Gratitude List

I am thankful for…

1.)  my relationship with my amazing, beautiful, incredible, holy, eternal God

6.) my church family

7.) my friendships outside of the church

12.) beauty

20.) love

29.) smiles

36.) Relient K

37.) C.S. Lewis

42.) waking up this morning alive and well, with Your spirit within me

61.) learning from my pain and my mistakes

66.) the way I am so very easily amused and made happy.

67.) long car rides with my friends

76.) people who are talented in things that I am not

83.) the complex infrastructure known as the female mind

88.) hugs from children that are really them just wrapping their arms around your knees

97.) that there are people whose arms I can run into and feel completely at home

105.) hymns

106.) elegance

118.) successful marriages

119.) having laughed so hard that I’ve cried

136.) jumping, safely, off of really high things, so that you almost feel like you’re flying

152.) apple muffins.  and blueberry muffins.

158.) sentences that you can’t finish because you’re laughing so hard

166.) that I haven’t been desensitized a very great deal; that I can still cry over Beth’s death in Little Women and be horrified by graphic violence

179.) feeling beautiful

194.) that strength is found in weakness, peace in incompleteness; that beauty can be found in the broken; that ashes can shine like chrome

200.) being able to look at the future, see only murkiness, and know that my Best Friend knows *exactly* what is going to happen and that He is working it all

203.) that I tried to stop making this list at 200, but couldn’t resist continuing

207.) my family who’s not really my biological family, but may as well be

223.) prayer- that we can talk to God

These are just a few excerpts from a “Gratitude List” that I keep.  I just sat down one day and wrote down everything that I could think of that I was thankful for, and the list just kept growing and growing.  I really encourage you to make your own!  It’s something wonderful to look back on, and add to, from time to time.  How blessed we are because of Christ!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Psalm 136

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.

His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.

to him who divided the Red Sea[a] asunder
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.

to him who led his people through the desert,
His love endures forever.
who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
and killed mighty kings—
His love endures forever.
Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.
and Og king of Bashan—
His love endures forever.
and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.
an inheritance to his servant Israel;
His love endures forever.

– Psalm 136

I’ve talked before about God telling me things over and over.  Apparently in Hebrew, when something is repeated, it emphasizes the importance of what’s being said.  Like when Jesus says, “Truly, truly I tell you…” He’s really not playing.  Not that He normally was.

Anyway, I’m a little disjointed right now because it’s been a somewhat tiring and frustrating week.  And I need to be reminded of what’s actually important and true.  I love that this passage in Psalms tells the story of a particular relationship with God, through the ups and downs with the constant refrain throughout the whole thing- “His love endures forever.”  The same is true for my story.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.

His love endures forever

Give thanks to the Lord, who called me to Him,

His love endures forever

who is there when I’m hurt,

His love endures forever

who is there when I’m applying to grad school

His love endures forever

who guiding me every step of the way

His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.

His love endures forever.

 

Amen!

Lessons from Doors

I was walking back to lab with my hands full and was pleased to find as I walked up to the set of doors before the stairwell that the door was propped open a very little bit- by what, I didn’t see- just enough for me to comfortably get my fingers in to pull it open.  That door is the most difficult to open on the way back to lab with your hands full because it has a low handle that you have to pull down to open and not just pull out, so that was a nice surprise.

“Thanks, God,” I prayed, saying it as I would to anyone who had held the door open.   Then some snarky part of me added, “Couldn’t have opened it all the way?”

This was immediately followed by an apology for my selfishness and attitude.  He didn’t have to  have the door open at all.  Just then, I rounded the bend to go down the last set of steps, from which point I could see the door to leave the stairwell.  This door is almost always closed, and was the last one that I would probably need to go through before getting to lab.  But instead of being closed, as it had been when I’d left, it was propped wide open.

I love little instances like this where God reminds me of the basic truths of the gospel: Through my sin, I’m completely opposed to everything He is in His perfection, but He loves me anyway, and through faith and life in Him, He redirects me towards a path that leads not towards the death and general nastiness that my sin brings, but rather towards life, and love, and forgiveness for everything from lying or anger to snapping in a way that I shouldn’t at peers, much less the Lord of the universe.

It drew me to 1 Timothy 1, where Paul mentions Jesus’ “immense patience.”  I had found this passage because I remembered Paul referring to himself as the “chief of sinners,” in this translation as “the worst of sinners,” but I suppose I never caught on to the context: “that in me… Christ Jesus might display His immense patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life.”

Here’s more of the passage:

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me trustworthy, appointing me to His service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.  But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

– 1 Timothy 1:12-17

God really does shine through us at our weakest points, perhaps not only when we’re just feeling weak, but when we’re actually demonstrating our weakness through our sin.  I’m thankful that He can do this, and that He does. =)

(Oh Give!)

“Oh, give thanks unto the Lord

For He is good, yes He is good

(Oh give!) Oh, give thanks unto the Lord

For He is good, yes He is good

“For He is worthy, worthy

For He is good, yes He is good

For He is worthy, worthy

For He is good, yes He is good”

And then, if you’re one of my friends in particular: “Break it down now!”

As you may know if you’ve known me for very long at all, I am deeply in love with a little Christian camp that meets for one week in the mountains.  I learned this song there, when we shared the campgrounds with another camp group, who sang this song immediately after praying before each meal.  Our group started joining them in praying and singing right away, and some of us continued even when the other group wasn’t there.

It fits well with the theme of this month- giving thanks.  I noticed on Facebook that some people are doing a daily mention of something that they’re thankful for, so I decided to do the same on my blog, but a weekly mention instead.  Note: Topics mentioned in my thankfulness may make a reappearance as their own post topic in the future. =)

I’m thankful for my family.  Now that I’m getting older and people that I went to high school with are getting married and having children, it makes me think of what it must have been like for my parents when little me skipped along.  They must have been so puzzled about what this little humming, constantly-dancing creature was doing.  And not only did they love me in spite of my oddities, they went so out of their way to give me everything that they could and continue to do so even though I’m not living with them quite as much anymore.  My dear, ridiculous sister is such an encouragement to me as well, and I’m so proud of her for all she’s growing to be.

My family isn’t only biological though, since I’m a part of the amazing body of Christ.  That definitely needs a post of its own, because I’m not sure I can adequately cover right now what exactly it is to be part of this.  What I’ll say for now is sort of a brief summary- it is such a blessing to have the hope, love, and mercy that I find in Christ, and to have a group of friends and even of people that I don’t yet know who are so willing and joyful to support me in growing more like Him and overcoming the trials of this world.

Thank You, Lord, for blessing us as You have!  And please help us to remember items like these even outside of the “Thankfulness Month.”  Lord, You are good.  Thank You.