Tag Archive | thankfulness

Joy-Filled

JOY3

We all desire joy. We crave a joy-filled life.

Such a small word, with such an enormous purpose.

To have joy means to be thankful and content in its entirety with what God has given. To have joy means to leave no room for hate, discontentment, or doubt. To live a joy-filled life means to see day-by-day life as an opportunity to praise our heavenly Maker for each and every gift He gives, every prayer He answers, and every moment He allows us to live.

That is joy.

Being filled with the light and love of God is joy.

How, then, do we grasp this thing called “joy”? I believe it starts with another simple yet meaningful word: thankfulness.

Being thankful for that basket of laundry to fold. Being thankful for that sink-full of dirty dishes. Being thankful for the glorious sunrise that smiles on us each morning. Being thankful for the birds singing to greet us, “good morning“.

When we are thankful for what we have because of the grace of God, we will truly experience a joy-filled life. No, it is not something that is instant. It is a moment-by-moment choice to keep our eyes on God and His will for us. If I want to truly live joyfully, I must recognize and be thankful for the small, every day blessings that God has so graciously given me. It is work. I’m not going to lie. Because to be joy-filled means to keep our eyes on God and thank Him and praise Him even when everything around us is crashing down, blowing up, and we feel burnt out. To not become satisfied with self-pity and give in to the ever present desire to put me first takes a strength not found in a mere human heart. It takes a power and certain strength not in this world, but above it. It takes an All-Powerful God.

But through prayer and focus on His righteousness, we can come to experience this thing called “joy” only found in His arms.
We can truly live a joy-filled life.

A Grateful Heart

Blog Post- A grateful heart

The past few days I have encountered the topic of gratefulness. Whether through a passing remark by a friend, or reading something, or even a conversation, I sit here trying to think about something to write to you about and keep going back to that: gratefulness.

The Importance of Gratefulness

When should we be grateful? 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Being grateful for everything is possibly the hardest thing to do. If we were honest with ourselves I think we would say that even the things that aren’t all that bad are things we still aren’t grateful for. Those are the things we take for granted. We all do it. I do it. Human beings are not naturally grateful creatures. It’s something we have got to ask God to help us with. And it takes effort. I know from personal experience that you cannot just say, “Dear God, please help me to be grateful for this, this, and this” and expect it to work; because the next thing you know I’m grumbling about that thing or person I just asked to be grateful for.

It is not possible to reap the full benefit of anything God gives you – circumstance, possession, relationship – if you are not grateful for it. And that right there should be enough for all of us to want to learn to be grateful for every thing God has given us. We are responsible for utilizing each and every gift to the best of our abilities for the glory and honor of God our Father.

It is a truly remarkable thing to think of all I am blessed with, and it is my prayer that I can learn to be more grateful for each of them in the future.

So how do you practice gratefulness?

Here are four ways to help us incorporate a little more gratitude into our attitude:

  1. Prayer. If you know me, you know my first answer is always prayer! Long-term gratefulness is a daunting undertaking. It is something that we as sinful human beings cannot accomplish ourselves. So the only way we could get going and/or keep it up      is through constant prayer.
  2. Count your blessings. Just like the hymn goes. Go ahead, do it! I promise you it will put you into a good mood. If you’re thinking, “Okay, I’ve got to snap out of this cranky mood,” start thinking of all the good in your life –  all of your blessings – and that will help.
  3. Surround yourself with positive people. The people you spend the most time with are the people who will influence you the most. So be with encouraging, uplifting family and friends who will help you stay positive and grateful.
  4. Bible memorization. Psalms is jammed full of chapters on thankfulness. Memorize some of them and recite them throughout the day. Even consider a memory buddy to do it with you, which would also be good for accountability.

This may seem like a short list of things you already have thought about. But if you make an effort to do a few, if not all of them daily, what a difference it could truly make!

And what about bad situations – are we grateful for those?

