Monday, March 28, 2011

One year later...

Sometimes, when I'm grumpy or down in the dumps, my husband suggests we play what he calls the "Blessings Game." This means that we take turns thanking God for things. Invariably, its difficult for me at first because I stubbornly want to sulk, but eventually it turns my mood around and puts my heart back in the right place - thanking the One who is worthy of praise no matter what is happening. But today I need no encouragement to play the Blessings Game. My heart is completely overwhelmed with praise!

Thank you Jesus!

... that I am even in the place to praise You, to talk to You, to know You. For new life, for life that lasts forever with You. For calling me out, picking me up, and placing me on solid rock that has held me steady through all kinds of storms and sunny weather alike.

... for reminding me to pray constantly over those years, for giving me all the strength and persistence neccessary to keep praying for him even in the face of hurt, rejection, discouragement, hopelessness, and exhaustion.

... for never giving up on Your lost sheep. For going and getting him from his dark pit and bringing him into the light. For giving him a brand new redeemed, restored life with You.

... for allowing me to witness (all at once!) years worth of tearfully fervent prayers get answered right before my eyes. For letting me be there to see You crumble a hardened heart and replace it with a heart of flesh.

... for remaining so faithful to me and to Your perfect plan for us, even through my many periods of shameful faithlessness. For being so patient with me, and never letting me wander too far off course before calling me back and reminding me of the good You had in store.

... for Your promise that "the best is yet to come," and the peace that came from believing that. For all the wisdom and truth and confirmation I got from reading "Choosing God's Best." (Thank you Heather!) For blowing my mind one year ago today (and every day since) with what Your best really was, I never could have known it could have been THIS good. For reminding me still, through every trial we face together, that Your best is still yet to come.

... for how deeply You love us, how thoughtfully You created us individually and for each other, how closely You've knitted us together, how generously You provide for us in every possible way, and how carefully You carry us through.

... for giving him the strength to quit smoking cold turkey and a whole year without a single cigarette.

... for an incredible husband, best friend, lover, and leader who I get to look forward to seeing every single day. For a man who makes me laugh more than anyone, who loves me more than I deserve. For giving him all the words he needed to teach me about You when I didn't know a thing, and the perserverance to keep telling me even when I resisted.

... for how perfectly you've put together our story, so that we are an undeniable testimony to your power and love. For the ways that you've used our story to change other people's lives. For letting us be your witnesses. For using our history to confirm our future, for bringing us together in such a way that we will never be able to fool ourselves into thinking that this was not your perfect plan for us.

... for an incredible first year back together, the first of many.

... for the pastor, spiritual father and discipler who has spoken an incredible amount of truth and guidance and love into my life from day one. For giving me someone who didn't think I was crazy for believing what You had told me, who helped me pray for him, who walked with me and encouraged me all the way to the end of the aisle. For everything he's taught me and all the understanding of Your Word I've learned from him over the years that You remind me of whenever I am confused or unsure. Thank You for being so evident in him, for all the lives that he continues to influence with love and wisdom and patience.

... for being the God who is able to do abundantly more than we could ever ask for or imagine, and reminding me of that on such a consistent basis. For giving me more reasons to praise You than I could ever put down in words.

I will never run out of reasons to praise You - its a good thing I have the rest of eternity!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

When I say I am a Christian...

When I say ..."I am a Christian,"
I'm not shouting "I am saved"
I'm whispering "I was lost!"
That is why I chose this way."

When I say..."I am a Christian,"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble and need someone to be my guide.

When I say..."I am a Christian,"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak and pray for strength to carry on.

When I say..."I am a Christian,"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed and cannot ever pay the debt.

When I say..."I am a Christian,"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are too visible but God believes I'm worth it.

When I say..."I am a Christian,"
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches which is why I seek His name.

When I say..."I am a Christian,"
I do not wish to judge.
I have no authority, I only know I'm loved.

- Maya Angelou

Resurrection of the Lord, of life, of love.

Today, Sunday April 4th is Easter. This day honors and exalts the day that our Lord, the King of Kings and Creator of the universe, defeated the undefeatable. In His perfect, spotless, sinless state, He beat death, He conquered the grave. He rose. And in dying first and then rising, He gives us each the opportunity to do the same - first to die to this world and all that it offers, and then to rise into life - real life, the life we were designed to live. Wholly, sanctified, and with our Designer. Set free from the weight of death, we rise into an everlasting life the moment that we believe and on into eternity. And one day, we will be raised physically to live forever with Him in His presence.

Today, Sunday April 4th also marks the 7th day of a most incredible, almost indescribable week. A week so unlike any other and so beyond human capability that it has clearly blossomed straight out of God's hand. This moves me to tears each time I pour my heart out in thanksgiving to it's Author. Today marks the end of a week watching life and love be raised out of death by the power of God.

(to be continued)