Tag Archives: Gratitude

Giving Thanks In ALL Things

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I pray that you will be encouraged and as a way of reminder, find a place for thanksgiving today as we enter into a time of remembering. Affirmed and grateful for how timely God always is when we need a “word in due season”. God continues to stretch & shape my heart as I bend and surrender my will, to each committed new mercy-filled day to give thanks in ALL things. The last few years have been filled with some challenging, fear-full, one step at a time, God-Sized and yet “hard” eucharisteos–the giving of thanks for my family and I. This joy journey, the purposeful pursuit of grateful living, where “thanks-giving” rewrites the habits of ingratitude into “thanks-living” has caught me off-guard, captured my thoughts, and is continuing to transform my heart. As a way of transparent confession, this truth-teaching that transforms hearts at the same time has opened the door for warfare unlike anything that I have ever experienced. Yet. Will. I. Praise. Him.

It is easy to say, I give thanks in ALL things. It is another to give thanks as you walk THROUGH the “hard eucharisteo’s” and come out of life’s most difficult “opportunities” to learn that giving thanks is the only way to fullness of joy. Sigh. You see for me it has settled deep, opened, exposed and removed dark places closed off to the Lord and recreated a beautiful place for God to fully live. Emptied. To. Fill.

The Lord dwells there. His presence makes known to us the path that leads to life according to Psalms 16:11 Apart from HIM there is no joy-filled life, rest for my soul, nor surrender to His sovereignty. He is working ALL things together for good, from His view of ALL that is going on. And on the days when thanksgiving has truly transformed my life, we meet there. Without the giving of thanks, I am left empty with nothing of the Who He is in His fullness to spill out one drop of thanksgiving. Lord. Help. Us.

Today, I stopped and with a burdened heart, gave thanks. He IS the mighty warrior, supreme and powerful ruler…the God of the universe; yet in His mercy, His presence sees. Knows. Leads. Comforts. Provides. His presence fills every emptied out place with peace in this life when ALL things seem to be shaking in  this world and the spiritual realm. We will never understand the ways of God, nor comprehend how His unfailing love is working in ALL the days of our lives for our good and His glory. Lord, Your ways are higher, stronger, greater and every moment of thanksgiving back to You is a small gift from this veiled view. The mystery. We. See. Dimly.

Such love…..so pure, rich and deep. Oh, the JOY that floods my soul.

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

Tonight we give thanks. WE. GIVE. THANKS. Tomorrow’s mercies will be there for every bent and spilled-out surrendered heart to what seems so very simple. It will likely challenge every programmed response we have ever learned to date. Yet, His promises are trustworthy, sure and steadfast. He is God and HIS character, nature and attributes remain the same ALL-ways! Sure as the sun will rise to greet each new day, if the Lord wills.  New. Every. Morning.

“Eucharisteo…always, always precedes the miracle.”Ann Voskamp

To give thanks

“Eucharisteo, always, always precedes the miracle.” Ann Voskamp

Thanks Ann Voskamp for validating my heart’s journey towards fullness of joy! God has taught me so much in 2013. I am grateful that He does not give up or abandon His creation but continues to long for a relationship with His beloved! The privilege that I have had of leading women, children and families along the same path that this simple life traveled has been beautiful to watch from my view. My heart leans in to their stories of their journey fills my emptied heart with such deepened love and joy around the living Word received and applied so powerfully in their lives. God’s message and directed course for this season has led surrendered hearts through the “hard eucharisteos” into the places where THEIR messy story began. Their pathway still meandering, as does mine, around the field of mines that vie for the lies and affections of our life. Hearts rewritten with gratitude and Thanks-Living are among the best in this season of remembering.

Thanks-Giving. Miracles. Thanks-Living. Fullness of joy.

Excerpt from Ann Voskamp’s Journal Entry Today…..

http://www.aholyexperience.com/

“They were simple people, but they knew it because they had lived it:

No matter what the headlines shout, the world only has two stories: bless God or curse God.
No matter what the world tries to sell, we all only get to choose from two shelves: Give God thanks or Give God the door.
No matter what we’re facing, there are always only two roads: thanksgiving to God or dismissing of God.

