I’ve never done this before, incorporated several days of musings into one post, but I’m thankful … and I want you to be thankful too. When you hear someone say, “There’s always something!” isn’t it always with a growling undertone? Well this is not about that. To me, “There’s always something … ” is the beginning of a string of “…to be thankful for.” So here are my last few days of musing on being thankful.
November 6, 2015
Today I am thankful for young people. I’m not going to qualify ‘young’, but I am thankful for the youth in our communities. I live close to the high school, middle school, and elementary schools. I love seeing kids walking home from school, congregating at the gas station, playing basketball at the outdoor court, and baseball at the nearby ball diamond. The track team runs on the street in front of my house, always smiling – well, usually smiling. Most days I go to the Middle School to chauffeur one granddaughter and her friend home. Not because I have to, but because I love to be in the crowd of preteens and I love to listen to their chatter about their day and hear what’s important to them. Psalm 144:12 says “Let our sons in their youth grow like strong trees. Let our daughters be like the decorated stones in the Temple.” These kids are growing, learning, and relational. I could be wrong, but I think even when kids seem nonchalant about adult presence, they appreciate being noticed. They’re human after all.
I’m thankful for the time spent in childhood and all the stages of growth as children become teens who become adults. Yesterday my granddaughter’s graduation picture was posted on Facebook and last week my grandson changed his profile picture. I was reminded all over again of the impact parents and other adults have on kids as they mature. If you’re an adult, there are young people in your life who need your support. They need to know someone loves them no matter what. Being kind is free. Saying, “I love you” sincerely costs you nothing, but the paybacks are infinite. Think about 1Timothy 4:12 “You are young, but do not let anyone treat you as if you were not important.” As the adults – let’s not treat our youth like they are unimportant.
Last night, because I’m a senior citizen, I was privileged to attend the dress rehearsal of the TK High School play. There was a reception prior to the play where the cast members could talk with family and friends who came to watch them – support them – cheer them on. I was with a friend Gaye who had been the Sunday School teacher for a few of the kids. They surrounded her, hugged her, wanted to tell her all about what was happening in their lives since 3rd grade. Adults, never think what you do doesn’t matter. Children become adults. What you do is making an impact on them today that will affect how they live tomorrow.
The TK kids (photo below) did a remarkable job on the production of Our Town. If you remember the story, it comes in 3 Acts of life. Birth, Mid-life, and Death. The final scene tugs – no pulls – at every emotion. Grown men a few rows back were crying. They were once the youth of their day.
Job 12:12 has the right idea. “Older people are supposed to be wise. Long life is supposed to bring understanding.” Next time you wonder why that kid doesn’t ‘grow up’ remember that you, the older person, is supposed to be wise and understanding.
November 6: Today I am thankful for young people. Be thankful too. 1 Peter 4:8 “Most importantly, love each other deeply. Love has a way of not looking at others’ offenses.”
Today I am thankful for prayer.
Prayer is talking to God like he is your best friend, sitting next to you, while you pour out your heart with words you could never say to anyone else. I assure you that God doesn’t have mood swings. Psalm 55:19 says, “God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change…” Not even when I question him, argue my point, and keep asking.
God is not a magician. Prayer is not a magic potion. Prayer is acknowledging God as power and controller of all things. Prayer honors God. Prayer is relationship with Holy God, Sovereign Lord, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Prayer is saying, God, you are my king, Lord of my life.
When we pray, so often we are asking. God, please fix this. Heal her father, Remove his cancer. Make his wife well. Take the pain from her mom. Lord, time is nothing to you but it’s everything to me right now, please solve this problem now. God just says, my child, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 Naturally, that’s never good enough for me, so I keep telling God he is powerful enough to change things and appeal to him to say yes to what I’ve asked for over … and over … and over.
You know? When I pray and ask God to listen to my requests, it doesn’t mean that he now has fewer resources to listen to you. When I ask God for a miracle, His power to give you your miracle too is not depleted. God is God. Psalm 147:5 “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” Pray. Get others to pray. “God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:29
I haven’t always been willing to remove situations from my dragonlike clutches and give them to God. I like to be in control – but have learned that I can strategize, debate, bargain, and beg, but the truth is, God gets to decide. I realize that peace comes when I relinquish my hold on circumstances and just say, God please take this. I’m at the end of me.
