Sunday, October 24, 2021

Sweater Weather


Daily Gratitude Year 9 - Day 297: Today, I am grateful for sweater weather.

Welcome, sweater weather! It is rainy and feels like fall in every way. Sweatshirts and sweaters are perfect for the day. 

I get hot fairly often, so I love the layering power of light knit sweaters. My favorite sweatshirts are French Terry. The knit is durable and not too heavy.  Some love thick wooly sweaters. Cashmere has always been appreciated. I like a good cotton sweater. I'm allergic to some fibers so it is easy to stick with cotton.  

There is something about knits that makes us feel cozy. They are so soft, we forget they are strong, too. I am grateful knitting is not a lost art. I can't do it, but I have loved ones who can. Knitting something together implies strength. 

"I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself." -Colossians 2:2

In the fall, we never really know what kind of weather the day may bring. It can change over the course of an hour. Donning our sweaters... with layers... keeps us prepared for anything. 

Today, I am grateful for sweater weather.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Lives Joined Together


Daily Gratitude Year 9 - Day 296: Today, I am grateful for lives joined together. 

Today seems to be a celebration of lives joined together. 

This morning, I harvested zinnia seeds from my landscape. For those who follow daily, you may remember my seeds came not from a packet, but from my childhood friend, Roxanne Stelle, who is always in my heart. We did some seed swapping last spring and both added to our summer gardens. 

Every time I looked at the blooms, I thought of Roxanne, our friendship and the joy of the shared seeds joined together. No matter how many years between seeing each other, we can catch up in a minute. (sound familiar Kim Williams-Meyering) When we join hearts, lives are joined as well. 

This afternoon, we will watch a wedding. We are so happy for Samantha and her Nick. She is a treasure of a girl and we rejoice in the love they have found together. They, with her son, Brady, will begin a new adventure today. Marriage joins more than two lives together. Families become joined as well. We celebrate their joining and the joy that will spring from the sacred union before God and Man. We love the Geiger clan!

This week, our joined lives meant sharing with our dear Anna (and Ryan Leander) in the loss of the best of earthly fathers. Her father, Randy (great name) and mother Patty, joined in many of our celebrations here because Ryan and Anna are family to us.  Joined lives means shared sorrows. It is as God intended. Our hearts break for them and with them. Lives joined together mean we share sorrows and joy. 

Two scriptures come to mind. Favorites of mine:

"A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. "-Ecclesiastes 4:12

We are better together. 

The next verse has become a life verse. Simple, but it reminds me to try and act more like Jesus. 

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. -Romans 12:15

This week has been full. 

Today, I am grateful for lives joined together. 

Friday, October 22, 2021

Those Who Walk in the Light


Daily Gratitude Year 9 - Day 295: Today, I am grateful for those who walk in the light.

This world is full of darkness. We see it in the news, on our computer screens and even on the street corners of our own hometowns. People who are hungry, thirsty, sick, tired and lonely are often only a stone's throw away. 

We are all so "busy". How important are the things that keep our schedules full? I am just as guilty as the next person. It is a challenge for me, too.  How do we build space in the margins of our lives. Spaces that help us make time for the things that bring salt and light to the world? How do we carry the Gospel of Hope if we are overscheduled and exhausted? 

"Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going." -John 12:35

When we walk in the Light, we carry the message in our actions. Actions speak louder than words. There is a reason our thoughts do not scroll across our foreheads. (I am very grateful it was not in our human design.) We don't have to act on all of our thoughts. We can check our thoughts and choose our actions with wisdom instead of emotion. It takes practice. We are all works in progress.

"Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going." These words are as true today as they were 2000 years ago. To make a real difference in the world, we need to turn on the light. In the Light, what is dangerous, wrong, evil or hurtful becomes clearer.

"Telling someone they're wrong is not the same as leading and inspiring them to do what's right." -Andy Stanley

This is a great way of summing up the opportunities each one of us faces with each new day. I am grateful for those who lead and inspire. 

Today, I am grateful for those who walk in the light.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

What the Heart Reveals


Daily Gratitude Year 9 - Day 294: Today, I am grateful and humbled by what the heart reveals.

Most of us have thoughts we are grateful others cannot hear. Even if we are fairly good at holding back the words, the frustrated or angry spirit still eat at us. We are not yet perfect. This world can thwart our best efforts to seek His face and to act with His purpose. Truth be told, we are all works in progress.

