Monday, April 28, 2014

Choosing Gratitude

It is such a simple thing. In the grand scale of life it really doesn't matter at all.  But for some reason on this day I made it matter a lot and that set off a progression of emotions that were just out of control.

I had to wait to take a shower.  And if that wasn't bad enough, once I finally got in there to take a shower there was no towel. By the time I tracked down a clean towel to use someone was in the bathroom again! So, again I had to wait!  I finally got into the bathroom to take a shower only to discover there was no hot water! Really! This can't be happening.

Now I was not only in a bad mood, but I still had greasy hair. And for the rest of the day, nothing went my way. Charlie didn't nap long enough. My kids didn't finish their school work. My husband thought I should just get over it. And to top it off...I could not find any chocolate in the house ANYWHERE!

When a family of 12 lives in a house built for a family of 4, there are going to be challenges. And not having enough bathrooms has been one of those challenges. Waiting to use the bathroom is nothing new, in fact we have become quite used to it, almost to the point of thinking we could totally live in a house with only 2 bathrooms. Until I have a moment like I just described.  And then I decide that no matter where we live, I want my own bathroom...even if I have to go outside to use it. (And if my husband reads this he will say that is totally doable!)

By that evening I couldn't stand myself.  My mood was just ridiculous!
"Lord, what is the deal with me?"
His response was very simple, yet so profound (because he is God and I'm not) because it forced me to look in the mirror and see what I was doing.
He said, "What are you thankful for?"
Plenty!  I'm thankful for so much!  My life is so full & blessed! But why can't we just have a house & have one with plenty of bathrooms?
What are you thankful for?
Ok, I get it.  I'm thankful we have a bathroom, with water (even if it is cold) and a toliet & tub.

I was choosing what to be thankful for & that isn't how it goes!  
True Gratutude doesn't choose, it just is.

Of course, the benefit of choosing to just be grateful was huge & a sweet blessing not just to me but to my family.  They liked me more. I was happy & cheerful. And I liked myself too.  And, my whole perspective reflected the attitude of Jesus in that I chose to see the blessings in my day instead of dwelling on the challenges and trials.

The next time I heard someone grumble about waiting to get into the bathroom I stopped them. Choose to be grateful we have a bathroom.

Are you choosing what you are grateful for?  Or are you choosing to just be grateful!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Overwhelmed by His Grace

It's Good Friday.

Our day really hasn't been much different that most Friday's.  But yet it is.  
My Bible reading this morning took me back to the events that lead up to Jesus arrest, crucifixion and death. If I'm not careful I can read that like I read most books.  Just looking at the words, not taking it in.

I recieved a message from a friend this week who spoke about her son who is autistic and really has a hard time this time of year.  He gets very emotional when he reads the scriptures about Jesus death.  He cries and is very upset. He struggles with separating the past from the present and even though his parents assure him that Jesus is not dead, his emotions are over whelming as he reads what Jesus went through.

I have to side with Jeremy on this one.  I can't read those words without becoming emotional.  And I pray that never changes.

Are you humbled by his life and death?  It was all done for you.

If you can read the account of Jesus death without your emotions being stirred, I challenge you to re-read it & use your imagination.  Put your self in that crowd.  Smell the smells.  Hear the cursing and yelling.  Watch the beating done by the Roman soldiers who literally didn't know who they were beating.

16 The soldiers took Jesus into the courtyard of the governor’s headquarters (called the Praetorium) and called out the entire regiment. 17 They dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head. 18 Then they saluted him and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 19 And they struck him on the head with a reed stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship. 20 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified. Mark 15:16-20

As horrible as it is to read what was done to Jesus, what a blessing to know the story didn't end there.  

Sunday we celebrate the rest of the story.  We rejoice that sin was conquered and God's plan for salvation was accomplished.

Let this resinate in your soul. 
Immerse yourself in the beauty of God's love for you and the wondrous grace that covers you.  
Let it overwhelm you like it does Jeremy. His love for Jesus should insire us all to respond in the same way.

By the way, April is Autism Awareness Month & I am so thankful for the special people the Lord has placed in our lives that bless us and inspire us to love the Lord.