Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 24 of 24 Days of Thanks

Three years of spending the month of November thanking God for His amazing blessings and gifts on my life...every year I'm reminded that I am such a small and seemingly insignificant part of this world...and yet, in Christ, He makes me worthy to walk as one of His own children. That's amazing to me!

So here we are at the brink of the month of celebrating Christ birth and I find myself where I am this time every year. How do I make the most of this season....this time when the world gives pause to remember the beauty of the biggest miracle in history. What are the things I can let go of to focus more on Him? How do I make sure the focus isn't on gifts, but, THE gift? What emphasis do I put on the fun, silly things that we do as a family? What about the financial end of Christmas and the stress many feel about the money spent? Where does it all fit in?

Thankfully as Christians, we have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas throughout the year....not just in December. We have the opportunity, but do we take advantage of it. What I am convicted about is just that. The issue of incorporating the birth of Christ all through the year. How can I live life with the birth of Christ in the front of my mind and heart? He isn't just the reason for this season...He's the reason for every season. During the month of December I'll be posting the things my family is doing to celebrate the season and also things we will be doing in the coming year to remember that the birth of Jesus isn't just something we remember for a few days a's the very foundation of all the promises that prophets foretold. Christmas isn't just a's everyday. Thank you God for the gift of your Son!

Day 23 of 24 Days of Thanks

Yesterday Bruce and I spent the day doing some Christmas shopping and some browsing and some catching up. We tackled a few items on the Christmas list, ate at In and Out Burgers for the first time, enjoyed each other's company and remembered that we don't spend enough time like this!

Funny how much I enjoy being with him but how easy it is to neglect our relationship when we get our priorities out of whack. Yesterday I remembered all my favorite things about him...his smile, his kind heart, his funny sense of humor, his generosity, his love of people, his spontaneity. I am thankful God created him for me.

Day 22 of 24 Days of Thanks

Family...the ones by blood and the ones by heart. I'm very fortunate to have had both with me for the Thanksgiving Day festivities. With 14 precious souls seated around the table I could not help but think how blessed I was. We shared food and more food, we shared our thanks, we shared our traditions. But most of all we shared love for each other and made a memory to cherish forever.

My sister spent Thanksgiving with us....a rare treasure. We enjoyed her so much. A single man, new to our church also spent the day with us. Bruce's family was in attendance as well as friends who will soon leave to go to the mission field. It was a wonderful day of noisy laughter, newspaper ads, nerf gun wars, movies and football....and eating...and eating...and eating!

Although I'm missing getting to spend the holidays with my mom and the rest of my family this year, I am thankful that God has given me my own family and always gives me an adopted family to share these days with. It doesn't replace them (how could it?) but it reminds me that we are not ever alone really, when we are part of the family of God.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 21 of 24 Days of Thanks

God gives us what we need and more....and today is one of those days that I want to acknowledge the more....

As we gathered to share blessings and food and friendship and family I was once again reminded of how good God has been to me. Whether I feel it or acknowledge it, everyday in many ways He blesses me. I don't deserve it, understand it or comprehend it but I KNOW that even on the days that I feel farthest away from Him...those days that I don't seem to have it together, those are the days that I KNOW in my core....even then.... that He is good. 

Thank you Lord for your amazing love for me, your goodness and blessing on my life is so undeserved. Thank You!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 20 of 24 Days of Thanks

I am thankful that Savannah experienced her first Lord's Supper last night at church. It was a moment I will remember forever. Her innocence and sincerity and excitement provoked me to think about how I approach God's table. I realized much too often I come burdened and guilty and not wide eyed with wonder and amazement at all He has done for me. Last night was a special and needed reminder to view His sacrifice with the wonder of a child...approaching His table with thankfulness for all He's done.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 19 of 24 Days of Thanks

For a church where...

1. Bus workers pick up children and bring them to a place where they are loved and taught about Jesus
2. Sunday School teachers reinforce the things I am teaching my kids at home
3. Caraway Street workers use their creative talents to share the message of Jesus
4. A Pastor preaches, without apology, the Word of God
5. Gifted musicians use their abilities to honor God
6. Donuts and fellowship go hand in hand
7. Relationships mean family
8. A Preschool is a ministry 
9. Work is hard...but the rewards are eternal
10. The boundaries aren't the walls....because the church is the people.

