Momentum in the Midst of a Mess

Momentum in the Midst of a Mess

Whether we are referring to the Thanksgiving holiday or the attitude of thanksgiving, selflessness is found right in the name. In this increasingly self-centered world, it is a breath of fresh air to intentionally focus on being grateful and to give thanks to God for His countless blessings.

Thanksgiving is uncomplicated when life is rolling along just how we pictured it. For example, when our Thanksgiving table is set with matching linens, our turkey is roasted to a perfect golden-brown, and our family is seated around a table with smiles on their faces as conversation abounds about faith, family, friends, and food, giving thanks is easily in the forefront of our minds.

But what about when our personal lives are right smack-dab in the midst of a mess? Maybe that is when we make the life-changing (yes, I said life-changing) decision that we are going to make sure that the attitude of thanksgiving will take place right smack-dab in the midst of that mess?

Making a conscious effort to stop in the shambles and halt in the havoc and say, “Thank you,” to our faithful God who refuses to forsake us is sometimes a difficult thing to do. But it is a valuable thing to do. It refocuses our eyes, minds, and hearts on the fact that the size of our mess is minuscule compared to the size of our God. It is often the necessary step to keep us moving in a forward motion into the peace that God offers, instead of backwards into a place of anger or despair.

When we are in the midst of any type of mess; financial emergencies, a cancer diagnosis, family feuds, or broken relationships, if we are consumed by thoughts of, “Why me, why now, why aren’t You there, God?” we will remain at a standstill or even take a step back in our faith life. Thanking God for blessings and the fact that He is going to help us through it, evidenced by the fact that He has been faithful since day one, is a much better mode for our mind to operate in. It strengthens our faith, and it brings honor to God!

Recently, we were heading to an open spot on the arena bleachers to watch our oldest son’s basketball game. Our second son was walking behind me. I was looking up at the action on the floor and unfortunately was not aware of an object on the floor in my path. Boom. Suddenly, I was on the floor and many thoughts rushed through my mind, including “How embarrassing, how embarrassing, and yes, how embarrassing.” My middle name is not Grace, and I have had some missteps in my life; more than I would like to admit. But somehow, this one made me want to find a magic door that would lead me back in time to a few seconds before when I would have plainly seen any objects in my path and avoided an embarrassing situation.

When I fell, there was an immediate helping hand, and it was pretty neat that it was from someone I gave birth to twenty-one years ago. He did not hesitate in bending down, making sure I was okay, and offering to help me up. A few minutes later, after getting seated and attempting to casually give the impression that falling in front of a gymnasium of on-lookers is as natural as bending down to tie my shoes, and pretending that my knees were not feeling a fair amount of pain, I tapped my son on the shoulder. I said, “Brady, thank you for helping me up right away instead of passing right by me and pretending you didn’t know me. I really appreciate that.” And I did. I really did appreciate that. I thanked him, and I thanked God for a reminder that my husband (who was also concerned but was in front of me and did not realize what happened until I was back up on my feet) and I are blessed with three sons, a daughter, and a daughter-in-law who are genuinely kind-hearted in a world where kindness is underrated.

I am not going to pretend that tripping and falling in public is an example of a personal crisis, but I am sharing it as an example of when there was a choice to be made. Dwell on the negatives and suffer in a standstill or even backwards direction, or else find something to thank God for in the midst of a mess and move forward. Keep praying about the mess, because we have a God who hears us and cares about our circumstances more than we even realize. But find something to thank Him for as well. Thanksgiving launches our momentum in the midst of a mess. The decision is ours.

A Beautiful Blessing

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Have you ever received an encouraging message at the exact moment you needed it? It happened to me recently. This particular day, I was allowing my negative emotions dictate how I felt about not only the day, but also how I felt about myself. I have always struggled with putting too much stock in unkind comments or comments that I interpreted as unkind. Those comments cause a feeling of rejection in me…which is a trait that happens to be on my list of “I-totally-need-to-work-on-that” qualities.

Filled with an unhealthy dose of self-pity, I walked outside to retrieve our mail. In our mailbox was a handwritten note from a dear friend. (By the way, how many people actually handwrite notes nowadays? How cool is that?) On the outside of the card was a beautiful print. The beauty of the words on the inside of that card had an immediate effect on how I was feeling on the inside!

It was a sincere note of gratitude to me and to God for our friendship. I walked back in the house with a new outlook. I guess you now know how changeable my emotions can be! I’ll be honest: sudden mood changes seem to be a part of my wiring. (Okay, add that to the aforementioned list.) Well-timed, beautiful words took my focus off of feeling sorry for myself and put it back where it belonged: on God and how much He loves us.

