Give Thanks for the Greatest Gift

By Thursday, November 26, 2015 0 0

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His face says it all.

So to be honest it felt like we were trapped, not blessed, with these kids this Thanksgiving morning. They are so grumpy, really easily displeased, and they just make a lot of messes. We are all still a little sick and I kept thinking, in between what seemed like a lot of appeasing, frustrated sighing, and discipline, that there had to be someone who could do this better for them because I don’t really like it.

But that’s not really what life is about, right?

“Do you like it? Do it. If you don’t like it, don’t do it!” Well, that’s what life IS like for a lot of people, I guess. But I got on the counter culture path when I met Jesus almost 16 years ago, and my life is not about me.

It’s about Him.

So, sometimes I don’t “like” my responsibilities around having small children. I could have predicted that way before we had them, honestly, knowing myself. But God gave me these babies AND He gave them ME and I love them so so so much even when I don’t LIKE them I would actually die for them.

Thankfully, I don’t have to do that. We don’t even live in a time or place where that is likely to come up. But God did/does. That struggle between living is and liking us and what means definitely came up for Him.

God created us because He wanted us and we messed up (He probably didn’t like it when A&E ate that pomegranate or whatever it was). So He came to earth as the man Jesus and lived a life like the Son of Man and the Bible says he was tempted in every way but never sinned. And then He was found guilty of blasphemy, calling Himself God, even though every evidence declared that was in fact the truth, and He died a gruesome death upon a cross – a death for a criminal – but although men put him on that cross with their sins and their hands, He actually gave Himself up because of what it would accomplish.

Which is what? A repaired relationship between God and His children who keep messing up. God is so holy and perfect, we would die in his presence. He couldn’t bear that, so Jesus (equal to God) died instead. And then he rose from the dead, conquering death and therefore canceling the punishment forever, and then ascended to heaven to sit with God. Now they wait patiently for every man to put his trust in Jesus for salvation – the repair of that broken relationship. He is patient because it is His will that none should perish!

And when we do put our trust in Jesus, we are recognizing our immense need for Him and the chasm it puts between us and God. And Jesus says to us, you are whole now. You are worthy. God loves you and He wants to be with you, even when you’re weak. Especially when you’re weak (while we were still sinners, Christian died for the unrighteous)!

And then we put off or old self and take up Christ, and sometimes that’s hard because when we’re mad and we don’t like our kids, the Holy Spirit who inhabits me now convicts me, saying, you’re not acting like your true self. Your true self loves these children muchly. Your true self wants to be with them even in their weakness.

Oh. Yes.

I belong to Jesus, now. He cannot help but make me more like Himself because it’s for the best. It’s best for me, it’s best for my children, it’s best for God’s other children.

And my children are the best tool for that transformation right now.

And, as hard as it is, I do like that! I want to be more like Jesus so I will thank Him when it’s hard.

Simple Gratitude

By Thursday, November 27, 2014 0 0

This year we had a simple Thanksgiving, combining our families with our sister-in-law’s family. Chris and I are eating Whole 30 compliant, so we made our own turkey (oil and vinegar on the outside, apples, rosemary and thyme on the inside) and brought roasted sweet potatoes to share. It was good enough although I was really craving pumpkin pie and a cup of coffee after dinner.

I didn’t take any photos today, which I know I’ll regret when I’m putting together my 2014 photo book, but it was a really simple day at home and with family. What I really appreciate about that is that we made an effort to talk more about what we’re thankful for, which made the day more lovely. Thankfulness can turn a normal, even mundane day into a holiday.

