Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Week of Gratitude

Just layin' upside down on a giant pumpkin!
The little things we can be grateful for...
 Welcome to my Thanksgiving week of gratitude postings!  The next five days will focus on different aspects of thankfulness including some things for which I never thought I'd be appreciative.  Starting with today' flaws...

Truth be told, I have been very frustrated for the past two weeks with my Heavenly communications. Prior to that I had been feeling so connected and filled up and was enjoying the surprise of a new, warm, absolutely trusting relationship with the Big Guy.  In fact, I never knew I could feel so at peace and completely free of expectations for the future.  So when things started to slip, I actually panicked.  In reality, I had simply gotten out of my daily habits...arising, reading my devotionals and Scripture before starting my day, praying on their messages and for my intentions for a bit, then "getting down to it."  The reasons I strayed were, for once, altruistic...I had to help a friend through a surgery; I had to prepare for my first Movement for a Better World project at church that happened this past Saturday; I had to run errands to provide for the needy family we decided to "foster" for the holidays.  So I was confused when, despite my good intentions and acts, I felt farther away from God than ever.  I said, "Lord, I'm doing these things you've called us to do...feeding the hungry, helping the downtrodden...what more do You want of me?"  I was getting NO messages, no answers, and my frustration and agitation were rising.  Yesterday was the final straw, and I just couldn't elevate myself from the deep, dark recesses of my soul.  (My husband said, "Are you mad at me honey?"  I said, "Absolutely not."  But of course, when I'm not talking a million miles a minute, there is clearly something wrong.)

So this morning, I arose to greet the day.  We have a house guest - the daughter of one of my dear friends - and I thought, "Oh, I promised Jazmine I would make waffles for her and she's going to be up anytime.  I better get on it."  I thought of the past week and my decisions counter to my previous morning rituals.  Then I made a clear decision...even if she was hungry, Jaz could wait 20 minutes until I was done with my morning prayer time.  There should be nothing more important (save my kids being deathly ill or a house fire!).   I sat down to read, still feeling badly about my foul mood yesterday, but hoping God had absolved me.  God bless Sarah Young and her ability to cut straight through to the heart of the matter in the words of our Lord in her devotional, "Jesus Calling."  This was what I read:

"I am pleased with you, My Child...You don't have to perform well in order to receive my Love.  In fact a performance focus will pull you away from Me...(and) can be a subtle form of idolatry: worshipping your own good works." 

Whoa, talk about an answer!  I was hearing God's voice in my head.  It was as if I was actually sitting down to have a conversation with Him, and He totally eased my questioning heart.  The passage continued:

"Shift your focus from your performance to My radiant presence.The Light of My Love shines on you continually, regardless of your feelings or behavior. Your responsibility is to be receptive to this unconditional Love.  Thankfulness and trust are your primary receptors.  Thank Me for everything, trust in Me at all times.  These simple disciplines will keep you open to My loving presence."

And with the close of the passage, like a flood, the ideas and messages bombarded my consciousness and I knew I had discovered the communication  So without hesitation, I began to say thank you...

Thank You for a bountiful harvest
& for Autumn's beauty
"Thank you for my flaws, Lord, as the knowledge of my imperfections will keep my focus on You."

"Thank you for granting me a sensitive and understanding heart, Lord, as it will continue to help me discern Your will."

"Thank you for my deep emotional need, Lord, as it will keep me connected to You, the only One who will always fill the void."

Thank You for reading and thank you for remembering, with me, to be thankful for all that we have...all that we do not have...all that we strive for...and all that we will one day receive.  Day One of gratitudinal posts down...four to go...

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