When it comes to my mind to thank someone or to share words of admiration with someone, I try not to delay! When you sense a prodding to extend gracious words to others, I encourage you to grab a card and start writing, grab a phone and start texting, or grab a chair and start visiting face-to-face. A conversation that seems fleeting or inconsequential to us might be the same words that replay in their mind when they are in need of a boost in their morale.

I am certain you can think of times in your life when someone has said (or typed or written) beautiful words to you at just the right time. One of the many wonderful attributes of our Holy Spirit is His impeccable timing; He nudges us to extend encouragement to others right when they need it the most.

Proverbs 25:11 brings beautiful images to mind. The Message version says, “The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry.” In the New King James version, it reads, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” The right words said at the right time to the right person can certainly be thought of as beautiful, just as a custom-made piece of jewelry or golden apples in settings of silver would.

Let us join together in praying that we become more sensitive to our Holy Spirit’s prompting to encourage others with uplifting messages. What a blessing to add beauty to the lives of others!

Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25

(This post appeared on LiftUpYourDay.com today. Check that site out for daily encouragement!)

 

Only One Said, “Thank You”

When our children are small and they receive a gift or some sort of treat, what do we almost always hear ourselves say? When my children were little and were standing there with a new treasure, I remember saying, “What do we tell them?” or “What do we say?” to avoid any awkward, empty silence that should be filled with a sincere, “Thank you.”

The story of the ten lepers in the Bible has always aroused my curiosity. I remember the flannel-graph version when I was a child sitting in a Sunday School room in a small, red rounded-back children’s chair. I remember reading a devotion based on it when I was older. And I remember just recently being reminded of this story found in Luke 17, when a long-time prayer in my life was answered and I went about my day without even murmuring a quick, “Thank you” to God.

When my prayer request was granted in a wonderful way, I felt relief, excitement, and joy. Somehow, however, my mind skimmed right over thankfulness.  When I realized I had forgotten to thank God, the picture of the ten lepers jumped right into my mind.  Out of ten completely healed and restored men, only one came back and knelt at Jesus’ feet in gratitude for healing him of this horrible, life-changing disease.

The Message version says, “He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank Him enough.” The Living Bible version says, “He fell flat on the ground in front of Jesus, face downward in the dust,” and the New International Version says, “He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.” Genuine appreciation is definitely sensed when the one receiving a gift is face-down, kneeling at your feet!

In Luke 17:17, Jesus asks where the other nine healed men are. He speaks about it with grace; in the only way Jesus would. If I were Jesus, I would most likely be saying, “Did that just happen? I miraculously made those men whole again. Did nine of them seriously go on their merry way without even a wave or a smile in my direction?”

There is a humility and a sincerity that is expressed in the simple two-word phrase that we work so hard to try to teach our children to say without reminders. “Thank you,” may seem like two simple words, but the impact made by those two words is not simple.

I am sure that you can think of a time when you felt especially validated after someone took the time to thank you for something you did or said. I am also sure that you can think of a time that you felt your kindness was taken advantage of when there was no ‘thank you’ offered.

If gratitude has been absent in your life, it is never too late to count your blessings and give thanks to others and most importantly to the ‘Ultimate Blesser’!  God is so very worthy of hearing a sincere, heart-felt “Thank You” from us. Let us take our cue from the one healed leper who knelt at His feet and could not ‘thank Him enough.’

Lord, we realize that all good gifts come from You. We thank You and we praise Your holy name. May we never take the blessings You give us for granted. Even more importantly, may we never take You for granted. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

4th post on Momspuration.com

This is a while after the fact,  but you can still head on over to momspuration.com and check out my blog post that was posted on May 9th!

It is titled, “Setting the Tone,” and here is an excerpt:

In 1820, Fanny Crosby was born. At the age of six, because of a doctor’s mistake, she became blind. The difficult circumstances that were thrust upon her could have caused her to be bitter and to complain about what she did not have. However, this woman of God wrote over 8000 hymns and is quoted as saying, “It seemed in­tend­ed by the bless­ed prov­i­dence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dis­pen­sa­tion. If per­fect earth­ly sight were of­fered me to­mor­row I would not ac­cept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been dis­tract­ed by the beau­ti­ful and in­ter­est­ing things about me.” How is that for a positive perspective? Instead of complaining, she wrote praises to God. And instead of praising Him in spite of her blindness, she actually praised Him for it. She forever blessed the world by sharing her praise of her Heavenly Father in hymns such as, “Blessed Assurance” and “Near the Cross.”

Check out Kristen Mitchell’s site, momspuration.com! You will be encouraged! As always, I would love to hear from you!