Saturday, October 23, 2010

Truly Grateful....


The other day I was doing my usual wrestling with my baggage. My "baggage" is everything I cannot let go of and gripe about consistently - if not out loud, certainly in my head. I think I was in the middle of "I have given up so much, and deserve better than...", when a picture of who I really am suddenly popped into my mind. It was not pretty. I saw my selfishness - displayed in many relationships, and my rebelliousness, unfortunately seen in every area of my life...I saw the times I was unkind and ungrateful and mean spirited. Apparently, I try to block these things out - because I was pretty shocked at the truly unlovely me.

It occured to me - I have so much more than I deserve. And I meant it - and still mean it. I deserve nothing - less than nothing, and yet God has blessed me with so much. I have a wonderful husband, who makes me laugh, he plays with our boys and he works hard to provide for us. My kids are amazing. They are so smart and such sweet boys. My Mom and Dad are the most precious folks in the world - willing to do so much and tirelessly so at their retirement age. My mother and father-in-law are much like my mother and father. The support and help they give is such a comfort, and our relationship is amazing. My entire family blesses me - both Andy's and mine - they constantly bring me joy. I love my church family - so blessed by them and their encouragement. We have a wonderful home in a great neighborhood, with amazing neighbors. The public schools my boys go to are full of precious people, and wonderful Christians striving to be salt and light in a world of things gone topsy turvy. I have been blessed with sweet friendships from unexpected places. What is more - this list goes on - and on.

How shameful of me to turn so inward that I cannot see the blessings that are all about me everyday. Apparently, it will be something I have to work hard to avoid. Which would be the consistent counting of my blessings -and remembering that very vivid, ugly picture God allowed me to see at the right time. It certainly brought me up short and nipped the complaining - for now. For a little while anyway, I have things in perspective.

Colossians 2:6-8
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him,
7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Gathering Together


A couple of Sundays ago I went to church. I sat and cried and cried the entire time. My heart would wrench at every word my pastor would say at every note and sweet word in the songs we sang. I knew folks could see me. It was impossible to hide the incredible emotion that was flowing out of me that morning.

I did not want to go to church that morning. I did not because I knew I was overwhelmed with my life and I knew I would cry. It did not matter that I could remind myself of how blessed I was. It did not matter that I love my church and the family of God that is there every Sunday.

I simply had hit the wall of how much I could handle and apparently the tears are a way for me to release that pent up emotion I do my best to stamp down. But sometimes - it just will not stay inside.

Monday morning I got a message in my inbox on Facebook from a friend at church who had sat behind me. I asked her if I could print it and she said yes.

It goes like this:

Friend: I was aching to see you feeling so sad this morning. I hope everything will be OK, whatever it is.

Me: Oh sweet friend - thank you! I have been trying to rationalize my emotions all day. I would like to blame it on this extreme diet I am on (Dr supervised), or just being tired, or just the fact that life just seems to get faster and faster. I am trying so hard to count my blessings, but many times I just seem to fall back into being overwhelmed at this place we are in. We are so blessed though! So this just makes me more upset that I am being so goofy!

I know you know how it feels though. Thank you sweet friend. Your reaching out to me means more than you know!

Friend: I've been feeling pretty down lately, too. Every now and then the feeling rolls around and it's pretty strong. Getting up and going to church has been hard for me lately. This sense of being overwhelmed makes me feel like I don't have time for God or the church and I KNOW I need God to get through "this" but I literally don't see how I can physically do what is required of me. If it weren't for the kids, I'd miss more. We just keep pluggin' away, don't we, and God never leaves us... but it doesn't always feel that way. Yes, our blessings are all around us and I have to keep reminding myself of that as well.

Me: I am so glad to hear you say that. Andy does not understand my not wanting to come to church. But I have struggled mightily with coming. And for the same reason I keep waking up on Sundays and bringing the boys in - usually late. They need to be there....and so do I. I am so glad to hear I am not the only one - and so glad to know that you and I both continue to come in spite of it (another blessing - those children!).

Oh and I totally agree with not seeing how we can physically do what is required. But - yes - we will get up and get done what we can and what doesn't - we will not worry about! At least try not to worry about!

My heart feels lighter now. God is so good. Thank you again! So much!



The conversation went on a bit more - but the above portion was what I wanted to share. How many of us feel that church is just one more thing to do? That God is on our checklist and we do what he asks because it is a duty - when worship and time alone in the Word is a blessing and a gift. And yet - it just doesn't always feel that way.

Duty is not a bad thing. Sometimes it is all that keeps us going - and yet - I want desperately to remember the blessings that come from our gathering together each week to worship and fellowship. It is what keeps my head above water! I don't want to forget that - and I wanted to remind others as well. Come on in to the house of the Lord - you will be refreshed. Count on it.

Hebrews 10:24-25
24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.