“They were simple people but they had decided that they….

…..would not let hard times steal their thanksgiving.
…..if you let something steal your thanksgiving, you let something steal your joy, and if you let something steal your joy, you let something steal your strength.
…..would let nothing steal their thanksgiving to God – so that in everything they could stand strong in God.

Simple people – keeping it simple……. we will give thanks to God not because of how we feel, but because of who He is.

No disaster, no storm, no cancellation, no termination, no catastrophe would stop them from giving thanks. Because…….they knew it:

No matter where they were, every thanksgiving always brought them home —- giving thanks always brings you home to the heart of God.” ~Ann Voskamp

My children, grandson and family will be together around the inherited family table, the gathering place of so many great memories. It represents a lifetime filled with so many blessings. Countable gifts. The measure of a gracious God. We. Give. Thanks.

Home. “Thanksgiving” is bringing them home. Around the table, our collective hearts will pause and find peace above ALL circumstances through Thanks-Living EVERY DAY IN ALL THINGS.”
Yes, and this I know……Thanks-Living will lead us directly to the heart of God. “In His presence IS fullness  of  joy….” Psalm 16:11

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Rhythm Church @ River Street Park

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The 2013 Joy Journey River Street Park

The 2013 Joy Journey
http://www.go2mro.com
Motor Racing Outreach
River Street Park

At this days’ end….
Hearts bent low, enlarged and filled with gratitude……
Every small gift glimpsed, this side of heaven today, culminates in fullness of joy!! When we fail to find the right words, Ann Voskamp’s daily journal entry captures thoughts, conversations, wonderings and the tenet of our collective hearts find definition.
Dump Harper

Dump Harper

“Something grows in me and it doesn’t have words and it doesn’t ask for words. Asks only witnessing. Only gratitude. Only the living that lets the everyday dirt become the sacred everyday. There are times it seems wrong to keep your shoes on, to do anything less than stand bare-heeled and bowed and broken wide open. Them bent. The way a soul can grow any way it chooses.” @AnnVoskamp One Thousand Gifts A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are http://www.aholyexperience.com/

Gwen Howard and Karen Clark

Gwen Howard and Karen Clark

Tonight our hearts thank God for freedom’s voice captured on this warm, sunny day in May. The freedom to thoughtfully pursue life as God speaks, to find hope in the cumulative, simple graces of seasoned friendships with like hearts alongside together. For this life to have a reason to get up each day, to breathe and for hearts that beat to faithfully serve God out of His great love for us!

“Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that He has given you.” Deuteronomy 16:17

We made & welcomed two new friends. Our walk through the River Street Community was so worth the time. The Spirit’s work in our hearts. Our eyes become the window genuine and touch all that God longs for on this day. We see the soil of hearts and seed every eternal truth we can into them. His touch like a fountain flows for the purpose of bearing witness to the something greater that He is within us. We absolutely understanding that we are so small in this world; the lesser things, nothing special except that His Holy Spirit lives in and through us. Blessed that He has purposed His desire, earnest and searing “for such time as this’

River Street Park

River Street Park
“All of this darkness can’t overtake that little tiny light,” Michael “Big Dog” Burris

We, tucked beneath our sturdy roofs, safely protected from the rain, wind, and earthly elements. In the eternal, through life’s storms, promises made, broken and kept, daily bread, living water, provision, a future, a hope, an eternal promise……HIS promises…..oh yes, and the wind at the top of the hill on a very hot day. We commit, search, pursue, and pray in faith believing just as Jesus taught us. Our Father..in Heaven..hallowed be Thy name…Thy will be done….On earth as it is in Heaven….Daily Bread….forgiveness of debt…forgiving our debtors…lead not into temptation….deliver us from evil…Thine is: the Power, the Glory…Forever!!!

946618_564229967217_1434667506_nOn reflection, we share hearts overwhelmed with goodness. Tender hugs, life’s challenges confessed…transparent. No place or need to hide. Life is hard. We are all on this journey of faith together as seekers, dreamers, hopeful hearts, open, guarded and filled with the raw emotion of scars from life’s raging battles….The rhythm of our movement still takes our breath away. We should listen more closely to the children. Their unheard cry for help is simple and their love is without demands. Sweet kisses on our cheeks. A small hand touches a back, just to be close and shares his applesauce as an offering for sharing our kindnesses…..Mother, daughters and grandchildren share this day together.

