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A Real Christmas

This weekend I got to do one of my favorite things of the whole year. The Farm where I used to work was putting on their annual Christmas event and I got to volunteer for it. This event is great- a wagon ride that stops at different scenes where the story of Christ’s birth is told by volunteer actors. The culmination of the scenes is the last one. A simple nativity in a barn and angels singing. The gospel is told at this scene which means that all the thousands of people that come to this event have the opportunity to hear the gospel. I. Love. It. 

Friday went really well but Saturday came around and it was POURING. Torrential downpours, people. And for an event that is outside, it didn’t look like it was going to be quite as much fun that night. But I was reminded that things go on and the gospel is shared no matter the weather. And I prayed. Lo, and behold, we had practically no rain for the tours and as soon as we finished, it started to rain again. Isn’t God incredible??

But this weekend, I also had a good friend of mine say something unusual to me. She asked me why I was smiling so much and said I just looked so happy and she loved it. She said she is so happy and wished her face could show it like mine can all the time.

Gotta admit, I was kind of taken aback for a minute. I had to stop and think. Of course my answer would have been different if this person wasn’t saved but she’s a strong believer and we are good friends. I thought and just realized that somehow, seeing God answer small prayers like clear skies and being surrounded by people I love, doing something I love filled me with a joy I haven’t felt in a long time.

But I think there’s more than that. Growing up, I was the embodiment of the Christmas spirit. I was ALWAYS cheerful, ALWAYS singing carols, ALWAYS excited for Christmas. And that’s a hard expectation to live up to. The last two years, I have felt very depressed and numb at Christmas but I didn’t show it. I felt like I needed to be the cheerful person that my family and friends expected me to be. And I hated every minute. I hated pretending to take joy in my favorite time of year when I felt nothing. I would enthusiastically participate in every Christmas activity and then come home and cry because I felt so empty.

And this morning at church, sitting taking communion, I realized that I wasn’t faking that joy this year.

It was real.

Amidst all the pain and difficulties this year has brought, God has given me his joy for this season and I don’t have to pretend to have it. I suddenly felt so relieved and unburdened.

So if you saw me quietly crying during communion this morning, no worries, they were tears of thankfulness. Just pure gratitude as I remembered all Christ has done for me.

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2018 in Christmas

 

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The Pollyanna Project

I used to love the movie Pollyanna. As kids we would go over to my Aunt Tammy’s (who shares a very similar taste in movies as me) house and that was the movie I always picked to watch. I think it was probably her optimism that I liked the most. I was always an optimist and loved that about Pollyanna.

For those of you who (gasp!) haven’t seen the movie or read the book, Pollyanna is an orphan who comes to live with her strict aunt and somehow manages to find the good in every situation and person. She plays this game called “The Glad Game” and no matter what position you put her in, she will find something to be glad about. Of course she has some trouble at one point but I’m going to let you watch the movie and find that out for yourself!

So the other day, I had too much time on my hands to think and thoughts were creeping in about all the things I missed in life and wanted back. I found myself complaining inside. I was getting frustrated, uneasy, and unhappy and finally I had had enough of it. I sat down with a notebook and wrote out every single thing I missed from my ‘old life.’ Every thing I wished was different. Every thing I wasn’t content with. It was almost a full notebook sheet. Things like:

“I miss being able to drive”

“I miss working at the Farm”

“I wish I always felt a passion for devotions and prayer”

And then I turned the page. And for each line on the previous page, I wrote a very specific corresponding thing I was thankful for on the new page:

“I am thankful for so many friends who give me rides”

“I am thankful for my time at the Farm and that I still see my Farm family”

“I am thankful God’s Word is alive and working and he hears me when I pray”

Just like Pollyanna, I came to a point where I sat and stared at one line for a long time, unable to think of anything to be thankful for. Finally, I simply wrote, “I am thankful for salvation.” I’m glad when all else fails that I can always fall back on that and be utterly thankful and grateful for it.

Do you know what I did next? I tore out the first page and threw it away. I’ve done this same thing again since then and you know what I am left with? Pages of thankfulness. Reminders of God’s grace and goodness towards me. It may seem like a silly or simple thing to do but it really has helped. I’m calling it the Pollyanna Project (because who doesn’t like alliteration?).

We have so much to be thankful for, whether it’s big or small things. We just need to take the time to see them and express our thanks.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2018 in thanksgiving

 

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Running Towards Gratitude

I’ve been feeling a little bit better recently. I’m finally starting to see results from my “time out” and I’ve gone from having 5-7 seizures every day to last week having roughly 2-3 a day. Which is awesome!

I’ve been taking a lot of walks recently. And gradually, I’ve pushed myself to go farther and farther on these walks. Sometimes it’s been accidental (I wonder where this road comes out?) and other times I am testing my body and brain to find its limit. Probably not what the doctor would order but…

Anyway, with all this walking, I’ve just been itching to go for a run. It’s been sooooo long and the weather has been beautiful and I thought, surely if I can walk 4 miles, I can do a short run, right? So this morning I woke up feeling a little extra ambitious and thought, this is the day, I’m going for it. I had walked a route yesterday that was about 1.7 miles so I planned to run that same route.

I started out nice and easy and within the first 2 minutes I could feel the pressure building in my head but I wasn’t giving up that easy. I pushed and pushed until it got to the point where I was kind of scared that if I kept going, something drastic might have to happen (like a horrible ambulance ride, ugh.) So I came down to a walk and looked at my running app- 1.02 miles.

Instantly I felt this sense of defeat. Defeat, because I didn’t complete the run and walked back, which I hate doing. If you had told me two years ago that soon I would barely be able to run 1 mile, I would have laughed at you.

But in that walk back home, I had time to pray. I realized that it’s a blessing to be able to do all the walking I’ve been doing in the first place. It’s a blessing that I’m not shut up at home all the time, but can be out and about doing things. And what I really should be doing is thanking God for that one mile, instead of discarding it in disgust. I kind of needed an attitude change and to remember all the things I have to be thankful for.

And so today, I am grateful that I could not complete a run so that God could remind me of his goodness and give me time to thank him for it.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in epilepsy

 

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Gratefulness

I have been thinking lately about the ten lepers who were healed and the one man who came back to thank Jesus. Grateful people are lacking today. I want to thank God for every thing he gives me so here are five things I am thankful for today:

1. My family- I love them soooo much!

2. Snow!

3. Kisses from my baby brother.

4. My bed. Almost every night when I crawl in bed I say, “Ahhh, I love my bed.”  Not so much that particular mattress, just warmth and comfort in general.

5. Air. I’ve had trouble breathing before and it is not fun, so I’m glad God created fresh air!

 

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2013 in thanksgiving

 

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