My heart is still so tender from the recent tragedy.
The tears just keep falling.
I am slow to speak in times like these because I know so little,
but I have been praying praying and praying some more.
Comfort. Peace. Hope.
Jesus, be made known.
As I read chapter 7 of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts I cried and cried and cried.
I am in awe of how beautiful it was and how beautiful the Lord is with teaching me so perfectly and at the perfect time.
The Lord has been laying on my heart so heavily lately how to honor Him in the midst of conflict.
Conflict scares me more than anything.
Being in the ministry though, there will always be people who will disagree, instigate, and cause us to lean into Jesus even more.
As I read through One Thousand Gifts, I'm also reading through Lysa Terkeurst's book Unglued as well as doing the study for it and am challenged there too with how I will act when faced with confrontation. Will I let my emotions get the best of me? Will I choose joy?
Lord, give me the grace to live our what You're teaching me.
This week Ann so beautifully took us through an argument between her two sons, and how the Lord has taught her that in the midst of the what appears "ugly", we should THANK the Lord.
Though we could so quickly and easily choose anger, she urges us to thank the Lord, and in doing so, choose joy.
"Do I really smother my own joy because I believe that anger achieves more than love? That Satan's way is more powerful, more practical, more fulfilling in my daily life than Jesus' way?...When I choose- and it's a choice- to crush joy with bitterness, am I not purposefully choosing to take the way of the Prince of Darkness?" (page 126)
I was so moved by the thought that the Lord is in the midst even when conflict rises.
We see in Ann's situation that God was there the WHOLE time, but His presence was made heavily known when she chose to give Thanks.
She says this post argument, when she is calming the son who instigated the fight,
"My son is crying and he's letting me in, sharing what it's like to be behind his eyes. Eucharisteo gave me this...It was just toast. Ugly toast. And He showed me how to give thanks for it. And then the miracle-a soft heart. To let me hold his heart." (page 134)
Had Ann chosen anger and frustration over giving thanks and joy, she wouldn't have had such a deep and precious moment with her son where she was able to enter his world, and share beautiful things with him.
Ann says, " The only way to fight a feeling is with a feeling...Feel thanks and it's absolutely impossible to feel angry. We can only experience one emotion at a time. And we get to choose- which emotion do we want to feel?" (page 136)
So though I know this, I don't expect perfection, thankfully the Lord doesn't either.
I do however expect discipline.
"The discipline of thanks only comes with practice." (page 135)
And in the days ahead I am going to hang on to Ann's secret to joy...
"But the secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is."
I doubt that God is in my arguments, in my frustrations and in my failures.
But didn't we see that when Ann chose to give thanks, God himself showed up and gave her joy within a precious moment with her son?
I am challenged people! Challenged!!!
Today, I am thankful for:
1) My in laws arriving tomorrow with my precious sister in law in tow.
2) Our Christmas party tonight for the kids!
3) Our Ladies fellowship brunch on Saturday
4) The Lord being so near
5) The river being frozen so we can drive across to Moosonee
6) Free prints on pinterest and blogs that are making my home even more homey.
7) Sweet members of the church who pray for us
8) A homemade card, candle and Lindt chocolates from a friend.
9) An unexpected Christmas Card from a friend back home.
10) The Lord giving me enough patience to finish a craft that took me 8 hours.
11) Prayer and the power it has.
Check out these other awesome ladies:
"YET this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail."