“Sometimes you don’t know when you’re taking the first step through a door until you’re already inside.”
My house emptied and I knew it was my time. I had to grab it. I glanced at the pile of dishes sitting on my counter next to the sink. I knew the dust was waiting to be swiped away… but I decided to ignore it. For now. I won’t neglect it forever. That isn’t me. But I also know, just like I will always take care of what needs to be done, this… this is more important. Right now.
I got my copy in the mail… . One Thousand Gifts Devotional study by Ann Voscamp. I put the kettle on and sat down ready to start. I just finished gluing all of my memory verse cards into my little Moleskine notebook for her Romans Project. I felt my fingers itching to do more. So I opened it up. It didn’t take long. The tears. They began to fall before I even finished the verse….
“In the time of My favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you;I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances.” Isaiah 49:8
I couldn’t stop them. And as I continued to read… the tears just continued to fall.
I bowed my head down. I lifted my hands, empty, with only my tears filling them. I don’t have anything more to offer.
I slid off my chair. I couldn’t continue to just sit there. Elevated. With my face to the ground and my forehead pressed against the wood… I wept.
This is why…
“A sacrifice is, by definition, not an easy thing-but it is a sacred thing. There is this: We give thanks to God not because of how we feel but because of who He is.”
“He who is grateful for little is given much laughter… and it’s counting the ways He loves, this is what multiplies joy. The life that counts blessings discovers its yielding more than it seems.” ~excerpt from One Thousand Gifts Devotional~ Ann Voskamp
She asks the question why we don’t keeps our eyes on His grace more.? I realized that I have been so focused on my circumstances and not on the blessings that He has daily given me. I was missing them. I have been missing them.
That crushed me.
I received a word, prophetic in nature, a while back. A long while back. It had to do with my husbands and my ministry. At the moment we were just coming out of one. I was sad. I felt empty and useless. The word was that we were going to be used in a new way that was going to yield more fruit than what we had been doing. I was excited. So excited. I held onto that word. And I have been waiting for the fruit ever since. I realized that what I had been waiting for… it has already begun.
This is what I wrote in my journal after reading Ann’s words this morning:
Dear Lord… Holy Spirit… Open my eyes. show me the fruit. The fruit I thought hadn’t come yet. I was waiting for it, anticipating this great boom. This huge noticeably huge outpouring. Fruit in full bloom and obvious. But they have already come. Some are already on the ground around me. I didn’t see them. I hadn’t noticed. My focus was on the weeds…. My eyes were on the weeds. I am sorry Father. I am so sorry. I am thankful… Your grace… I’m picking it up. Thank you.
I was waiting. I had been waiting. How much of the fruit had I missed? My heart ached with the wondering. As I found myself on the floor, weeping, repenting, I began to see… it had already started. The fruit has been growing and falling this whole time. I was, and have been, so focused on the weeds in my life that I had missed so much of it. I know there is more. I know this very well. But I also know that there has already been a harvest of fruit that I have missed because my eyes were so fixed on the things that have consumed so much of my time. So much of my families time.
I want to be grateful. I don’t want to sit in my circumstances so much that they become who I am. I have never wanted my situations in life to define me and how others see me. How did I get to this place then? How did they become more than I ever wanted them to be?
It’s so easy. It’s a trap really. But at any given moment we can choose not to. Not to let any of those “things” define us. Be us. Be what everyone sees when they see us coming. Oh Lord… I never wanted to be that person.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,for his compassion's never fail.
They are new every morning;great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24
It’s a new day.
His mercies are new every morning.
My daughter and I have felt the indelible mark of needing to be thankful in this new year.
My other daughter and I have talked in length about what God has been doing in our lives and allowing Him full access.
My son has been learning what it is to truly trust God.
My husband has been feeling a shift in his own life... change.
I am hungering after more of Him in every way.
We can stay so focused on all the stuff… our weeds… that we completely miss what God is doing and What He has been doing the whole time.
Time to be shown that we are loved by those who took care of us… Being able relate to those who are in the same or more pain than I am… Even when we hide, He sees us… He always longs for us to surrender that which we can’t control….Realizing that we are NEVER alone, because He is ALWAYS with us… He is not the author of confusion, so we shouldn’t be walking in that ever… His mercies are new every morning, so we can always have hope…His perfect love casts down and cast out EVERY FEAR, we need only cry out to Him and trust Him to save us… Like David said over and over in the Psalms, “Why are you cast down O my soul.” (Psalm 42:5) He is always our reason to not despair… God takes our anger, if we let Him, and lets us see exactly what it is He has been doing… There is always Hope… always. So when we doubt, it only gives Him room to show us that He is faithful.
But we have to let Him. We have to let Him in to all of those areas in our lives that keep us stunted and blind. Not seeing what is really going on. That we are learning, changing, and even growing.
It’s been growing all along.
And it has been multiplying in ways that I didn’t even see.
I don’t want to focus on the weeds anymore.
I want to focus on the fruit.
Like Ann says so well… the gifts.
The many many ways that He shows His love towards us.
We just need to open our eyes. Begin to see.
I am taking the challenge.
I am walking forward in gratefulness.
Taking my first steps this year toward walking in thankfulness.
I would rather my focus be on that. On His gifts. His love toward us. On Him.
…. Until another tomorrow.
Please take the time to visit Ann's Blog. You won't regret it. You may even choose to take the challenge with me. :)