....and my list could go on and on. Today I'm thankful for the blessing CBC is to my family. Accepting us, loving us, encouraging us, forgiving us when we fail, appreciating us, serving with us and so much more!!! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 18 of 24 Days of Thanks

Wisdom...something I need everyday. EVERY. DAY. I'm thankful for the opportunity to come before the Lord every day and ask for it...and for the guarantee that He will give it to me if I ask in faith. What a promise! In every season of my life I am reminded of how incompetent and empty my own wisdom is. Yet, God does not leave us helpless or hopeless, He gives us His Word and His Spirit to help us along this journey of life. I need it everyday...not just for the big decisions but for every decision. Not just for the important stuff...but for all the stuff. Not just when I'm down and out...but for every single moment. I'm thankful His wisdom never runs dry, that I can go daily to Him for my portion of guidance. He's the counselor I can't live without.

Day 17 of 24 Days of Thanks

Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend a little time with my students and their grandmothers at Muffins for Mom at school. Nothing thrills me like seeing good parents interact with their kids. Watching each mom sit quietly with their child for some one on one and muffins sure made me thankful for their participation in their own child's life. 

I love that God pieces our earthly families together. He knows just how the puzzle should look. His grace and patience as we work the puzzle must be enormous...especially in those early years of child rearing where there's lots of diapers and not so lots of sleep! 

I'm thankful for my little family. As a young married woman I wished for more kids than I have now, but God knew the future. He knew the struggles, the heartache and the pain that was ahead and He knew how He would be most glorified. I'm thankful for the extreme joy He's given us through our kids and the wonderful gift they are to us. 

Day 16 of 24 Days of Thanks

Thankful I get the blessing of working in the children's choir at church on Wednesday nights. Love hearing them sing! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 15 of 24 Days of Thanks

Lost things....

Usually when I lose something I get keys, my purse, my favorite recipe....I'll spend hours looking for whatever it is....only to find it and then remember exactly when I put it there. It's frustrating. But as I give thanks today, I'm reminded of a few things that I am grateful I have lost:

1. Chains of Sin
2. Guilt
3. Fear of Failure
4. Old Habits

These are just a few of the things that I am happy to have lost....and there are more that God is helping me lose hold of everyday. There are struggles with sin and temptations that only by His grace will I overcome and lose them fully, but it's not's Godpossible.

Thank you Lord for taking those things that only hold me back from being who you desire me to be! Thanks for the lost things!

Day 14 of 24 Days of Thanks


1. Going to the ATL Braves games with my dad when I was little.
2. My mom making dozens and dozens of muffins for our neighbors at the holidays
3. My sister telling me everything I was getting for my 13th birthday on my birthday eve.
4. Kickball in the backyard with all the neighborhood kids.
5. College friends
6. Remodeling a 100 year old farmhouse
7. Beautiful people who have gone home to Jesus before I was ready to see them go
8. Old Friends...and new
9. James Bible Study
10. Savannah's baptism

Today I'm thankful God allows us to enjoy sweet memories of the past. The times shared with people, doing things that we enjoy helps us get through the tough times. Memories help motivate us to move forward....knowing there are new memories to make all the times. I'm thankful God has given us this opportunity to recall the good, pleasant and fun memories instead of only the unpleasant. He's been so good to us!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 13 of 24 Days of Thanks

I'm sitting here watching my 9 year old daughter study for Bible study tomorrow. She's laying in the floor...fresh out of the shower...studying God's Word. I'm thankful for a friend who thought Savannah might enjoy going with her to Bible Study on Wednesday mornings but knew I couldn't take her, so she offered to pick her up...take her to breakfast and then to Bible study every week since school started! I'm thankful for the women who invest in her during crafts and games and music and Bible study time. This has been such a blessing for Savannah to study God's Word on her own and then go back and talk about it with kids her own age. Thanks CBS workers and teachers!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 12 of 24 Days of Thanks

