It’s been an interesting, busy week here in neverpictureperfect world, as usual. It was post-marathon week, school’s almost out, I worked two shifts back to back, then Sunday the kids helped lead worship at two services and we had the girls’ piano recital. Despite the busy-ness and productivity of the week, I was having a hard time, feeling quite down, wondering if some circumstances in my life would ever change, or if this was just the way it was going to be, forever. I was spending a good bit of time with the disciples in the boat, looking at the wind and the waves, instead of at least getting out of the boat with Peter, walking toward the Lord. (Matthew 14) Cheery, wasn’t it?
I’ve been memorizing Romans along with Ann Voskamp. I’m a bit behind, I’m sure, but I just finished Romans 1:21-22. After working on it for a few days, it really began to sink in:
For although they knew God they neither glorified God
or gave thanks to him,
but their thinking became futile
and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Verse 21)
It was in those moments that I stopped looking at the circumstances and started looking for blessings from God, and then thanking Him for those blessings, however small–a perfect flower, a 2 minute conversation that encouraged me, a picture from Ethiopia–that I felt my heart and mind renewed. Life without glorifying God and thanking him leads to futile (chaos, confused, desolated) thinking and a darkened, foolish heart. Then Sunday, I was reminded again. The children worked very hard this year and learned, then recited for us all, Psalm 8. Verse 2 was so powerful to me:
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger. (Psalm 8:2)
Praising God establishes a stronghold to silence the foe and the avenger. And what else would the voice of the foe and avenger be saying? Hmmm…since the avenger, the thief came to steal, kill and destroy, I’d say he wants to steal my peace and my faith and my joy.
So, again what may look like a silly exercise of mine on Mondays, listing little gifts I’ve found to be grateful for during the week, is not silly or futile, at least to me. It establishes a stronghold against the enemy who would like nothing more than to watch my heart darken and my thinking become desolated, and for me to stay safe in the boat, instead of stepping out into the winds and the waves, and keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus walk on water toward His outstretched hand. Let’s get out of the boat this week!
My list for the week:
3 gifts in dirt:
- musing on the compost pile–how the death and decomposition of the old life makes way for the new
- irises in bloom!
- dirt under my nails, a productive day in the garden weeding and a surprise–another bleeding heart I thought was dead, smothered by weeds and squashed by the dog was a live and well the whole time!
A gift given, made, sacrificed:
- my little guy making a snack to give out at Scouts
- time I’d rather use for other purposes, but blessed in the offering
3 gifts tasted:
- first tomato caprese salad of the year!
- smoothie made from our own backyard-grown spinach
- amazing avocado, yum….
3 gifts flat:
- seeing the nice, flat, clean floor of the garage after my children cleaned it up, mostly by themselves
- computer screen with words from friends that lift me up
- flat piano keys, being played constantly for Sunday’s recital
3 gifts found in difficult people:
- joy in serving, even those that aren’t particularly grateful 🙂
- a chance to practice my patience
- love in action
3 gifts before 9 a.m.:
- getting work after being called off too many times
- the privilege of working with fun nurses, care-partners, residents, and medical receptionists
- picture in my inbox before work–a nephew I can’t wait to hold in Ethiopia!
A gift in a smile, a sign, and a snack:
- getting a smile and a hug from Papa Don at church
- another sign of spring (can you see a theme this week?), despite the chill and rain for the last few days
- warm gingerbread muffins for the sweet Children’s School of Worship kids and teachers