Thankfulness

Photo by Cindi Albright (Creative Commons)

Are you thankful? I mean really, truly thankful? Merriam-Webster defines “Thankful” as:

1. conscious of benefit received

2. expressive of thanks

3. well-pleased : glad

This month, our church is doing a series through the book of Psalms. This morning, we focused on Psalm 71. While the Psalm does not necessarily say “Thank You” to God, the psalmist does list many of the things the Lord has done for him. It is evident through the words that this man is thankful.

At the end of today’s sermon a question was asked that resonated with my soul, and was actually quite convicting.

Are you a thankful person? Do you compliment more than you complain? Is the cry of your heart one of thanksgiving to God?

Ouch. Personally, I know that I try to live my life in a way that shows my thankfulness…but I know that I have days where I complain a lot. I pray that those days are few and far between, because when I look at my life, I have so much for which to be thankful. Here are just a few of my many blessings:

My salvation through Christ

My amazing family and friends

My handsome husband

My beautiful daughter

My home

Food to eat and clothes to wear

My church families – from all of the churches I have been privileged to be a part

The list could go on.

What are 3 things for which you are thankful today?

Challenge for the week: Let’s try to compliment more than we complain.

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Mom…

Photo by Angela (Creative Commons)

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. I’ll be honest and say that my family really doesn’t do much to celebrate this particular holiday (or the dad’s equivalent next month), but that doesn’t mean that we don’t love the moms in our lives. Here are just a few things about my mom that make her special:

  • She loves my sister & me unconditionally. Even when we did the dumbest things, we knew that she would still love us. Sure…she would dole out the appropriate discipline, but I never once doubted her love
  • She was willing to discipline us when we messed up. If that meant we didn’t get to play with friends, missed out on driving privileges, got grounded from all activities other than church and school, or received a spanking. If my mom said “If you do that one more time, you’re going to _______”, we got whatever was at the end of that sentence.
  • She let us be kids…even when it meant we made a mess or broke something. I vividly remember that we had these HUGE pillows (I have no idea where they came from or what their intended purpose was). I used those pillows as my gymnastics landing mats, as I did flips and jumps off the stairs, couches, or floor. One day, while doing a handstand against the wall, my hands slipped out from under me and my rear end went through (yes, through) the wall. There was a giant hole in the wall…much bigger than my behind. Sure…my mom was upset…but if I remember correctly, she also laughed once she knew I was OK.
  • My mom still lets me call her “Mommy”. At almost 34 years old, “mom” just doesn’t fit…
  • My mom was my parent when I was a child, and now that I’m an adult, and a mom, she is my friend.
  • I haven’t even begun to calculate the hours I know she spent praying for us, with us, and over us. And the example she set in living out her faith.
Thanks, Mommy, for being you. I’ve always been, and always will be a “Mommy’s-girl” at heart. 🙂

What about your mom? In the comments, tell me something that makes your mom special.

Patience for my Mommy Heart

Photo by Jake Bellucci (Creative Commons)

Have you ever prayed for patience, then regretted it as soon as the words came out of your mouth? I have. Why? Because I know that the way the Lord teaches me patience is by putting me smack in the middle of a situation that requires patience.

Just the other day, we decided to start Potty Training, Round 2 with our 2 1/2 year old. The night before our 3-day journey began, my husband prayed that God would give me patience through the process. I very audibly, and very irreverently, sighed “Great“. After the prayer was over, I looked at him and asked if he knew what he had done. I truly believed he’d set us up for MAJOR failure on day one.

I am SO thankful to say that I was wrong. I honestly don’t know if God gave me an extra dose of patience that day, or if day one was truly not as in-need of patience as I expected. I do know that throughout the process, I have been able to catch myself pre-loss-of-patience, then refocus and move on. That has been a HUGE blessing to me…and I’m sure to my daughter as well.

I do believe that my daily Scripture reading has been an important part of my increased patience through this process. Almost every morning, it seems I am waking up before my daughter. As I lie in bed, mentally preparing myself for the day to come and trying to pry my eyes open, I turn on my iPod, open the Bible app, and read 4 chapters from the Psalms. And every single day, it seems that there is one verse, sometimes two, that jumps out at me. Usually something about God being my salvation, redeemer; or about His love and peace… I am so thankful for His reminders every morning!

A few of my favorite verses from the last few days (taken from the English Standard Version):

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. Psalm 13:5

Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14

Why I Need Community

Photo by Páris Neto (Creative Commons)

Community. What is it? Do we need it? Why?

To me, community is a group of people with whom I can truly be myself. It is that small circle of friends where we can share our deepest hurts, our greatest joys, our smallest details, and our biggest mistakes…all in the safety that comes from knowing we’ll be loved no matter what.

Do we need community? My answer to that question is a resounding YES! I believe every single person needs community in their lives. Why? Because we all need to know that no matter what happens, we are loved, valued, and encouraged. We need a place where we can be true to our broken, imperfect selves.

I wear a mask that says I have it all together. I am a Christ-follower, wife, mom, daughter, friend, sister. I am a Mary Kay Consultant, former teacher and tutor, dreamer, blogger, family chef, and potty-trainer. I want people to think all of these areas of my life are GREAT! Unfortunately, reality paints a different picture. My house is a mess, my laundry is piled high waiting to be folded. My doubts and fears stop me from pursuing my dream. I yell and cry when I’m angry, clam up when I’m sad. I am far from perfect…and I’d venture to guess you are, too.

This is why community is so important! My community of close friends knows my imperfections, and they love me anyway. They know my strengths, and support me as I use them to serve God and others. These friends also know my weaknesses, and encourage me as I step out of my comfort zones and do things I’m not necessarily good at. They are people I can turn to when I have messed up. They may even be the ones to point out my brokenness, and that’s OK because I know they will also be the people used by God to help put me back together.

Community does not require us to be perfect, it simply requires that we be present. 

What about you…why is community important in your life?