Trials...I can't say that I've been grateful for them until recently...and even then...on some my flesh, I am not. But today I can see how the trials of the last year are building my faith in Jesus...and isn't He what it really is all about anyway? A friend and I texted each other almost daily for a month with a phrase..."Less is More". During one of the most difficult trials I have ever gone through this little phrase reminded me daily that it's during those difficult times that I have to depend on Jesus more...and less on myself, my desires, my selfishness, hopes and dreams. Unless those things are fully grounded in Christ...I need less of them and more of Him. Trials have a way of exposing all our weaknesses. I found out many things about myself and how God's grace is maturing me...I surely haven't arrived yet!!

As I look back at the last year...I realize that my faith has grown by leaps and bounds. Those trials God allowed have strengthened my roots in Him. I trust that He knows my breaking point and will deliver me when His time is perfect. He's proven that over and over to me. My job is to endure....I don't have the responsibility or the omniscience to do anything before He says. Thank you Lord that you are interested and invested in our relationship!

What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 11 of 24 Days of Thanks

For the first time in a long time we have nothing on the schedule this Saturday morning. It was so nice to ignore the urge to set the alarm last night! When I awoke this morning and it was still dark outside I didn't have to wonder what time it didn't matter!

I'm thankful for the rest God provides us. Whether we take it or not is our choice...that's the freedom He gives us, but He does know what is best for our bodies and our souls. He provided us His example in creating that 7th day for rest. There's no reason to feel guilty for taking this day if I've worked hard this week taking care of the things God told me to! So today...resting a little this morning....enjoying the cuddles of two kids...the late start for Bruce at the church....the cartoons...and a slower pace.

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 10 of 24 Days of Thanks

Last night I shared in a beautiful worship service with about 150 ladies at our church. God truly blessed as we gathered for the sole purpose of worship, thanksgiving and praise. It was a memorable evening filled flawed individuals embracing an opportunity to worship a holy perfect God. The great thing is, we were reminded at the end of the evening that we can worship everywhere.

When I think about the sacrifice that God has made for me to be close to Him, I am amazed and humbled and overwhelmed. I willingly want to worship everyday....all day. What a difference this will make in my life!

So, today I'm thankful He allows us to come walk worthy though we are incredibly enter His presence with praise honor love Him. The rocks and hills speak of His glory....why shouldn't I?

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 9 of 24 Days of Thanks

I'm getting in right under the deadline today! Whew!

I'm making the last minute preparations for our Women's Night of Worship and Thanksgiving and I am so thankful for all the ladies and men who have played a huge part in everything that will take place tomorrow night. From making desserts, decorating, playing an instrument, singing, giving a testimony, reading a scripture, all the techie stuff, countless hours of practice and planning, nursery workers, people who have prayed....I'm just thankful for them all. I'm thankful that no matter what our jobs are....God will get the glory and the praise for any good thing that happens! I'm thankful I serve a God who is worthy of all the attention we can give Him!

What are you thankful for tonight?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 8 of 24 Days of Thanks

Prayer....a lot has been said about it in the Bible, by scholars and demonstrated by struggling math students in classrooms across the world through the years. There have been songs sung, poems written, quippy quotes quoted....seems like if there is one thing in the Christian life most religions can agree on, it's the power of prayer.

I'm not sure how it all works..except that I know Jesus is interceding to the Father for me. That fact astounds me. To think that in East Texas a girl can pray and that prayer goes to Jesus Christ...the very Savior of this World...and then He takes that request to God the Father....WOW! That is a humbling fact.

I also know there are no unanswered prayers. There was a country song many years ago that alluded to the fact that maybe there were, but alas...I disagree. God always answers our prayers. In perfect time, He gives us a "go", "stop" or "wait". I love hearing "Go" because that means I got my way....and who doesn't love that? But "Stop" and "Wait" are rarely received as such gifts. However, I recently read about someone who looked at God's "stop" and "wait" as a message from God that something better, safer, more desirable was, don't "go" or you will be settling for second best...not God's best. That description sounded a while lot more palatable (not that it is necessary) for me and more like the loving God that I know.