Mother, daughters and grandchildren share this day together.

It is whimsical, fun, intent as little hearts hug you from behind, beside, from the top of our heads to the very planting of our feet. Paint on noses, fingers, toes and clothing but with concentrated effort. Four small boys try to sit all at once on an open lap. Every person from young to old sits to paint, relax and feel child-like again. Every time our back is to them and upon turning around, another chair, a new face smiling at the simplicity of life’s activity in the neighborhood. Nowhere else to be but just in the here…the now. So far removed from any lingering thoughts of tense moments as they arise or what will be when the sun goes down. The “I love you’s” still linger and haunt us in every good way. Any child there could be loved as our own. No need for explanation or to know any part of the story because of the active heart of God’s Holy Spirit is breathing, seeing, stirring, bringing to life every closed off place in our hearts. His love for humanity surrounds us and is in EVERY touch!!!!

Kristen Yeley, Bobby and Missy deSouza

Kristen Yeley, Bobby and Missy deSouza

We pause, step back and see in every vignette, all hearts smiling. We are forced to take a deep breath and settle our spirits into the fullness of God. The wellspring of life!!!! Tangible. Measurable…Palpable. It is close: in your lap, on your hip, a jump from behind or in front that dares to literally knock you down.. To be reminded that a simple wooden car is the key that has opened this lovely door.Matt Clark
Matt Clark
In the middle of everything that is messy, the square covered shelter becomes a  life-giving place that allows us all  to forget….even if just for one moment!!  And how it stops us, dead in our tracks, with its fullness. Smiles….genuine, momentary, fleeting and there is little time to savor and chew on its richness….a snapshot of life….real life!! And then we consider and wish for one more life to live, to do more, to reach deeper and farther in the promise of seeing God’s Kingdom enlarged and made greater. Sigh.
Gwen Howard

Gwen Howard

Humbled…we slow and savor our heart’s cry. Hoping to capture every second and store the time deep within that place in our hearts that we draw from on the hard days. In recollection, we are posed with a relative question…In OUR day-to-day living, is there really this kind of hard? How God has filled our cups to overflowing. We cry out to God with hands uplifted in praise and pray, Lord,  fill them up again tonight!!
Living Love

Living Love

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18

“We’ll give thanks to You with gratitude. For lessons learned in how to trust in You. That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream. In abundance or in need. And if You never grant us peace. But Jesus, would You please . .” Nicole Nordeman

“When thanks to God becomes a habit – so joy in God becomes your life.” Ann Voskamp

Danielle Bolin, Melanie Self, Faith Yeley, Dump Harper, JJ Yeley

Danielle Bolin, Melanie Self, Faith Yeley, Dump Harper, JJ Yeley

Gratitude by Nicloe Nordeman

River Street Park Love

River Street Park Love

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Living Thanks with Bated Breath

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“In Your presence if fulness of joy.” Psalm 16:11 http://www.deniseinbloom.com

I am a self-proclaimed painfully transparent and verbose lover and follower of Jesus Christ. I am passionate 🙂 and you will likely not miss my input of thought and idea in any conversation. Certainly not a shock for anyone that knows me well. {We can discuss my failed strength at another time. I promise!}

Truthfully, words rarely fail me… I find great joy in speaking life into the hearts of those who seek out my heart for care. Humbling.

I honestly almost passed over this journal post based on the title. Sorry Ann Voskamp. I adore your ministry to my heart.

But read I must before closing the final window on my computer as I closed the work day. I know, I was drawn by the Holy Spirit to stop. Honestly, I clicked the X and began reading at the same time, thankful to the Lord that He rescued my needy heart for one more moment with Him.

I was immediately absorbed by the tenets written as dear to my heart. Longing as I continued longing for and discovering its deeper meaning…

My response….tears…..not just one but a cascade unleashed. So much so, that I stopped….then paused…..breathe, yes breathe, I kept reminding myself……but I found myself “with bated breath” while reading this Ann Voskamp’s journal post.

