Lately, I've been meeting with a Godly woman for the encouragement that comes from wise counsel. The Lord has been very good and very near in His timing during this new opportunity and blessing in my walk of faith. After our meetings, I'm sent away with helpful "homework" to keep my focus upon the Lord and the things He's teaching me. One of my recent assignments was to begin a thankful list in keeping with 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 which says, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." I'm also reminded of James 1:17, stating "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." Throughout Scripture we are exhorted to be a thankful people, and to remember the Lord, and His work among us. I hope this list will communicate in a simple way my desire to glorify Him as I enjoy Him in daily life. This blog, A Holy Experience, by Ann Voskamp was the beginning of such lists for many, and is also greatly glorifying to the Lord.
As a side note, I'm often tempted to liken these lists to a favorite tear off calendar I used to buy year in and year out... "1,001 things to be happy about" it was called I think?! While I really enjoyed the calendar and found many uses for those pages (some involved being an RA in my dorm during college, others involved letters to friends, etc.), they weren't aimed toward praising God as the giver of all. Though my list may have many mundane and simple joys, I pray that it will be apparent that the Lord grants each blessing, and I'm thankful to see Him pointing me towards eternity in these joys.
So, let the list begin with today...
1. the Word which enlightens my heart and brings change
2. wisdom of others who have studied and learned at length then choose to teach in a humble way, I'm a benefactor in my Seminary Wives classes, most recently with New Testament scholar, Dr. Tom Schreiner
3. a husband who knows my heart
4. patient listening ears to the big and small moments of my days
5. Friday morning grocery shopping at a semi-leisurely pace
6. the kindness of strangers towards me, especially when they open doors, and help in general ways as I tote a sweet toddler to and fro
7. another month of bills paid while trusting the Lord
8. neighbors who enjoy our little one and gladly babysit
9. the opportunity to serve with Matt a small and faithful congregation of saints in the Lord
10. new friends who have already offered sincere fellowship, prayer, and accountability in a time when all are desperately needed
11. watching my baby girl learn, each moment holds a new fascination
12. the changing colors of fall leaves and a tiny bouquet of them we collected today
13. a place to call home which includes a public library within stroller-walking distance
14. gracious librarians who understand my late charges
15. my mom who is a friend (she always has been, though she didn't aim to be during times when I most needed a parent!)
16. four day work weeks
17. the blessing of shifted priorities and the opportunity to serve my family primarily in the home
18. the joyful sacrifices Matt makes on our family's behalf
19. generous and thoughtful employers who make work a joy
20. the love God has given me for children He's crafted
21. God's work throughout the world, we find ourselves in the midst of Believers from every continent (except Antarctica) in our Seminary apartment complex alone!
22. that God would desire to use His people to accomplish purposes He could certainly bring about without us
23. music that teaches Truth
24. a budding reader (a toddler who loves reading!) in our home, cuddling with books as she points and motions for more is an indulgence I'm glad to accept 25. a husband who leads, and our home without TV (this is good for us, and may not be for all)