I am also very encouraged when I see God answer the prayers of someone who has been faithful to pray for some one or some thing for years. In my own life I have struggled with long-term prayer commitment- The kind that God waits years and years to answer. Recently a friend of mine had an exciting long-term prayer request answered and I was so excited for her....not only for her prayer to be answered, but also for her faithfulness to have been rewarded. What a faithfulness to God's timing and His omniscience. Make me more faithful, Lord.

Thank you Lord for answered prayer...for the "go" "stop" and "wait".

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 7 of 24 Days of Thanks

I'm digressing here just for today....but truly...there's no way most people could possibly understand my love for Pizza Hut. It's been like this since.....forever. And recently when our local chain decided to get their act together and provide really great service, it just motivated me to visit them more often! 

But my reasons for liking Pizza Hut go beyond their service or their deep dish. The thing is that most of the time when I'm there eating a pizza pie, I'm there with friends and family. The fellowship is better than the pizza, the conversation more lively than the game that's usually on the flat screen and the hilarity that usually explodes is funnier than any sitcom on the TV. We usually gather after church or for a GNO or a birthday and the buzz can be about anything from church to kids to sports. There have even been more serious topics discussed -like a friend who whispered her pregnancy secret, tears shed over an impending departure and even just plain old life getting the best of us. 

The thing is....maybe it's not really Pizza Hut that I love so much (although I do). Maybe it's what happens at Pizza Hut...the friendships, the fellowship, the laughter, the family. Either way...I'm thankful!

What are you thankful for today?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 6 of 24 Days of Thanks

This Sunday morning I'm thankful for bus ministries. The bus ministry of one local church helped to change the course of one woman's life over 40 years ago. That woman was my mother.

My mom was raised in a home where there was chaos. A bus ride to church, a couple of hours in air conditioned rooms, a loving Sunday School teacher and the story of Jesus helped her see life from a different perspective. This perspective eventually became her perspective when she accepted Christ and began her walk with Him. I'm thankful that someone cared enough to get up early on Sunday mornings and drive a bus down the dusty Patch Road in Orlando, Fl and take my mom to church. I'm sure the job was no more glamorous than it is today. But it changed a life. Because my mom was taken to church, she met my father. They dated and were married 5 months after high school graduation. Because of their shared faith in Christ they raised their family to love the Lord. And now, I'm raising my kids to know the Lord. And hopefully the dominoes will continue to fall in that direction for generations and generations.

So, remember whatever ministry you are called to do...bus, nursery, children's,'s important! It could be the tool that God uses to bring a soul to Jesus. It could be the tool that changes the course of a family!

What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 5 of 24 Days of Thanks

Home...Our's is a 1970's, brick, ranch style. A green front door on the front and a large covered porch on the back welcome guests from either direction. It's not fancy. In fact, there are a few updates that need to happen, a few things that need to be fixed, popcorn ceilings that need to be scraped and on any given day...there's a layer of laundry by the laundry door- but it's home. It's the place I love on my family. It's a refuge from a cold world. It's the gathering place for meals. It's where we talk openly. It's the safe place. It's a place to get refueled...built up...loved on...embraced. It's where you can be yourself....completely....comfy clothes that don't match, bare feet and all.

I realize every home is not like ours. And while not perfect (by a long shot) I know that what I have is a gift. Materially speaking, we live comfortably. That is a gift. My home provides shelter, warmth, defense against winds, rain and lightening. That is a gift. But even more importantly than that I know that our home is a place where God has first place. Where there is peace and security. Where people know they are loved. Where our children are being raised to know God. Where we share our deepest concerns, our funniest moments and our heartaches and at the end of the day we know there is no other place on earth we want to place like our home.

In a world where hurting children, abuse, divorce, manipulation, harsh words, arguing and other damaging behavior is prevalent in the home, I'm thankful our home is a place of comfort, rest and encouragement...not because of anything we have done....but because Christ is the builder.

Psalm 127:1 - Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain.

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 4 of 24 Days of Thanks

Who doesn't like something new? While I love antiques and primitive decor, I don't particularly like the dirt and grime that often accompanies them. In fact I have a few things in my shed that I won't even bring in the house until I have the opportunity to clean them up and give them a fresh coat of paint. I love the look....but not the dust and decay that so often sticks. 

