I love when God speaks to you so clearly through circumstances. If you come across a passage of Scripture once in a day you might read it and then move … Continue reading Even Though…
Before Tori was born, many people told us to cherish the early years because they would go quickly, never to return. After she was diagnosed with Krabbe the moments moved … Continue reading Fleeting Moments
I was taught a lesson (a discipline, really) during my senior year of high school that has had a profound impact on my daily life: the discipline of gratitude. A … Continue reading The Discipline of Gratitude
We had a wonderful day today with Brennan’s mom, siblings, and their significant others. We ate, visited, and enjoyed lots of laughter. It’s the first time it’s been “just us” … Continue reading Thanksgiving 2015
Preface: Last year I decided to express my thanks during the month of November for something new each day, as so many others have done before me. I never finished this series, so that’s my goal this year. I am re-posting the ones I wrote last year and adding new ones. This one is new
I have had the immense privilege of being able to travel extensively around the U.S. (38 states),
and to five countries (#6 in February!) outside the U.S. on
three continents (and counting) thus far in my life.
And everywhere I go, God’s creativity is displayed so abundantly!
God could have made the world black and white.
He could have made everything flat and boring and we all could look the same.
And we would have never known the difference.
Instead, He CHOSE to use vibrant colors, thousands of plant and flower species,
mountain ranges, deserts, valleys, islands, trees, lakes, oceans, and so much more.
We have drastically different seasons, providing new landscape every few months.
He created sunrise and sunset to delight and inspire us.
He created so many variations of hair, skin, and eye colors – all beautiful.
He created the zebra, the giraffe, the squirrel, the platypus, and thousands of other animals
– all so unique in appearance and purpose.
God is the ultimate creative.
I’m so thankful that He created all of this for us to enjoy, and even more thankful that He instills some of His creativity in each of us.
Preface: Last year I decided to express my thanks during the month of November for something new each day, as so many others have done before me. I never finished this series, so that’s my goal this year. I am re-posting the ones I wrote last year and adding new ones. This one is new 🙂
In September 2012, we were very content to continue renting and not be “tied down” anywhere. Our rent was cheap, our apartment was in an amazing location, and we were happy. But that all changed the following month…
Our landlord had recently placed a brand new manufactured home on our property and told us that he would be renting it for close to $1,000 per month. I was really surprised that anyone would pay that much to rent a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom home (our rent was $550 for a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom top floor of a house)…so I started looking at property around our area to see if that was comparable or high. Turns out it was high. 🙂
During my search, an ad appeared on one of the websites that said something like this: “If this were your home, your mortgage would be ____.” Whatever that number was, it was low, and it made me consider the possibility of buying a house so that we could actually SAVE money.
Brennan and I started talking seriously about buying a house in October 2012. We had very few “requirements” – natural gas heat, central air, and lots of space. We saw six houses, and the last one that we toured became our first home together.
On November 1st, with my parents and his mom and step-dad, we toured a bank-owned, not pretty house. It had plenty of space (1,800 sq. ft, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms on a 1/2 acre), it was in a good neighborhood, and it was incredibly inexpensive. It needed a lot of cosmetic work, but nothing major. So, on November 1st, 2012, we made an offer.
We closed on December 21, 2012 and immediately got to work by tearing up all the carpet in the basement. We moved in on January 20, 2013 and that’s when the work really began.
We are so thankful for the opportunity that we had to buy this house – especially because it is worth approximately $55K more than we paid for it. Selling this house will allow us to be debt-free as we could pay off our student loans with the profit.
We are also thankful for the amount of space that we now have for housing/hosting people! It was difficult to have many people over in our little 600 sq. foot apartment; now we can comfortably sleep TEN PEOPLE on couches and beds (and even more if we had more air mattresses!). We recently had a church event at our house and had over 30 people there, comfortably. This house has created such an opportunity for ministry (RYFO, church, etc.) and we LOVE it.
We are even more thankful for all of the people who selflessly donated their skills and time to help us do the work that was needed (my parents, Dan, Kim, Dean, Jason, Courtney, Tim, Stacey, Shannon, Jana, Billy, and so many more!) – we couldn’t have made as much progress without help! There is still quite a bit of work to be done (and yes, we still need a lot of help!), but as you can see in the pictures below, we’ve already accomplished so much.
Thank you, Lord, for our beautiful home…
Yesterday, our pastor was discussing prayer and worship (1 Timothy 2: 1-8), and he said something that I had never thought about. Since I’ve been in church my entire life, it’s always great when God uses familiar Scripture to teach me something new!
Ephesians 5: 1- 4:
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.
Instead. This is how you could live, but instead, “let there be thankfulness…”
Paul is saying something so simple, yet so profound:
If we are thankful, it will be much harder to sin.
Think about it:
- If we are thankful for all that God has done, we will love Him and no other false gods.
- If we are thankful for our spouse, we won’t cheat.
- If we are thankful for our job, we won’t be lazy.
- If we are thankful for our “neighbors” and family, we will love selflessly and won’t harm them.
- If we are thankful for what God has provided, we won’t covet/steal what others have.
- If we are thankful for the mercy that God has shown us, we will show mercy to those around us more freely.
- If we are thankful, we won’t be selfish.
I did a quick word study to see where the word “thankful” or “thanks” appears in the Bible, and this is what I found:
Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High…giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. (Psalm 50:14, 23a)
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. (Colossians 4:2)
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:7)
- When we are thankful, we recognize that God is the provider of everything we have, which also humbles us.
- When we are thankful for what we have, we are less likely to sin.
- When we are thankful, we recognize that apart from God, we can do nothing…that He alone is God and we are merely human.