Journey of Gratitude

I recently have been reading a book titled, One Thousands Gifts which has challenged me to think about whether or not I have a thankful heart or just a frustrated, irritated, “woke up on the wrong side of the bed” heart.  Because of the author’s own journey and personal challenge to be more present in life and write down things she is thankful for, I decided to do them same only in form of a blog.  I will be blogging about my journey and you are more than welcomed to come along –   Attitude of Gratitude.

Our understanding God

About a year ago I remember being at UW Oshkosh’s Fall Retreat in a spot where I was truly asking God – how did I end up here? Confused, angry and unsure of what would lie ahead I went off on my own on a walk through the woods.  It was one of those picturesque moments – the sun glimmering off the lake and shinning down through the changing colors of the fall leaves, the only sound to be heard was my feet crunching those leaves which had fallen.  At various spots along the nature walk were rocks with Scripture to read and my heart was heavy as I read and tried to make myself believe that God was with me.  Lies literally seemed to attack me from every angle and I had to stop walking. At that moment, as I looked out upon the lake, I began to cry.  And as I began to cry, it began to rain.  It was strange because it was sunny.  I found a tree stump and sat down letting my tears mix with rain and truly felt like I had stumbled upon holy ground.  It felt as if the heavens themselves opened up to show me that my Father himself saw my tears and was weeping with me.  I immediately felt comforted even though nothing about my circumstances had changed.  My pain was still with me as I journeyed back to camp and yet I knew that God was with me and in His strength I would make it through whatever it was I faced.

Well, here we are almost exactly a year later and I feel as if I am again in a spot of – how did I end up here? I am confused, angry and unsure of what lies ahead. Ironic? Maybe. But part of me is really starting to wonder.  I recently heard someone say that their life changed when they stopped asking God why and started asking God what.  So now I am wondering – what is this about God? What is it that you want to do in me? But one thing is for certain – no matter how frustrated I am, I do have a God who is compassionate and understanding even when I don’t get it.  I am going to the Word to cling to truth about who He is so that I can remind myself of these things.  And I hope that you are encouraged that no matter what you are walking through – He cares and He truly is weeping with you and by your side.

Psalm 147:4-6

He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.

Isaiah 40:28

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

Psalm 8:3-5

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,  the moon and the stars,which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

Reflections of Florida

Sunshine, palm trees, blue ocean water.  These are a few of the things we have seen here in Florida.  It’s been a little over one month since our arrival to the Sunshine State and while it does have lots of sunny, warm days thus far, internally it’s been a battle to have that sunny, warm, happy feeling.

As a person who struggles with depression, it’s always a little tricky to navigate when you get to a point such as the one that I find myself in.  I am experiencing many changes and transition.  So am I depressed or am I experiencing “normal” transitional “things.”  Do I call and try to change meds or do I exercise more? Do I need to give in and take naps because I am tired or will that just be giving into depression and therefore make me more depressed? Such are the questions that sort of bombard me daily.

So I received an email about the transition process that was really insightful.  It talked about what you go through during these stages: Involvement, Leaving, Transition, Entering, Re-Engagement. Some words that struck during me the Transition stage (where I am currently) were:

  • Status-less
  • Structure-less
  • Clueless
I had to laugh – because I was like —– YES!!!!!!  Exactly how I feel! Then it went onto more of the social things:
  • Exaggerated problems
  • Misunderstanding and Ambiguity
  • Self-centered Isolation
  • Must Initiate New Relationships
Yes, and yuck.  And if that’s not enough – how about some psychological things to throw in:
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Loss of continuity with past in present
  • Grief
  • Disappointment
  • Dreams
Sigh.  Well, I’ve written enough for now.  There is hope.  I am in transition, I may be experiencing depression, I may not – but I may be able to pull out of it quicker because I am recognizing it and I am going to see a counselor next week and talk through some things. Not everyday is all bad.  But tears do come easily and daily – but when it rained off and on yesterday I couldn’t help but think, “Thank you God for crying with me. Thank you for caring about where I am and for being with me.”

New Blog – Keeping this One Too!

I have 2 blogs these days…. my other blog is “Journeys” and on that blog I was intending on writing more about the journey that we are on from packing, doing summer project in North Dakota, to being in Colorado now, and then finally our move to Florida for one year.  I still plan on keeping this Blog, but I haven’t had a lot of internet exposure.  The plan for this blog is to keep the focus more Mom, Wife, update on kids related.  So that’s the story with these blogs (in case you were wondering – and perhaps you were not!)

Thanks for reading and I hope you continue.

Relatable

I love when I read God’s word and find that it relates so perfectly to my life!  Ok, so I realize that this really something that can happen always – but don’t you know how sometimes it seems like something from the Bible just seems to pop off the page and speak to your heart?

