Thankful Thursday

thankful_smiley_faces[1]

Today I’m running, well, walking through a list of thankfulness. It’s Thursday Thankfulness, even though it’s almost Friday (yay!).

  • Summer’s here! My boys are officially out of school. Ten weeks of no alarms, no PB & J sandwiches made at 11pm on weeknights, no rush to wash uniforms, and no set schedules. It was a good year in some way; a very difficult year in other ways. But God was good through it all.
  • Finishing my first book proposal. It was an in-depth, detailed project, a college literature paper on steroids. Because a book proposal is like a job application, and I’m SO glad it’s finished, and excited to see the next curve in the writing road. This leads me into my next thankful item…
  • Critique partners. Three years ago, even two years ago, I was like meh. I’m doing okay, chugging along with my writing. Do I really need a critique partner (or two, or three?) Then God intersected my path with two writers with whom I finaled/semi-finaled in a contest in 2015, and pieces I didn’t know were missing clicked into place. Talk about oh, snap. :) Encouragement and camaraderie galore, and now I wish they lived closer so I could hug them for all their wonderfulness (and I’m really not that huggy). They’re a blessing on this journey-to-publication, and I pray I’m a help to them, too.
  • I’m thankful for gummy bears. Yes, those. Squishy, chewy, fruity little bears. I’ve been on a kick lately. Haribo is the best, FYI & IMO.
  • I’m thankful for new beginnings. Each new day, we start fresh, thanks to God’s mercy. “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul. ‘Therefore I hope in Him!'” (Lam. 3:22-24).
  • For new cars. After nearly eleven years and saving for a long while, my husband purchased a new vehicle. It’s pretty fancy and shiny and it flies…okay, it doesn’t fly. But it IS fancy and shiny and I’m so happy for him and grateful for how hard he works and how well he takes care of us.  *Done husband gushing now*
  • This one is weird. Are you ready? Hear me out. I’m thankful for a memorial service I attended recently. Not, of course, for my dear friend’s loss (though she and her family are grateful their loved one is no longer sick and now stands, healthy, in the presence of the Lord). But I’m thankful for the joyful reminder of grace and hope through Jesus Christ. In the face of death and loss and suffering, we have HOPE. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
  • For praying friends. For friends to pray with, whether it’s about family, illness, finances, the future, writing, or just peace for the anxious moment. Words fail at my gratefulness for prayer, at the reminder of how very much we need each other, and how very wise our God is to give us each other.
  • I’m grateful for you. Don’t forget you are loved and treasured by a God who hand-made you.

Can you think of a few things to give thanks for this Thursday, almost Friday? I hope you have a fun almost-summer weekend!

tumblr_mg4k3gCZyv1r1o6z3o1_400[1]

 

Already Yours

a823b3289ca7e9efb818678d555e7b8a[1]

“Have a good day. See you next time!” I smiled, gave a small wave as the customer fisted her bags and headed to the store exit. She was a regular customer, and I knew I’d probably see her next week.

I glanced at the time on the register. 1:44. My shift was almost over. Another face appeared in line, this one unfamiliar. I motioned her over, pulled on a smile. Her hands overflowed with trinkets and treasures.

The norm in this mecca of beautiful furniture, home décor, rugs, sheets, comforters, and even kids’ toys where I worked part-time.

This particular customer discovered two ornate crystal picture frames, a bag of granola deliciousness, and three alphabet-letter bookends. To my surprise, they were my initials! When I shared that, we had a fun chat about our names (totally different) as I rung her up.

During the transaction, I eyed the letter that matched my last name. A large, off-white ‘J’ with wood etching. It would go so well on one of my bookcases…

Stop. Nope. Don’t need it. No.

Working at a retail store that has the word ‘Happy’ as part of its tag line can be dangerous. When I started there four years ago, my husband cocked his head and gave me the Captain Obvious look. “Is it a good idea to work there? Will you actually bring a paycheck home?”

I had to learn two things: 1) Self-control, and 2) How to walk through the store with eyes closed.

But that pretty letter ‘J’ struck my fancy, and before she left the register I asked if there were anymore. She said yes, and I made a mental note to check on my way out.

After chatting with another employee I hadn’t seen in a while, I talked myself off the cliff of buying the letter ‘J’ that I didn’t really need.

Later that day, I dropped onto the stationary bike in our bedroom, a book in hand, set for thirty minutes of exercise. Halfway through, I glanced across the room and noticed a pretty, white and wood ‘J’ right smack in the middle of my corner bookshelf.

FullSizeRender (2)

Wait a minute.

I already own that J?

Memory dialed back, maybe a year-and-a-half ago. At work we occasionally carry the same items, months later. And apparently we’d carried that letter J, and it had caught my eye back then.

The very thing I’d focused on, wished for, wanted, I already had.

The thought made me grin. It’s already yours.

One of my favorite New Testament books is Colossians. It’s a potent little book that reminds believers that WE ARE COMPLETE IN CHRIST.

FullSizeRender (3)

“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” (Col. 2:8-10)

Sometimes I get so caught up in minute details and overwhelming schedules and dreams bursting from my heart {writing stories that honor God and touch readers’ heart & publish said stories} that I forget I’m already complete in Him.

And we have all we need, because of Jesus.

Do you need strength for the day? Ask Jesus.

Patience with your children? Ask Jesus. He loves them more than you do–he’ll fill you with renewed patience and grace.

Wisdom to deal with a situation at work? Ask Jesus. The Holy Spirit will help you speak the truth in love.

Perseverance in a task–finishing a book, completing a project, reorganizing your house? Ask Jesus. God’s peace isn’t just for high stress situations, but for every aspect of our lives.

Don’t long for something you already have. You are complete in Christ.

Thank You for Your gift of eternal life and peace through Christ Jesus. Help us not take that for granted in our busy, busy lives, Lord. Keep our eyes on You. Amen.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,381 other followers