The under-used phrase “with bated breath”, refers to a state in which you almost stop breathing as a result of some strong emotion, such as terror or awe. In awe, I am brought into awareness the purpose for my pause, as I vaguely remember my grandmother tongue-in-cheek saying that phrase on more than on occasion, most often with much eye communication and wondering. Huh? However, today, I found heart resolve! http://www.worldwidewords.org

Things close in and near to my heart today…..have caught my breath and God allowed me a moment of pause “but for God’s grace”…..Sincerely.

The joy of gathering with family this past week in  Thanksgiving. The sudden loss of a young soul and injury to a young family member in the community that we serve. A distressed heart as it carries the burden for another…..makes not only my breath but my heartbeat faint….parents, siblings, family, friends, the sum total of the communal family…..loss, regret, forgiveness not from God~we get an all-forgiving God but forgiving oneself, wishing for one more day, moment, opportunity….

” All of life is messy. And there are no islands in the Kingdom of God.” Ann Voskamp

How do we know the pain of the “messy” without walking through the heart-break “messy” brings, holding on in the middle of “messy”,  caring beside of the “messy”, and upholding alongside from near or afar….

Through numbness learning to breathe again, trust again, waking up from the lost moments waiting, walking one step  at-a-time, through each day at-a-time, even if barely holding on….

Not a time for placating church words that offer little solace but with arms reaching out to hold the body of the grief-laden heart and soul just as God would.

Leading hearts toward hope renewed, finding a voice again, a message, the awkward newness of it all…..

Knowing where our trust must lie and the honest, yet real inner conflict in allowing that to truly happen. To release it unto a Sovereign God and know……

A young man, Ted, battling cancer, a group of Godly, loving men in support and Ted’s humble response to this “pause” in his life. “…..nothing can steal your joy unless you hand it over”.

And the more I read, the more I keep reminding myself to breathe…..I was yearning for more of this mans resolve of simple faith…. “with bated breath”!

“Thanksgiving is action de grace in French —  and after Thanksgiving comes Christmas and after grace comes action, and we don’t occasionally give thanks to feel good but we live thanks.” Ann Voskamp

My lungs begin the slow exhale as I neared the ending of this good “pause” for me. I was encouraged and challenged to stop and allow the final words to resonate on my heart at this days ending.

Not really sure if you needed this as much as I did today, but I invite you into the joy of my little “pause”….

Today, I was reminded anew, “This Thanksgiving that never ends,” no matter my “pause”, is the way of finding true daily joy in my life as I live out the “touching of others lives with tender actions of grace.”

I am so very grateful for every person in my life that has “paused” with me through the rough places and set tenets of faith in their tender grace-filled actions that I still hold dear as a model of Jesus Christ today.

Yes. That is how I long for my heart to be bent…..I desire for it to be my heartbeat…..grateful, joyous….to  carry others burdens through in the daily through “tender actions of grace”.

“When grace rescues you, then giving thanks is the responding action. When grace delivers you, then action defines you. When grace takes you in right where you are, then you act out your gratitude wherever you are. 365 days of the year.” Ann Voskamp

My quiet moment of prayer to the Lord as I close….
Lord, never let me go, keep me mindful of this “pause” for hearing with my heart; I long and wait “with bated breath” for every opportunity to live out “tender actions of grace” that you provide for me as I move and You lead me in Your will….. for Your glory…..for Your kingdom come!

Breathing…..
“…..nothing can steal my/our joy unless you/I hand it over”.

So be encouraged today beloved of God. We are His and He is Who we depend on when we face the challenging opportunities for “pauses” that bring growth and understanding to our hearts.

Thanks so much for sharing this journey of faith with me. Praying that this offering of  a “tender action of grace” will meet need and fill all that your heart can hold!!

You are loved….

Living Simply~Simply Living!

Mel

“We’re depending on God; He’s everything we need. What’s more, our hearts brim with joy since we’ve taken for our own His holy name. Love us, God, with all You’ve got — that’s what we’re depending on.” (Psalm 33:20-22 MSG)

Check out A Holy Experience! You will be better for it!
http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/11/how-beards-men-random-acts-of-kindness-can-change-the-world/