Wise and Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Gratitude is such a vital part of the Christian faith, and I’m so glad that it’s something that we take a full day to celebrate. We put everything aside and we make time for family and/or rest; I realize sometimes the two are mutually exclusive and that not everyone is able to take a break for the day. But with whatever time we do have for reflection on “what we’re thankful for,” we’re fulfilling the call in the book of Ephesians to “[give] thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” as part of the larger command to “look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

I hadn’t previously thought of the two as being connected, but after we’re told to “walk wisely,” we see a “therefore.” Because of this, it says, do things like understand the will of the Lord, be filled with the Spirit, and give thanks always.

So even though you may be reading this when the day is done and the pie is gone, you haven’t missed your chance! There are endless opportunities for gratitude in “always.”

Each year I try to share a little bit of my “gratitude list” or a few things for which I am particularly thankful (see 20092010, 2011, and 2012), and this year I’m going off-script a bit with things that I haven’t added yet!

I’m thankful for:

– regional trees

– the feeling of familiarity that old music brings

– libraries

– the fact that our bodies let us know when something is wrong

– medical personnel who give us more knowledge than our bodies do when something is wrong

– history and a knowledge of it

– favorite foods

– the way it sounds when my mother and sister are laughing together

– gratitude, and the research base supporting it

– faith, hope, and love; the greatest of which is the lattermost

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Sleepy Songs

This past week, I became rather sick to a temporarily debilitating degree. It was a good lesson in casting my anxieties on the Lord, because I couldn’t even think about school. I just needed to cease the majority of my output of energy and stress (good and bad) and take in a lot of good things, like water and sleep. As such, I haven’t had nearly the time or energy to make a very thoughtful Parakaleo post and would instead like to share with you some of my favorite sleepy songs. One of my favorite genres involves a singer-songwriter with a guitar; I love those simple songs that you can listen to in those quiet moments at 4 in the morning, when you’re the only one awake during a random all-nighter, or when you’re lying in bed overthinking or stressing about something and seeking peace. At some point our bodies and souls just yearn for rest and peace, as they were made to do! I love this image from Isaiah 32:

“And the effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.”

Amen! It’s Christ’s work and perfect righteousness that brings this all about, but it’s such a blessing to be part of the ongoing work (though often messily so) and to be able to reflect Him not only in that, but in our rest as well.

So while my full “Sleepy” playlist includes some Finnish children’s songs, or old favorites that sometimes bring me to tears, here are a few of the ones that calm me down physically while reminding me of the only source of true peace and rest:

You’re Beautiful by Phil Wickham

I see Your power in the moonlit night

Where planets are in motion and galaxies are bright

We are amazed in the light of the stars

It’s all proclaiming who You are

You’re beautiful

Jesus, Lover of My Soul as recorded by Indelible Grace

Other refuge have I none, 

I helpless, hang on Thee; 

Leave, oh leave me not alone, 

Support and comfort me. 

All my trust on Thee is stayed, 

All help from Thee I bring; 

Cover my defenseless head 

In the shadow of Thy wing.

Sweetly Broken by Jeremy Riddle

What a priceless gift, undeserved life

Have I been given through Christ crucified

You’ve called me out of death

You’ve called me into life

And I was under Your wrath

Now, through the cross, I’m reconciled

Home by Switchfoot

All that’s in my head is in Your hands

Over, over; over, take me over

I’ve been poison, I’ve been rain

I’ve been fooled again

I’ve seen ashes shine like chrome

Someday I’ll see home


Sweet and true rest to you all.