"Somehow, what's in our hearts, good or bad is eventually translated into words and deeds." -Andy Stanley

King David learned early on that humans look at the outward appearance, but God sees into our naked hearts. Our souls are not hidden from His perfect vision. Our imperfections and our secret dreams are all known to Him. There are no secrets before the Lord. Omniscience is intimidating and humbling. 

"But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7

Our God delights in choosing those who seem unsuited. He grows kings out of shepherd boys. He leads his people out of Egypt with the Pharaoh's adopted grandson. He makes a way for the hopeless, used and abused like Rahab and restores them into a home with love and children.  He sees Paul for his passion instead of judging him by his mistakes and makes him a missionary for the gospel. 

Our God sees the potential in all of us.  God uses whom He chooses... not who the world thinks fits the job. It always makes me smile when I see a "wow" that could only be by His hand. It grows my courage a little, too. 

"I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” -Psalm 40:8

We are works in progress, but our choices reflect our heart. 

Today, I am grateful (and humbled) by what the heart reveals.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Giving Back

Daily Gratitude Year 9 - Day 293: Today, I am grateful for those who give back.

Remember the concept of paying it forward. It is a good one. I often need the reminder that actions today may echo into eternity, with no obvious impact today. We try to do what is good and kind... and "right" because it pleases The Father. 

Giving back shows that we recognize someone took the time to invest in us. Wouldn't it be interesting to ask those we consider mentors, who mentored them? 

"Giving back involves a certain amount of giving up." - Colin Powell

Who taught King David to use a slingshot? Who taught Lydia how to make fine purple cloth? Who taught Paul to sew a tent? Who taught Martha to cook for a crowd? 

I am so grateful for the many who have mentored me over the years. We all need encouragement and help recalculating when life gets bumpy and we want to give up. We can't always say "Thank you" to that person, because they may no longer be in this world. We can honor them by giving back. 

"I have demonstrated to you how necessary it is to work on behalf of the weak and not exploit them. You’ll not likely go wrong here if you keep remembering that our Master said, ‘You’re far happier giving than getting.’” -Acts 20:35 (The Message)

Don't worry. Giving up a little won't wound a soul. In fact, it is likely to lighten it. 

Today, I am grateful for those who give back.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Purpose in Pain


Daily Gratitude Year 9 - Day 292: Today, I am grateful there is often purpose in pain.

I love Ann Voskamp quotes. "God only allows pain if He's allowing something new to be born."

I have nerve damage that keeps me from feeling in some places on my body. I am at times reminded that pain has a purpose. In my case, where I don't have feeling, injury can occur in the absence of pain. It would be easy to burn my skin, and I do at times regret attempts to lift things I shouldn't. Pain serves a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is to make us stop doing whatever is hurtful or self destructive. 

Remember when you were little? You would have a bruise or some other small injury you would bring before the counsel of Dr. Mom? Pressing the tender area and you would say, "It hurts when I do this." How does every mother respond to that declaration? She says, "Then, don't do that." The memory makes me smile. Yes, I say it, too. 

Some days we feel pain and it is overwhelming. Other days, we are reminded that pain has purpose and our vision clears.

"In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord. “If I cause you the pain, I will not stop you from giving birth to your new nation,” says your God." -Isaiah 66:9 (NCV)

 We can only take one day at a time. That is a gift from God. Some days, we have to take things one minute at a time. Pain reminds us that we need a God who can reach into our distress and our messes. He never fails to answer the call. Never. Not ever!

Discomfort is typically something we try to avoid. I am reminded that through discomfort comes growth, strength, refinement and even new life. 

Today, I am grateful there is often purpose in pain.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Trials to Heavenly Hope

Daily Gratitude Year 9 - Day 291: Today, I am grateful trials lead us to heavenly hope.

None of us relish the broken moments. They hurt. We ache. They are exhausting. Still, there is something that happens in our darkest moments when we lift our eyes to Jesus.

"Trials tend to show us the bankruptcy of human resources, wean us off the world, and sort of settle us on the heavenly hope." -John MacArthur

When bankrupt of human resources and earthly distractions, heaven's hope comes more clearly into focus. We are just passing through this world. It is no longer our home. 

"Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family." -Ephesians 2:18-19

One translation uses the word "aliens" instead of strangers. We are not of this world. It is a great reminder to keep first things first and priorities straight. We are to use stuff and value souls not the other way around. 

"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope." -1 Thessalonians 4:13

When hard times come... and they will... press on. We are never without hope.

Today, I am grateful trials lead us to heavenly hope.