On Monday, I posted a picture of my Joy Jar. When the pages of my prayer journal are blank, they look like this. Nothing special to look at, but the words I write there are special to God. Every word I breathe, every word I write is heard by the Lord of the Universe. When I pray I know that God is listening. He isn’t going to wave a magic wand and make everything OK. God is going to do what is best. How do I know? Because I have faith in his sovereign power. “As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30
November 5: Prayer changes things. I’m thankful for prayer.#30daysofthanks
Today I am thankful for forgiveness. I try to be careful and not make mistakes. I try to say the right things. I try to treat others the way I want to be treated. I try to say nice things. I try to be the flexible one. I can be a trying person.
It’s hard to say, “I was wrong. Please forgive me.” It’s harder yet to notice a ripple in a normally smooth relationship and wonder, do I need to apologize for something? Did my behavior cause tension? Behavior is what we do. Attitude is what we project onto behavior. For every time I mess up on my behavior, I don’t want my attitude to be messed up too. That would mean my bad behavior was intentional. I wouldn’t intentionally hurt someone and you wouldn’t either.
Perfect is a word, it’s not a state of being. I will never be perfect. I’m going to do something that is misunderstood. I’m going to make mistakes and fail to measure up to expectations. I’m going to disappoint someone. I’m going to be late, forget, misunderstand, and frustrate people I care about. You will too. The last time I checked nobody living on the planet was flawless.
I need forgiveness. I need to be forgiving. You need forgiveness and to be forgiving. That’s how we experience peace; that’s how we find harmony while inhabiting the same space. That’s how we stay positive in a negative world. November 4: Today, I am thankful for forgiveness. Nehemiah 9:17 says But, our God, you are merciful and quick to forgive; you are loving, kind, and very patient. So you never turned away from them—
Treat yourself to joy today. You have to go find it because it won’t come find you. Let’s get out there.
November 4: I am thankful for forgiveness.
Today I am thankful for friends. All. Friends.
Yesterday, I had a list of things I was going to do. Today, everything on that list is still there, not one item checked off – and I’m thankful. Not because I had no victory over my long list of tasks, but because I had victory in what really mattered. First thing in the morning, I met friends at Moms In Prayer where we pray for people and families, our communities, schools, and churches. A friend from my past surprised me with a text message inviting me to lunch. Afterward I was driving by Carveth Village, an assisted living facility, and wondered – should I go in on the spur of the moment and offer to take a friend I know from church out for a drive? I contemplated. I had a lot of stuff on my list back home. Two hours later, after a long leisurely drive through the country, it was time to pick Katelyn up from school. Whew! Home and ready to dig into my list – but wait. A personal email to write. A card to send. A phone call and a voice saying, let’s go to dinner together tonight. An open opportunity to catch up with a long time friend.
November 3: I am thankful for friends of the past and friends of the present. I’m thankful for relationships and a sense of when people are more important than priorities. In case you’re wondering, my list is still stuck to my monitor. It didn’t go anywhere.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Always be joyful and never stop praying. Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.
Today I am thankful for this season of thankfulness. I’m celebrating my favorite holiday early. Happy Thanksgiving! Every day, I write at least one thing I am thankful for on a piece of paper and tuck it into my Joy Jar with a prayer. Sometimes it’s an occasion, or an experience, or an item. Many times it’s a person. Your name could be in my Joy Jar. Remember Paul? Philippians 1:3 he says, ” Every time I think of you, I thank my God.”
November 2 – Today I am thankful for online social media platforms because I can share joy and hope with a hundred people, most of whom i will never have a chance to meet in person. I’m kind of a joy junkie. If I start running low on joy I go back to the source and refuel. It’s no secret. You can have it too. God breathed these words and Paul wrote, Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.”
Bookend your days, not with what’s on your favorite news channel, but with what is true, pure, lovely, commendable, and worthy of respect. Ready? Let’s get out there.