Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lessons on Faith, Trust & Thanksgiving

Warning - this will be a LONG post!

Life at work has been pretty tough lately.  I'm not going to lie.  I'm also not going to go into much detail, but please pray for me and my classroom as we deal with some tough issues this school year.  I am feeling so defeated everyday.  But I keep praying and He keeps providing.  Honestly, The Lord gives me the strength to push through and focus on the good when I just can't. 

With that being said, I've been knocked over the head by lessons of faith, trust and thanksgiving here lately.  I'll start with thanksgiving first.  After a vent session with my momma, she told me to go home and write down three things I'm thankful for.  My cup runneth over.  I have more blessings than I could count, but I will name a few.
1. My awesome, amazing, understanding, hilarious, supportive, best friend of a husband.  Think of every great adjective to describe someone and I could list that for him.  I would be lost without him, plain and simple.
2.  My incredible family, church family, and friends who listen to me, pray for me, love me, and constantly encourage me.  I would be lost without them too.
3.  My stable home.  I know where I'm going to go home to each night - it's clean, comfortable, smells good, fridge is stocked, love abounds within the walls.  It's not a house - it's a home.

I could go on and on, but just focusing on those three made me cry and thank God.  My devotion this morning was all about thankfulness.  I prayed that He would fill my lungs and lips with thanksgiving today.  I feel like I failed miserably.  Today was tough.  Really bad, even.  Tomorrow is a new day and I will keep on keeping on.  Some thoughts that really hit home for me from my devotional were:
*Thankfulness opens the door to God's presence.
*God has empowered us to open and close that door, but a grateful attitude is one of the most effective ways to open it.
*Thankfulness is built on a substructure of TRUST.
*I need to learn the art of giving thanks in all circumstances.

Ahhh...see that scripture at the top of my blog?  Yeah, I need to repeat that over and over.  Practicing thankfulness is hard, but it sure does put life into perspective.  I am so blessed.

The Lord has also been teaching me A LOT about faith and trust over the last year or so.  Hillsong United has a new song out called Oceans.  I really like this cover version though.

And I will call upon Your Name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace

Really listen to those lyrics.  Powerful.  Something happens to me when I hear this song.  My spirit calms and I just focus and believe the words.  All of them.  He has never failed and He won't start now.  I will continue to call upon His name and keep my eyes above the waves.  I will continue to ask for the Spirit to lead me where my trust is without borders and my faith will be made stronger.  Oh boy, is He teaching me this!
I was doing my quiet time yesterday, reading in Hebrews.  It was time for me to wrap it up and start getting ready for work, but I felt SO compelled to keep going.  I looked at the next chapter I was going to read, which was Hebrews 11, and decided it was too long and I just needed to wait until this morning to read through it and take notes.  But then the little voice, aka the Holy Spirit, told me to read it.  So I listened and did it.  Mumbling and grumbling as I turned to it.

Wow.  What a slap in the face.  The whole chapter is Luke's recount of faithful acts through the times.  By FAITH Abel's sacrifice was better than Cain's, by FAITH Noah built the ark, by FAITH, Abraham offered up Isaac, by FAITH Moses led the people to the Promised Land, by FAITH the walls of Jericho came tumbling down, by FAITH Sarah conceived.  I could go on and on, but just open it and read for yourself.  I just kept circling BY FAITH, BY FAITH, BY FAITH over and over.  It's BY FAITH that all things are made possible.  It's BY FAITH that we gain approval.  It's BY FAITH that God provides far better than what we can imagine.  Guess I needed to hear that message!

I don't know the ways in which He works, for His ways are far greater than me.  But I do know this, I must have FAITH and I must trust Him.  Along the way, I must give thanks for my many blessings to keep my eyes fixed on the good.  Otherwise, I'm totally swallowed up by the bad and defeated.  Do I fail?  YES.  Can I try again?  YES!  That's the good news.

Praise God for all He's done and all He's yet to do!

If you made it to the end of this post, you have to know that my mood when I started this was awful.  I was crying, angry, sad, all those icky emotions.  Now I feel lighthearted, joyful, peaceful.  Have any of my circumstances changed?  Not a one.  But what has changed is my mindset and attitude.  This was therapeutic for me to get these feelings and words out.  God has really been convicting my heart to share this and start posting again.  I will do my very best!


Lauren O said...

This was beautifully written. I especially liked, "My spirit calms and I just focus and believe the words. All of them. He has never failed and He won't start now." Very much agreed. Glad to see the process of your thoughts, and how even when the weightiness of a moment, or a certain span of time can start to affect us-but, according to what you said-when we choose to open the door with thankfulness, we experience joy, peace, and other wonderful emotions. Victory indeed.

Toeshoes Jess said...

God seems to move in mysterious ways! The song you mentioned is one that I just heard for the first time at my church worship night, last night...and it wrecked me! Trust, Faith and Love but the greatest of these is Love. I think that the reason these three are so important but not equally weighed has to do with our human hearts, minds and emotions. He knows that if we can first Love then trust, while for most is easily given way, is the hardest to get back. Sometimes it is only through love that it can be earned back. Faith is what so many of us go throughout life always searching, never realizing that it was lost in the first place, just misguided.
Having just come back from a country far less developed then our own, I have been battling with the thoughts of why do some have excess and are dissatisfied and seems to even cause them depression- while others who literally have nothing, have God's light and inner peace that fill them up and has them smiling from within? I know the those people serve as a lesson for us to turn from our ways and follow God's heart. It is something I would gladly do in moments, but surprisingly would be a greater sacrifice then never having had any of it to start.
Praise God for the work He is doing through you, even more so than the work He is doing in you. You are His ambassador in the world. It is important to remained in the world but NOT of the world. May you seek His face and He shine upon you and grant you peace.

Goldie ZP said...

It is very therapeutic to open your heart up at times. We all should praise the Almighty every day! Every moment!

Rosina Lipstreu said...

Thank you for sharing this, it was very encouraging. God spoke to me through your post... I happened to find your blog a while ago when I was looking into how to make coasters. Anyhow, some friends and I are making some more for a Christmas bazaar and I was looking for your post and then I came across this one. I was very touch by your words, like you, I am going through some hard times and all I have left is to keep all my FAITH in God. It's hard to do but He is capable of making the impossible things possible. Keep praying and praising Him, He will continue to grow you as a Christian and fill you with his Spirit. Take care.

In Christ,

Carrie Louise said...

Thank y'all for your sweet, encouraging comments. I love reading your words and being convicted to continue to share and praise God in all situations. Jess, you couldn't be more right. I've been thinking of that too. I think we fail to see His beauty in everything and we starve ourselves of it then we're ravished and miserable. How awful that we can't see His blessings! I've started keeping a journal of things I'm thankful for. I was inspired by a book called "A Thousand Gifts". Y'all should definitely check it altering! Praying for God's blessings over each of you.

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