Gifts Received

There have been some specific times in my life, when I've known wholeheartedly, that the Lord is trying to work something in me.  When He orchestrates details and weaves my days together in a fashion that could only be attributed to Him.  Repeated themes.  Timely phone calls.  Forced circumstances.  Truth told in love.  The soil of my heart being tilled and fertilized and made ready...
Ready for the planting He is about to do.
Have you experienced this too in your walk with Him?  I bet you have.  Often, it's not until I'm almost at the end of His work that I even realize He's been behind it all.  When a truth finally penetrates deep and leaps off the page, I start to reflect and recount the "coicindences" that have led me to this place and then I know.  Nothing was a coincidence after all. 
He did it.  He opened my eyes.  He caught my attention.  He revealed things I'd left covered, hidden.  And not to shame me, but to show me a better way.  To show me His love for me.  His uncounted blessings that I miss.  As I turned the last page of this book this morning, I couldn't help but share with you one of the MANY things He has opened my eyes to in this. 
I don't even know where to start and at the risk of using a very over-used/abused cliche, I can tell you that this book has been life changing. 
The woman who closed it this morning is not the same woman who opened it weeks ago. 
To the Glory of God. 
I plan to write more about this in the future, but for now I will just say this: 
Buy this book, sit down with a pen and read it.  Soak it up.
You will not regret it. 
Central to its theme is the practice of counting blessings. 
Seeing them.  Recording them.  Thanking God for them.  Trusting God in them.  Becoming a blessing in them. 
Life changing, I'm telling you.
So as I've been doing for a few weeks now, I looked around my little 12x15 living room this morning and I began to count.  To capture.  I didn't let myself start listing big things, obvious things, but rather in this "mess" before me, what could I look to and see as nothing but grace?  A gift from my Savior to me?
It seemed silly to take out my camera, but it's amazing what the lens of a camera will allow you to see...
A favorite mug, holding a favorite drink.
Simple joy every morning.
A call to sip slow, to enjoy, to close my eyes and rest.
The prayer chair.
A place that's mine, where my "tools" collect and where I most like to commune with the Lord.
My aunt had a prayer chair.  I can still picture her in it.  Doing the same thing I do,as many women do. 
It sits in my cousin's house now, recovered, but still referred to as "the prayer chair." 
Knowing the discipline to sit here is not of me, but Him.  The reward of dwelling here?  Sweet.
Books to read.
3 here and many more after they're done.
Wisdom and tools for a weary Mom.
Clean laundry.  Folded and ready for shelves to hold.
Soft, silky baby blankets.
Blue blankets for the little boy who was given months ago.
Dreams fulfilled.
Shiny buckets of chalk.
Creativity in a basket.
The early work of my little Van Gogh.
Time spent with her here.
"Sit down, Mama?"
The discipline of being still with a child.
The joy of thinking, "Is it just me or is she trying to spell M-O-M??"
Sweet smells that fill a home.
Finding an escape yes, within my own home.
A husband who loves candles burning.
This picture that stares at me every day.
And almost 8 years later, a heart that still skips a beat at the sight of him.
Thinking about the God-story that led us from two parts of the country to another, to meet.
Forgiveness and love that is not of us, to overlook offenses daily. 
Happily Ever After?
By choice.
And this is a gift.
Not perfect, just lots of room for grace.
 "Daddy's Bible"
Well worn pages, sections that fall out, years invested.
Chicken scrawl from the one who reads it daily.
Baskets in every nook and cranny, overflowing with toys.
We have toys?
Because we have kids.
A plastic farm that brings untold joy to a little girl and a little boy.
 The 20 minutes of peace it allows their Mom and Dad.
Who knew?
The little scarecrow he grabs for first, every single time.
A bright yellow, friendly-looking scarecrow.
A gentle rain that showers the earth and makes all things new.
And green.
Trees that grow and bloom and smell divine, right outside our windows.
A gently used gift from a friend, to us.
Upon first sight by Ava, loved.
Referred to as her "motorcycle."
"Push me Mama?  Push me Daddy?"
Music to the ears.
Frames filled with life.
Monograms on velvet pillows that represent a family formed.
A Little boy who wakes from his naps with joy in his heart and a grin on his face
A little boy in blue Easter jammies.
A little boy!
Realizing that one of the main threads of the book, which has penetrated my heart deeply, has been sitting in my living room for years. 
Calling me to do what He has done. 
The thing that brings gratitude, invites trust, opens eyes, empties us and fills others, and results in communion with our God.


In everything today, in everything this morning, in everything right now...thank you Lord.
You've showered me with gifts already today and I am receiving them as pure grace from you, for me.


Manda (+2) said...

I read her blog all the time, and I put that book on my list just yesterday. sounds great!

Jay, Leslie and William said...

What a wonderful post. Thank you...needed this today.

Toni :O) said...

Oh golly, definitely one of my favorite posts you've done! Your wedding picture is just gorgeous and pure joy, I can tell! Keep smiling cause you always make me smile when I check in on your sweet family! :O)

Darla said...

I appreciate this post, because it is something I think every Christian needs to be reminded of. Thanklessness is sin. We (especially God's children) have oodles to be thankful for. My favorite professor in college started out every day of every class asking us student what we were thankful for that day. After expressing them, we would then pray and thank God. Sure, partially it was the psychologist in him, but I think it was mainly driven by his being a Christian. He always told us to start each day or each task writing down things you are grateful is transforming what a right perspective will do.