Today it was from Romans 7.  I love that Paul, who was in my view, someone who followed Christ with all his heart – to the point of being so bold in his faith that it would bring imprisonment in his life – this man opens up and gets what I think is REAL.  This is what Paul says:

“For I do not do what I want, but do the very thing I hate….For I have the desire to do what is right but not the ability to carry it out…”

Just like the law of gravity, Paul sees a law that when he wants to do what is right, evil lies close at hand.  He says, ” for I delight in the law of God in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin.”

This is SO TRUE!  Even as I was reading these passages – I was torn because I knew that I had not been intentional with my kiddos and that doing so would be a good choice, yet my flesh was wanting to be selfish and just continue to sit on the bed (even using “I need to spend time with God” as a spiritual sounding excuse) and disengage from not only them but if I was honest from life in general as then I could “escape” my realities.  But that is not living by faith and therefore if I am totally being up front, it’s sin.

Thankfully, God is a God of grace, mercy and forgiveness.  And as I read on Paul’s word brought hope and encouragement:

“Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

And then as you go on into Romans 8 and read that there is now therefore NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus – it is a very good place to be.  However, I was very thankful to be convicted that I do need to be aware of my flesh and then to be more open to the Spirit who is already in me to work and fill me with His power so that I can make wise choices and glorify the Father.

I Did It


I finished my first half marathon yesterday.  It’s sort of surreal.  I feel almost like I didn’t do it.  Although my legs are telling me I did; I could barely walk when I woke up this morning and maneuvering down the stairs has been a very painful experience.

Considering the 25 or more mile and hour wind that we were running in, I was prepared to not do so well.  Yet I ended up doing better than I thought, finishing the race with a time of 2:12:11.  Not to shabby for a first timer in my opinion.  I think what helped me was knowing that Josh knew how I was faring along the way (he was getting updates on his cell phone from the chip on my shoe) and then also knowing that he would be there at the finish line.

Currently, I am sitting in our living room on in one of those fold up camping chairs with cup holders and Josh is on the floor with a pillow because we moved all our furniture into storage today.  So because of that chaos I think I haven’t been able to soak in the experience of the half marathon as much.  And yet I know that it’s also just all keeping me moving so that I don’t sit in my emotions too long and let them engulf me to the icky pit.

One really encouraging thing yesterday at the half marathon was seeing Josh’s face light up with joy when he saw me at the end — he kept saying things like, “well done, you did it, great job.” He was genuinely proud of me.  He put his arm around me and squeezed me and I felt great in his presence.  Today I thought about that moment and thought about when I am finally in the presence of Jesus – face to face – and how I want to hear him say… “well done, good and faithful servant.”  I want to see his face light up at the end with joy when he sees me, to be genuinely proud, put his arm around me and squeeze me, and in his presence I can’t even imagine how wonderful that will feel.

Ready

In one week and two days I will be running my first half marathon.  I don’t know if I am ready!  I am really quite nervous about it.  I have thoughts such as:

I wish I would’ve trained harder, I wish I would’ve done more lifting so my legs were stronger, I wish I would’ve thought about how stressful of time it is with packing (well, I guess I didn’t really know in January when I signed up that we’d be moving – or that 3 days after the half marathon we’d be putting our stuff into storage!).

But here we are.  And I did train.  I can run at least 8.  I will try to run 10 before the race (maybe tomorrow or Sunday). I do believe I can do it.  There are just some fears I have and some doubts.  I fear that it will be a really crappy day – rainy, cold, and super windy.  I doubt that I will be able to make all 13.1 miles without having a major need to go to the bathroom (big fear here people, big fear).  I have fears about the course being hilly, my inability to hock a logy.  But ultimately, beyond these fears and doubts, I have been preparing and I am as ready as I am going to be.

As I think about what’s coming up in our future the same things are true.  I have some fears and some doubts.  First, I have fears about the unknown.  Whether that be my living situation on summer project, to how my kids will handle all the transitions of Medora, Colorado and then Florida, or even how Josh and I will handle the stress that will inevitably come with traveling with two small kids for 14 hours, then an 8 hour trip, then the cross-country haul to FL (oh, did I mention that times can be a little stressful already in the midst of packing! lol!)

And doubts easily creep right in.  It can be doubts in myself, such as, maybe I will have a hard time in my new season or  I won’t connect with others.  Or then it can be the what if game – what if I am not okay with the direction we end up going? (that’s the “biggy” for me).  Really it comes down to my heart AGAIN needing to rest in the sovereignty of my GOOD shepherd, who does things that are best for me.

I believe he has been preparing me as well as my family for this new season.  I know that beyond these fears and doubts, I am ready.