONE, me and Jesus that is.And we have been working.Yesterday I began reading a PDF book I received in my Ultimate Homemaking Bundle a few months back.The title is Revival by Christi Gee.She walks you through portions of the book of Nehemiah where Israel is transformed.One of her thoughts really struck me and got me thinking…
Christi Says about Nehemiah 8 & 9:
Israel went through a process to experience confession and repentance. In that process the Israelites spent THREE HOURS listening to the law being readand the history of Israel’s failures and sins by Ezra and that brought them to their knees crying out, confessing to their God for repentance for ANOTHER THREE HOURS! (paraphrased from Revival)
It took Israel concentrated and extended time in God’s Word to experience growth and yet in today’s American churches we complain, moan and groan if the pastor goes over his “allotted” 30 minutes by 15. I have even read discussions from pastors on reducing preaching to 15 min total. We as Americans have lost sight as to why we NEED church (Church is for the teaching of believers.Instruction in how to live the Christian life and encouragement to keep fighting the hard Battle for Jesus!). It’s become a deed we check off our “good Christian checklist” so we can get on with our week.
There are People groups in this world who “count itall joy” to be taught God’s word for hours at a time, there are even churches (though they are few and far between) in this country that still sit and listen to their pastor teach from God’s word for an hour or more. We sit in churches week after week and we say to ourselves “I’m so thankful we live in a Christian nation,” when in reality we lie to ourselves, not only about being a Christian Nation BUT being in a Christian Church. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Churches today look more like social gatherings than sitting at the feet of our teachers soaking up truth because we need it to thrive in our daily walk as believers of Jesus. It was theirfuel that kept them motivated to keep walking forward rather than running and hiding in fear of persecution. Yes our country was founded on Christian principles, but our forefathers sat in church each week from about 9 in the morning til noon.They then took a break for lunch and came back for another 2-3 hours of teaching depending on the pastor and time of year. That is what a Christian nation was built on. That was the foundation that was laid.
(Did I mention that in many of those churches the people stood all of that time and others sat on hard wooden benches with no backs- thats dedication)
Welcome to The Thankfulness Challenge! A few years ago I participated in a weekly blog meet-up called Thankful Thursday centered around thankfulness. The host later opted to no longer host it, and I wrote for a short time about Thankfulness and what i am thankful for, but then I too let it fall by the wayside. However this past year as I prayed through what was important to my blogs re-boot..THANKFULNESS became a HUGE priority.
Thankfulness is easy when it’s the good stuff…Sunny days, rainbows, new pets, birthdays and school concerts (just to name a few) and somedays it is all we have…or at least that’s how we feel! But the Bible tells us to be THANKFUL IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES (i Thessalonians 5:18) In all honesty THAT IS SUPER HARD.
I once read a book that referred to what the author called “PollyAnna syndrome”, which is finding the good in all things. The Christian author used it in a negative light however, Pollyanna Had the right idea. It’s actually a Biblical principle. So that is what this post is all about. Or t least I’m going to try. Each week we will share our 5 things we are most thankful for!. Some might be simple things but I want to encourage you to go deeper…look for the good in hard things too. It will change how you view your world.
So let’s begin….
I am thankful for sunshine…..and warmth. Yep I know I started off with simple….but wait I will go deeper 🙂 As a person who lives in upstate NY, most of our months are cloudy, and we spend half of the year FREEZING! I also have a touch of seasonal effect disorder so it compounds the problem of dreary- constantly. We are heading into a week long stretch of SUN and mostly sun. It always makes me feel like I am being rejuvenated!!
I am thankful for Dentists who know how to fix broken teeth…Yep you read that right. A few weeks ago there was some playing around…FUN -GIGGLES- PLAYING…then BAM in one split second two teeth broken….I felt Horrible. On Monday this week His teeth were fixed. The look normal. There was a day in time where they would have been pulled and forever be missing his two front teeth. (BONUS: I am also thankful we live in 2016)
I am thankful for NEW adventures. Growing deeper in God’s word is taking me on some new adventures. some of them are very hard. I know though , that at the end of them as long as I have a willing and teachable spirit we will grow into what God has intended all along.
I am thankful for the ability to write. At college I learned my sophomore year that if I spent 30 minutes writing…not my thoughts, but creatively That I could then focus on my homework. it began a practice of journaling that has since been my way to clear my head. At that time it was a pen and a pencil….and looseleaf paper today it takes all shapes and forms. I am by nature a pen and paper girl and I use LOADS of color, but it also looks a lot like my blog too…and the Pages and Chapters s apps on my laptop and iPad….it also looks like ART! growing my my drawing and painting right in my journal.
Homeschooling- Im not gonna lie. It has been HARD . But I have grown and So has our son with Autism. and it’s rewarding to watch and grow and thrive. Especially after so many people said. I couldn’t or that I shouldn’t. And to hear my two older children say….”wow he’s in those books, we never made it that far. Those were for the kids who were ahead!”
And so there you have it….What are you thankful for? I’d love to hear!I
TAKE A NAP! (I did that this afternoon–hubby and I chose a nap over date night–SERIOUSLY) I know it’ s been a few weeks since I’ve written. In all reality I’ve been SWAMPED. It’s been overwhelming to say the least. My kids are ready for spiring break and quite frankly SO AM I!
Since before Easter we have been moving at the speed of light!
I find myself in a really WEIRD place too.
I have all of this great and wonderful ministry stuff going on….
A super cool writing project I’m working on
Mentoring clients at our local Pregnancy center
4 amazing kids who stretch me beyond my abilities….
A women’s ministry beyond anything I ever dreamed of taking off…and I get a front row seat
a Growing thriving drama ministry
Titus 2 being lived out in my life as I mentor a teen in our church.
and for the first time in a long time I can actually step away from the insanity that can be the life with an autistic child and find peace in Silence…silence with my hubby….OR Silence as I am hiding in my craft room typing this 🙂
God and I are taking a journey together this year like never before. I have learned about myself far more in the last 4 months that I think I have in my whole life.
I am an introvert as I have shared before but I am an introvert-Relater.
I can be with people…I like to be with people. I love to serve people. and yet I hit moments where I literally can’t pour out another drop. This last year held some pretty big AMAZING FIRSTS…and this coming year i know will hold the same. But as I move forward, I have realized a few things……
The enemy doesn’t eat me to move forward.
the enemy wants me to fail.
FEAR has crept backing my life…..more on that FEAR in a later post.
I’m my own worst enemy sometimes
I have a whole lot of questions for God…some that may never be answered. and I am okay with that.
I have some to realize the need to breathe and step away…..I need to practice this…and own it.
In those moments of solitude and silence I learn about God…and myself. and through these moments I have begun to relate to God in a whole new way. As I strive to soak up what it means to ABIDE in Christ, I become less overwhelmed and more aware of what Christ wants to do, both in me and through me. Is it easy? No! Can it be stressful? YES Bt I have to be willing to get off the merry-go -round before I dos my cookies! (LOL—Or lose my cool )
So as i sit here tonight in solitude and silence I pray that God will grant peace in the midst of all the amazing things God has for us. Peace that passes all understanding. AsThe fiery darts fly our way I pray that God will protect us, and work in us., Changing our hearts to look more like his. That we could still shine as servants even in the stressful times and remember to take moments of solitude and silence as Christ did. Because even the really neat things can be overwhelming.