This past weekend I became pretty sick with a stomach virus. I was laid up in bed for the better part of three days and for about 24 hours of it I was absolutely miserable. I shared some kind things that some of my siblings had done for me and a friend told me that they loved how I looked for the good in that situation. Now, before you think I’m trying to toot my own horn, I’ve got to tell you that I wasn’t feeling grateful at all. At least about being sick (I was, however, grateful for the things that my siblings did for me). But it got me thinking about how we are told to be grateful for all things. Every single thing that we encounter is something to be grateful for. How do you be grateful for a stomach virus? Well, that’s hard. I think of the things that happened because of my being sick, like my little brother’s and sister’s acts of kindness towards me. They knew I wasn’t feeling well so they thought of something kind to do for me because they loved me. I’m so grateful for that!

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of gratefulness in a bad situation comes from Corrie ten Boom’s book The Hiding Place. In it she tells of when she and her sister were put into a German camp (World War II time period) and there were fleas absolutely everywhere. Betsie, Corrie’s sister, told her to give God thanks for everything, including the fleas. Corrie thought her sister was crazy, but later on found out that because the fleas were so bad the guards of the camp stayed away as much a possible, enabling the ten Boom sisters to share the wonderful love of their Heavenly Father with the other women in the camp every day they were there!

What an incredible example of gratefulness! I was blown away the first time I heard that story. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus…”

It is the will of God that you give thanks in every. single. situation. in which you find yourself.

 

Is this an easy thing to do? Not at all!

Is it worth it? It is one of the most worthwhile things you could do!

The world needs to see more gratefulness and through that they will see God’s love. It is work. It is a choice. Every single day you have to choose to be grateful. No, I don’t mean just you. Let it start with me! I want to choose gratefulness… thankfulness… JOY! A life of joy is one that is full of contentment and peace. I don’t want to miss out on that and I don’t want you to, either.

Dear Lord, please help me to wake up every morning and choose to have a grateful heart. Help me to count my blessings and be nothing but grateful for them. Please show me how to give thanks in every situation, even in the bad because I have no idea how it could impact me or someone around me in the future. Only You can.

A Season of Thankfulness (Days 2-4) Plus DIY Cornucopia

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Today I have the next three days of my eleven days of thankfulness leading up to Thanksgiving. And I also have a fun November activity I recently did with my siblings: cornucopias made from ice cream cones!

 

First, here is day two:

I am thankful for my Daddy. He is a true hero in my life. Ever since I was little we have always been close. He is THE biggest sports fan, and taught me everything I know about all things sports. We have always used that as our bond from when I was little. He would take me to Seattle Mariners games when we lived in Washington, I would tag along when he had church softball practices, and watch baseball and basketball games all the time with him. But he is SO much more than just a sports fan. He is a true gentleman. I am thankful for the little things he does for me personally and the family. I am thankful for the opportunity to watch him while growing up on how a husband should treat his wife. He holds doors open for everyone, helps my mom out of the car everywhere they go, waits for her to get her food when they are at restaurants to pray over their food – together. And those are just a few of the gentleman-like things he will do. I am thankful that he is such a good leader of his famiy. Sure, no family is perfect. But he does a pretty darn good job because he loves the Lord. I am thankful that he honestly tries to understand what the Lord’s will is for the family. I am thankful that he loves us and is so proud of all of his children, and I try very hard to deserve it. I am thankful that he is MY daddy.

And yes, I am an adult and still call my dad “daddy”.

 

And day three:

I am thankful for my Momma. I can’t even begin to tell you all how much about her I am thankful for – but I’ll try. She is, hands down, the most incredible woman in the world. I have been so blessed to learn from her through walks and talks, but also through the opportunities to just watch her daily. She gives so much for me and my family. She has encouraged me in my wa…lk with the Lord and in growing into a godly woman. I am thankful that the Lord blessed her with a way with words. She knows exactly what to say to me when I need it. I am so thankful that she is not only my momma, but my dearest friend. I am thankful that she has given me so many of her own passions. A love for life, which is why I volunteer at the Crisis Pregnancy Center. A love of learning and reading. Because she decided to keep her many children at home and teach them herself in a loving, caring environment, I have, from an early age, known that I want to follow in her footsteps and homeschool my own children someday.
Growing up, she has taught me that the greatest role/blessing God has given woman is to make a house a home and to love and nurture all who come into it. And for that, I am thankful. She has such faith and strength, and I am blessed to have her as my role model for what a godly wife and mother should look like.

