Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On Being Thankful

Today is not Thanksgiving.  Today is Tuesday, a regular day in November.  It happens to be two days before our national day of thanks, but honestly it could be any day in any month.  Just a plain old Tuesday.  Only it wasn't.  Today should be Thanksgiving.  Today was anything but normal.  I don't want normal anymore.

This Thursday is the day we Americans set aside as the day to nationally and officially give thanks.  Most of us celebrate with family and friends.  Usually a turkey is involved, stuffing or dressing (depending on your region of the country), sweet potatoes, and a pie or two.  We overeat, much as we do the rest of the year; this time it is on food that is relegated for our special feast.  We pause.  We say we are thankful.  We take it for granted that we have these blessings, casually asking for blessings on the food.  We say we are thankful, but it doesn't always reach our hearts. 

God has been working on me this week.  He is removing the callouses that have hardened my heart.  He is teaching me obedience (mine), faithfulness (His), and He is throwing in a large dose of mercy and grace (both for my own use and to share).  Sunday I saw a video from just after the tornado hit Birmingham.  In the midst of the relief effort there, some nameless recipient lettered a sign and posted at the edge of their yard:  "I saw God today."  The second sign simply said, "Thank you."

I've been thinking.  Saying "thank you" is easy.  Someone holds open the door for you to pass through.  Out pops "thanks".  Someone gives you a stick of gum.  Manners dictate a "thank you".  Someone helps you in the midst of a bind, you thank them generously.  Saying thank you isn't difficult.  BEING thankful is.

I've not always had a thankful heart.   I've said the words, I've had much to be thankful for, and I've acknowledged those blessings, but I've not always been thankful.  Today, I am.  Today, I am thankful for my second chance to tell an uncle that Jesus loves him and died for him.  Today, I am thankful that God sees fit to use me to share His love.  Today, I am blown-away amazed that God orchestrated my entire day just so I could tell my uncle about the amazing grace He offers--even to alcoholics, especially to alcoholics.  Today I am thankful that God saw fit to give me words of LIFE so that I could share them with one of His creation, one of His beloved.  Today, I am awed to know that as I watched my cousin care for his father, I saw God.  I will never be the same again.  And I am so thankful! 

So, today is Thanks-giving for me.  I will not wait until Thursday to stop and take stock of my blessings and understand all that I have to be thankful for.  Today, I give thanks to my God for second chances--for me, for my family, and, specifically, for my uncle.  Today, I give thanks that God loves me enough to give His one Son to save me from what I deserved--a forever in Hell.  I am thankful He loves me so much that He sent someone to tell me.  And I am blessed, so blessed, that He gives me the chance to tell someone else about Jesus!  (Now you know.  If you want to, need to hear more, let me know!  I've lots to talk about!)

Now that you know too, go tell someone else.  It will be the highlight of your day.

Happy Thanks-giving and Happy Thanks-being.  They're both good!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You Keep Me Real

I have a group of girlfriends that keep me bare-to-the-bones honest and real.  They celebrate my victories, grieve with me in my pain, and call me back to reality when I get too big for my britches.  I love that they keep me honest and real, that they love me in spite of failings, that they bolster me up when I need it, and that they love me--the real me, the one I try to hide behind a plastic mask.  They hold me accountable for being the me I was created to be. 

And it is in this truth that we all grow.

Thank you, girls.  You are beautiful.  And I love you!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Today is THE Day

Because of You I no longer wallow in sin, looking for things to make me feel alive.  Because of You and what You did, I must share Hope and Love--I must share YOU.

He has been calling you for a long time, watching you make a fool of yourself while you chased the things that would never fill you up, never satisfy you.  This time He has moved you to a place where you have to listen, where you will be still, where you will see all that He has to offer.  He has been waiting for you, watching you fill yourself with the drink that only drains you and masks your pain, all the while aching to offer you the drink of Life from a well that will never run dry. 

So many times has He moved in your life, only for you to turn from the miracle, looking to things of this earth to satisfy what only He can fill.  This time, He has drained you, completely so that you will know that what He is filling you with is LIFE!  He has drained you so that HE can fill you up with what is real, with what will last for eternity.  After today, you will not be able to say He is not real, He does not last, He does not fill, because you will know it firsthand.  YOU will be the result of His miracle.

He has waited all these years, watching you pour out your very life's purpose pursuing something to kill the pain, to hide the shame, and He has ached with your pain and your shame.  He knows how badly you hurt, how badly you've messed up, how hard you try to drown yourself in a bottle so you would never have to remember again.  He knows!  And He offers, instead, to do that in your place--to die so that this shame and pain will be gone from you so that you can live the life He planned for you. 

It is not too late now.  One day it will be.  One day soon, it will be too late.  But today, it is not too late.  Today is the day.  Say yes to the well that will never run dry.  Say yes to the One who has died to take away your pain and shame.  Say YES to LIFE!  Say YES to Him; say "Yes, I want to be Yours.  I know You did this for me, to set me free, and I want that freedom.  Yes, take my life and make what is left something for Your glory.  Yes, Jesus, be Lord in me."  Say yes!