One of the things that I'm thankful for is how that God says, "Behold, I make all things new"(2 Corinthians 5:17 and Revelation 21:5)....because, let's be honest, who doesn't love new things? In my life there has been a lot of old....Old habits, old memories, old hurts, old sin, old skeletons in my closet, old disappointments, old burdens. Yet, God reminds me often that He is making all things new. He's capable of replacing all these old things with things that are new and beautiful and lovely. His plan is for us to walk in newness of life. It's a gift I don't know how to fully grasp. It's a struggle between my flesh and my spirit to embrace the new....Not because I don't want the things that the new offers, but because my flesh is comfortable in the the grief and the heartache and the sorrow and the hurt. A short walk in the light of His newness reminds me that He offers new mercy, new peace, new grace, new life for each day. 

How thankful I am that His newness is fresh every morning (Lamentations 3:23). It's not only new, but sufficient. Enough. Adequate. Provisional. He doesn't leave us lacking. He is making all things new.

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 3 of 24 Days of Thanks

Whether it's family game nights, going to the movies, sitting in church together or eating a meal on the go...I am thankful for the time my family gets to spend together. One of the hazards of any job, but especially the ministry is that at the end of the day, you've spent your energy on everything else but those who are the dearest to you. I'm glad for a pledge that Bruce and I made to each other when we marriage....God second...ministry third. We haven't always been perfect about this and we surely don't have an exact formula for making it happen...but we aim for it!

I'm thankful for the way God uniquely fashioned our family. A fun dad, a go-getter-mom, a smart fashionista, a mischievous boy....God balanced out our personalities, our gifts, our talents, our smarts :), our energy, our emotions. He designed us to perfectly fit.

Spiritually speaking, I'm thankful for the godly leadership Bruce provides for our family. He truly is the best man I know. He is kind, hardworking, loving, honest, wise, provides. Savannah is growing in her faith....learning to trust God with thunderstorms and the dark and learning to deal with pre-teen stuff and friendships. She'll take her first Lord's Supper at Thanksgiving. Tucker-man is asking all sorts of questions about God and sin and how could God love us....and I pray it won't be long before he calls on Jesus....a day I've praying for since his birth.

So today...and every day...I'm thankful for this wonderful family God designed. Thank you Lord!

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 2 of 24 Days of Thanks

I'm thankful for God's Word and the way it has changed my life. To think in a small leather bound book, God has given me the words that I need to be equipped to live my life on earth. His instruction book has the answer to every question I have, it's the play book, the planner for every little thing I encounter. It's wisdom goes far deeper than the well meaning advice of a friend. It's correction is longer lasting that the rod of a loving father. It has the power to convict, train, admonish, encourage and change people. It's the words He wants us to live and love by. It's full of commands and adventures and romance and advice and love and grace and mercy and forgiveness.

These past few months I've learned how important it is to stay true to the plays that are outlined in God's Word. It's hard to do what's right. It doesn't always feel good. It's sometimes the least convenient thing to do. It violates my human fleshly desires. But God has a plan..and our responsibility is to obey and do the things He has commanded.

I'm grateful His word measures everything. His very word...spoken to me!

What are you thankful for today?

Day 1 of 24 Days of Thanks

It's Journaling Gina's 3rd annual Days of Thanks! 

I'm counting down to Thanksgiving...24 days from today. Join me?

I am thankful for the gift of salvation that is continuing to radically change me. It's not that it didn't do it's complete work when I accepted Christ as my's that it is the gift that keeps on giving....reminding me of the beauty of the cross, the complete sacrifice, the shedding of blood, of a perfect Savior that wanted a relationship with a lowly sinner. It reminds me of an unblemished love, a grace that is deeper and farther reaching than any song that can be sung. It's personal, it's relational. And when I think about all the things that I can be thankful for....none of them mean anything to me without this first thing that changed everything. How could I not be continually changed by this? 

Feel free to leave your thankful list here or write your own in a journal or on a scratch napkin....the point is thankful!