David and Shannon

David and Shannon

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful.....an attitude of life.

As we enter this time of year I think it's important to think about how much we're thankful for.

Many of us aware of our blessings at this time of year. But this year I've been reminding myself that gratitude should be a daily  attitude, not just something that's a once a year occurrence. "In everything give thanks" scripture tells us. But do I or most people really do this? No, we get frustrated with work, our families and church. Most of this anger, frustration, and discouragement comes from a lack of a thankful heart. We don't see Gods mighty hand working in the mundane. We miss that even bad days are working good in those who love God. And we allow a complaining, ungrateful and overwhelmed attitude to prevail, shutting Gods blessing out.

Next time you or I have a rough time look deeply. Are you thankful? Have you been displaying gratitude to God and those around? I've found most of my rough days are not a result of issues in my world, it has everything to do with my attitude and approach to them. I can respond in a grateful way or  I can fight, cry and moan about what just happens. If I asked those around us if we were grateful people what would they say? I'm guessing I would not be nearly as grateful as I want, and honestly I'm probably more critical than I ever would want to admit.
How will you exhibit and attitude of gratefulness this year long?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Loving = Food

So my husband told me years ago that I love people through food. As usual he was right. But I had never thought if it that way. Few things in the world touch us so deeply. Certain food smells bring back dear memories. Food nourishes. It sustains. It brings comfort. I guess that is why every Saturday you will find me cooking away....preparing food for our care groups. Today it is cookies and pigs n blankets.
A little bit of love for those in my church.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Looking Back

One of the best ways to be able to face the future is to look back. When I think back 3 years, 6 years, 10 years each of those times had serious trials in store for me. 

9 years ago we were newlyweds sitting in our first apartment out of cash and out of hope. After 9-11 the economy had collapsed and my sweet hubby had lost a job 5 times. We didn't have enough money to buy grocerys and both of our dads were out of work as well. So we gave blood, actually we gave plasma, they gave the blood back (how generous) I think we each made $28. And I cried. I didn't realize how hard it was to make ends meet. The last thing we wanted was to have to move back in with our parents. David was able to start his own company and I was able to get a good job and we survived. Major trial #1 survived.

7 years ago I got pregnant for the first time. I found out I was pregnant because I couldn't stop vomiting all the time. And I really mean all the time. Within the first few weeks I had lost 18 pounds and was deathly ill. We were in the middle of a crisis at the church we worked at and my husbands job was in jeopardy. I was sick and scared. My midwife told me it was in my head. I wish it had been. But it wasn't. After vomiting for 9 months straight and ending up skinnier than I was before pregnancy I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. What a gift. We weren't sure if I was going to survive. We had no family around, no money for the medical bills, and I could barely walk. But we survived. God sustained. We rejoiced. And yes we did it again 3 more times.
Last year, was the toughest yet. It was not a financial crisis, it was not a physical crisis, it was a spiritual war. Accusations were made, battle lines were drawn, votes were taken. I held crying teens who were worried we would have to leave our church. I whispered quietly with my husband about our future so my kids would not be concerned. I battled with anger over people's sinful attitudes and words toward my precious husband. I watched a church split and splinter as years of anger, bitterness and sinful behaviors came bubbling to the surface. I really didn't know if I could do it. Walking into church on Sunday was one of the hardest things I have ever faced. The place that had always been a refuge and growing place for me was now the place of my greatest testing.Then the miracles began. People prayed for us. They called. God gave grace and a miracle started to happen. I felt the bitterness and anger melt away. Compassion and sadness came instead. God granted me patience in the face of false accusations. He taught me that he would be my defense.  Over the past 8 months I have watched as God has restored unity and sense of purpose to our tiny band. We are small but we are strong. We are not afraid to stand for truth. We will defend God's word if it means we have to risk it all. Our job. Our home. Our lives. 

I look back and I am so grateful. I made it. I can look back on my trials with joy and see what great thing God has done. Its a wonderful feeling. Its a beautiful picture of how big my God is. We are still paying off medical bills and debt from those first few hard years. We are still working very hard at a very small church with few hands to carry a large load. But I am confident in this, my God is able. He is strong and He is faithful.