 

 

DIY Thanksgiving Cornucopia-

DIY Cornucopia

These cornucopias make adorable “harvest time” or Thanksgiving gifts. They’re great crafts for the kids and you can stuff they with pretty much anything you like – just as long as it’s small enough to fit in them! So have fun with it!

Here is what you will need to make your cornucopias:

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Ice cream cones

Cup of warm water

A pencil

M&M’s

Plastic wrap

Ribbon

Microwave

Here’s how to make them:

Soak the end of your cone in the warm water for 1 minute. Next, microwave it for 30 seconds. Then, use the pencil to curl the end of the cone to give it that cornucopia look and hold if for about 20 seconds.

Fill it with M&M’s and cover and tie with plastic wrap and ribbon!

 

 

And last, but not least: Day four:

I am thankful for my Aunt Becky. She has lived with me and my family almost as long as I’ve been around. I grew up with her as part of the (living in the same home) family, and I am so thankful for that fact. She is such a hard worker and is so dedicated to me and the rest of my siblings along with my parents. I am thankful that she doesn’t *just* live with us, either…. She puts in a lot of effort, just like the rest of the family, to make this house a home. She helps with chores, shopping, and is an incredible cook. She makes a mean pot of chili! I am thankful that she has always been there for us. I am thankful that she truly loves us, and probably spoils us a little more than she should – but again, I am thankful

A Season of Thankfulness (Day One)

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The past few days I have been trying to think of something to write about. I have some topics I would like to write on, but nothing was coming to me and nothing felt quite right. Well, last night I started writing something on thankfulness – and it actually wasn’t even for my blog. It was for something I wanted to share on my Facebook wall. But as I was finishing it up, I thought it was something rather perfect to share here on my blog. So here I go.

While being thankful is something we should be all year round, I really like that November has become a whole month dedicated to reflecting on the things we are thankful for. Looking at our blessings is a blessing in itself. It forces us to realize just how much we really have. And I have so much to be thankful for.

On Facebook, people like to write a status a day all through the month of November on something they are thankful for each day. I personally think that is a really neat idea, however I haven’t participated in it. I thought it would be cool to do a little twist on things and only do eleven days leading up to that wonderful day of Thanksgiving. Each day write about people I am thankful for (my family) and why.

Day One:

November 17, 2013:

When giving thanks, I must always begin with my Heavenly Father. Without Him there is nothing else. And through Him there is everything good, and perfect, and wonderful. I am thankful for His faithfulness, goodness, and love. I am thankful that this past year God did not allow me to go down the path I thought was for me – studying away at college. But instead, living at home, allowing me the privilege of investing in my siblings’ lives, continuing to learn from my wonderful parents, and blessing me with the jobs of piano teacher and babysitter for a bit of money. There are so many ministry opportunities I have been able to take hold of because of where I am, where God has placed me in life. I am thankful that He can see the big picture. My life is planned out by a beautiful, creative God. And He is always leading me – in every tiny detail – toward my future. And for me, that is comforting. I am a huge planner. And I need to know the whole picture. But He is patient with me and helps me release that “need”. And I am thankful for that.

Furthermore, I am thankful that I have a God who loves little ole me – a sinner who fails daily – more than all of His other creations. More than the tall, majestic mountains. More than the enormous, innumerable stars in the sky that sing out praises to His glorious name. I am thankful that I have a God who loved me so much that He was willing to give His one and only Son, Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior, to die for MY sins. Me. A sinner who fails daily. What a love. What a beautiful, unending, undeserved love. Thank you, Lord.

Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.