♥ the story God is writing for us
♥ His provision over the last year
♥ new and longtime financial partners in our ministry
♥ the amazing things God is doing at the church plants in Spain
♥ our sending church, Eastgate Bible Fellowship
♥ our home, which has served us so well for almost 10 years
♥ the vehicles we drive, which were both gifts that came at just exactly the right time
♥ we are no longer waiting for our tax refund
♥ our healthy, happy children
♥ Susanna whose imagination has blossomed over the last couple months
♥ Austin who dances to his glow worm, sometimes with his bum sticking up in the air
♥ our nephew Ryan who makes us all proud by doing well in school and having fun at AWANA
♥ our niece Elizabeth Grace who met Jesus before she met any of us but still left her mark on my life
♥ sweet friends, old and new
♥ our neighbors upstairs who also happen to be best friends
♥ creative genius friends who designed a custom Christmas card for us (coming soon!)
♥ Bible Study Fellowship: the people, the study, the organization
♥ loving grandparents near and far
♥ that we can find the food we want to eat (and that we want to eat the food we find!), that we can afford it, and that we can make changes to the state of our health through the food we eat
♥ our privileges as Americans
♥ prayer and how it draws us close to God
♥ books and reading
♥ Christ’s servants who risk their lives and suffer around the world for His name to be glorified (I think specifically of Pastor Saeed)
♥ people who pray for us
♥ things that help make our lives more beautiful: Pinterest inspiration and branches in vases and fun dishes and pictures on the wall
♥ this green corner of the world

Thankfulness in 2011

By Thursday, November 24, 2011 0 0

♥ learning to abound in thanksgiving
♥ 21 weeks with our sweet daughter
♥ a marriage rooted in faith in Christ
♥ financial partners
♥ this book and blog, which is changing my life:

one

♥ Pinterest, for creating a beautiful place on the internet
♥ friends who care
♥ blog readers
♥ provision and a time of stretching
♥ prefield struggles and blessings
♥ a (secret) Facebook group for prefield missionaries
♥ a baby who is a good sleeper
♥ our sweet kitty cat
♥ a warm home
♥ family near and far
♥ the coming Christmas season
♥ an amazing sending church
♥ high school students who ask tough questions
♥ our weekly babysitter who allows us to continue to do youth ministry
♥ my Moms n Tots group
♥ God’s Word

What are you thankful for this year?

Happy Thanksgiving 2010!

By Wednesday, November 24, 2010 2 0

Tomorrow I have a feeling I will post a late-night picture of my cherry cobbler, gluten-free stuffing, or my grandma’s turkey.

Today, I’d like to share some of the things I am thankful for this year. Please join the conversation and tell me – what are you thankful for?

  • warm house
  • flexible job and not worrying about making it through the snow
  • fun job that allows me to serve underprivileged and needy families throughout Washington
  • family nearby
  • family far away
  • the internet’s provision of recipes for foods my husband loves, gluten- and dairy-free
  • Chris learning that gluten and dairy were what was making him so sick all the time
  • my camera
  • our prefield journey and all the lessons we’ll learn and people we’ll meet
  • Eastgate Bible Fellowship
  • the opportunity to serve in youth ministry
  • love

Never Too Late for Giving Thanks

By Sunday, November 29, 2009 0 0

We had a busy Thanksgiving week with a youth dinner Wednesday, Thanksgiving with my family Thursday, and traveling to Eugene on Friday for more with the other side of my family. I tell you, traveling on Friday and Saturday is the way to go. We made the trip without seeing any traffic at all.

This Thanksgiving I was really grateful for the blessing of being close to family. Some day we might forget about Thanksgiving, considering in Spain it’s just another Thursday, but while we’re here, we make family a priority on this day, if not every day. I am thankful that we are welcomed lovingly, that we can share a meal together without drama, and that we have much to share with each other because we are comfortable with each other.

Chris and I listed some things we are thankful for as we were falling asleep on Thursday night. Among them:

  • each other
  • our church
  • the opportunity to serve God in Spain
  • our jobs
  • our condo
  • that we have food on the table
  • being close to our families
  • Ryan, our adorable nephew
  • that we can have two cars
  • that we are debt free and the gifts that allowed to be so (we weren’t always)
  • our sweet cat and the ability to take him to the vet when we need to
  • that this world is not our home
  • the high school kids we serve
  • that we are entrusted with serving them
  • making love (you want to feel close to your spouse? Make love.)
  • our health
  • our health care
  • our vote
  • democracy and capitalism
  • the lessons we learned in the last year about money, priorities and God’s provision
  • our troops
  • that we don’t have to visit my dad in prison anymore
  • Angel Tree Ministries
  • our upcoming vacation to Alaska
  • Bible Study
  • that we are free to study the Bible
  • Jesus

Thanks for reading my list. What are you thankful for?