I thought I would take the time to list the words and phrases that came to my heart this season as reasons to give thanks. This is not an exhaustive list, and I realized as I stamped that I could go on and on and on....but these give a window into my soul and why I stand in such gratitude for my God and Savior for all He has done.
My Salvation - It is the greatest gift of all. The sacrifice of the cross, the payment for my sins, my redemption. Thanks you Jesus.
Marriage - What a gift to share life with someone. What a way to learn and grow and get over yourself and figure out how to sacrifice and accommodate. What opportunities and discoveries and memories. What a journey.
Music - It has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. With music I enjoy, I teach, I share, I listen, I worship. It is a language all of its own, one I am thankful I know.
Open Windows - It is during Fall and Winter here in Florida that we get to enjoy these the most. I am energized and revitalized when the house is filled with fresh air.
Mornings - The older I get, the more I appreciate each new dawn.
Grace - I think most of us shudder to think where we would be were it not for grace. The undeserved, unearned favor of God. I have experienced grace upon grace. Thanks be to God.
Breezes - As they rush through the orange groves as I walk through my neighborhood or through my windows as I care for my family and home, I can't help but praise!
Daily Bread - I am learning to pray for it. To trust God for it, in all areas. Some days are more challenging than others, but I am learning to rely on God to sustain me in every way for every day. Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgiveness - I am grateful for both forgiveness received and forgiveness given. I have been forgiven much. I am humbled as I reflect on that. And as God has gently walked me through the process of forgiving others who have caused my heart and my family pain, I realize how much freedom is found in letting go. Forgives us our debt as we forgive our debtors.
The Beach - My favorite place to visit. I love the colors, the sights, the sounds, the salty smell of the air. The peace I feel when I'm there.
New Mercies - They truly are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness.
Family - The constants in our lives. Our safe place to land. Home.
A Few Good Friends - They know who they are. I used to think I had dozens of friends. Now I realize I am blessed to know a lot of wonderful people and have many fabulous acquaintances, but as for true friends I can trust with my heart, I only have a few. And I love them dearly and thank God for each one of them.
Our Youth Group Students - I learn from them as they learn from me. They keep me laughing. They keep me praying fervently for the next generation. They keep me passionate. They keep me on my toes. They keep me young.
Trev's Smile - I've seen it light up a room, the wrinkled face of an elderly friend, the eyes of a lonely stranger. It lights my heart daily.
Madi's Dimple - It was one of the first things we all noticed about her when she entered the world. It is deep, and so is she. She is a thinker and a feeler, but I love when she has the time of her life and that dimple shows up.
Trials - It has taken me some growth to be able to thank God for these. And growth is a sometimes painful process. In the midst of a lot of beauty, I have to say honestly that the past several years have been some of the toughest of my life. I cannot always share my struggles openly because as a pastor's wife, some things must be kept private in order not to dishonor others. Those of us in ministry must sometimes bear a lot of burdens for others and try to carry ours very quietly, which can be excruciatingly difficult. But I will say that some of the struggles of the past few years have brought me closer to my Savior than I ever dreamed possible. While there are still unanswered questions and loose ends in my heart, I can say without reservation that my heart is fixed on God. My heart is fixed. He is my rock, and I love Him so. I have found that trials do indeed bring us closer to His heart.
Breath and Life - Every day, every moment is a gift from God! I realize that more and more. This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it! I am more motivated than ever to live with intention. To be present. To be purposeful and positive. To acknowledge each day as a gift from God and live it for Him. Thank you God for this day.
Belly Laughs - Whether I am hearing them or experiencing them, these have to be some of the greatest joys of life! To laugh so hard it hurts is a gift.
TGIF - God used these girls to help heal my heart. We are joined together in Him, and uphold each other in laughter and love, in confidence and in prayer. These women are my friends. They are my True Girlfriends In Faith. And I love them.
Simplicity - The more I find joy and treasure in simplicity and simple things, the greater freedom I experience. Simplicity is like a breath of fresh air.
Jimmy - I share life with an honorable, godly man. We enjoy life together. We are tightly knit. I am a blessed girl.
Dessert - Desserts are happy endings! And I like happy endings!
Comfy Bed - I am all too aware that many do not sleep in such comfort and provision as I do. Thank you God for the place I lay my head. I do not take this for granted.
Brokenness - The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and rescues the crushed in spirit. My heart has been broken and my spirit has been crushed a few times in recent years, but the Lord has been ever close. He is near and dear to me.
Disney - What a blessing and retreat for our family! We have made magical memories together in a place designed for safe and wholesome family fun. Every time we go I have to pinch myself to believe we are there.
My Parents - They have done so much for us. They give their time and help and availability in a way that shows me Jesus. They bless our lives daily, and are tremendous examples for us to follow.
Healing - In many ways, but specifically in my shoulder. Two years ago on Thanksgiving I was in tremendous shoulder pain and had no idea why. The pain was exhausting and excruciating and would go on for some time. It would cause nerve damage and muscle loss. It would be life changing for a season. But God has brought so much healing to my shoulder and I praise and thank Him for it! He is the Great Physician.
Coffee, Chaos, Contentment - I enjoy my morning coffee so much I sometimes think about it the night before. Life's chaos keeps us real. And contentment is where I want my heart to rest for all of my days. As for this blog, it has been a dear and fun companion, a necessary outlet, a journal of life. It has meant more to me than I would have known when my mom encouraged me to start it. Thank you for those who read for taking the time to be a part of small and simple life. You help motivate me.
The Word - Never have I been in God's Word for personal study like I have been the past few years! I have realized its sustaining power. In a crazy, broken world I want to set my heart on Truth. I find it nearly every morning in my green chair. I love God's Word more passionately than ever.
Creativity - Such an outlet for expression! A good distraction, a welcome relief, a positive energy. Creativity makes me smile. It makes others smile.
Food - I have never had to go without sustenance and provision. I get excited about tastes and flavors. Thank you God for this gift. Thank you for each meal.
Good Books - I have read thousands through the years. And one day I hope to write one.
My Two Little Loves - Madi and Trevor have changed my life for the better. I love them with everything in me. They help me understand God and His love more. They make me laugh daily. They reveal the best but also the worst in me. I am still learning. I am growing as they grow. I am loving each day with them. I don't even have the words for the gratitude I feel to God for my children.
Heaven - It is this hope that sustains me as I travel through this broken world. God is preparing a place for believers, a place for me. In that place there won't be pain or tears. There will be magnificent light because of God's glory. There will be perfect peace and beauty. One day we will be in His presence. It will be worth it all when we see Jesus! I long to be in His presence, but that is also what motivates me to share His love here on earth with as many people as I can. I want everyone to know His love and spend eternity with Him. I am thankful that as believers in Christ we can hold onto and share Heaven's hope. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!