Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Just in time...

Wow in the midst of my day...having a stinky attitude and finding it incredibly hard to just be nice and sweet and normal...I read this...isnt it just like our Father to tell us just what we need to hear just as we need to hear it...and to think there are those who do not believe He is a personal God...read His word and get a daily devotion and there will be no doubt left...God is so good...even in our yuck days...we just have to let Him be good...hmmm...wow!
Below is a Sheila Walsh Devotion...it came just in time for me today!!


August 29, 2006

Say Thank You

Were there no God we would be in this glorious world with grateful hearts and no one to thank. Christina Rossetti

Im learning to stop for thankful moments. It's become daily discipline of mine since I found that I was getting overwhelmed by all the daily stuff that "has to get done." Some of the feelings and fears I had before I was hospitalized for clinical depression were niggling at me again, buzzing around me like persistent houseflies. I've learned enough about what makes me tick to pay attention when I feel myself sinking. So I'm learning to stop intentionally throughout every day and lift my heart and soul to heaven and say, "Thank you!" Giving thanks does wonders for my soul. It refocuses me on what's really important so that instead of dwelling on the fact that Christian just tried to flush my new pale blue suede pumps down the toilet, I can celebrate the gift of a child when so many arms are empty. Marcus Aurelius, a first-century Roman emperor, wrote that the most important thing a man can choose is how he thinks. We can dwell every day on the things that are not working and let them drag us down, or we can thank God for the simple gifts of grace he gives us every day if we have a heart to see them. When Barry's mom's liver cancer had spread to the degree that she was receiving in-home hospice care, she told me about the many people who dropped by every day to say "hi" or to bring some crab soup to try to tempt her to eat. "Sometimes you don't stop to think how many good friends you have until a time like this," Eleanor said. That thought sat on my shoulder like a small bird waiting to be fed. One March evening when we were visiting Eleanor in Charleston, Barry and I went out for a drive through the beautiful countryside. Suddenly the idea occurred to me: "Here's what I'd like to do," I said. "We'll have a good photo taken of you and Christian and me and get it enlarged, then cut it into pieces." Barry looked at me as if the strain of his mom's illness had pushed me off a mental bridge. "Like a jigsaw puzzle," I explained. "We'll send a piece of the puzzle to each of our dear friends with a letter telling them why we're grateful to them, what they add to our lives, and how God has used them to fill in the missing pieces in our hearts. Then at Christmastime we'll invite them to a party at our house. We'll ask them to bring their piece, and we'll give them a gift specially chosen to highlight what they mean to us." Barry was still looking at me as if I needed more sleep. I pressed on as we women have to when they don't get it. "At the end of the evening we'll glue all the pieces back together, a visual picture of how our friends have added to our lives and how truly grateful we are for each one of them." "What made you think of that?" Barry asked as we drove across the river. "Don't you think it's a good idea?" I asked him. "Sure I do," he replied, "but what made you think of it?" "I don't really know. Sometimes I just want to find more ways to say 'Thank you."' "So you just thought of that?" Barry pressed. "Yes!" "And you're feeling all right?" "Yes!" I smiled. "It's like what we're trying to teach Christian. We tell him it's not enough just to say 'Sorry' when he does something wrong. Instead we ask him to tell us what he's sorry for. So perhaps it's not always enough to say Thanks, either. We need to say what we're thankful for." As I lay in bed that night after swallowing the two aspirin Barry gave me, I thought about how the same principle applies to our relationship with God. Instead of just tossing off a "Hey, thanks!" now and then as we hustle through life, why not make it a practice to thank him very specifically for his goodness to us? In her book Basket of Blessings: 31 Days to a More Grateful Heart, Karen O'Connor shares her experience with just such a practice. "If you want to be content, to experience peace," a friend had told Karen, "write down your blessings-the things you're grateful for-on slips of paper and put them in a container of some kind. A small basket or box or bag will do. Soon it will be full to overflowing. From time to time look at what you wrote. No one can be discontent for long with so much to be thankful for." In addition to filling a "blessing basket" on a daily basis, we could write a letter to God once a year, listing all that pours out of our hearts for his extravagant grace to us. Think of what a joy it would be to keep our annual letters of gratitude to read through the years or to pass on to our children. Whether our "Thank yous" are momentary, intentional pauses in the midst of a hectic day, thank-you notes to God for his many blessings, or lengthy discourses of his grace, cultivating an attitude of gratitude will remind us of the truth that under girds our lives: "For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations" (Ps. 100:5). Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. - Psalm100:4

1 comment:

Amber Sheree said...

Wow. That's amazing. And what a Cool Idea about the puzzle. I love it. I love you, and you are amazing. How amazing is our God. I heard a story this morning that made me think "He's so faithful". I'm blown away. I'll see you tonight.