Friday, October 14, 2016

On Thanksgiving and Thriving

I have an intense fear of social media. I supposed that's a bit odd given the fact I've written thousands of words here. I still think online social media can be a dangerous thing; I'd hate to unintentionally say something that brings disgrace to my husband, family, or church. I realize that words get misinterpreted and misrepresented all the time, and I'd much rather avoid the trouble. Plus, it's my opinion that social media can be a modern way for women to be idle, busybodies, going from "house to house" and saying what they should not (1 Tim. 5: 13). So that scares me.

Anyway, I got a little freaked out again recently. I pulled away, even contemplated shutting down this blog. I am blind to many things, and I know there's much I don't know I don't know. (Confusing? Read slowly!) In other words, I can be naive.

I'm reminded of Proverbs 17:28-- "Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent."

Well, I'm back here for now. It's Friday and it's beautiful out and I have a rare moment to write. I'm sitting on the hammock swing on my deck in my cut-off high-waist Levis because I have a weakness for such things... and it's Friday.

Soon I will need to make a dinner to pack because we have three football games tonight and my people will inevitably be hungry. I'd be fine with an apple and some trail mix, but no, big kids who play hard need more food. Michael is currently on a long bike ride and the younger boys have transformed the living room into a war zone for Nerf guns. They will surely be hungry before their games begin.

Here is a picture I took with Michael this morning because he seemed so tall to me. A few more fractions of an inch and he will reach the 6' mark.


The following is just what's been on my heart lately....


"Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives, is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see."  ~Corrie Ten Boom

We love to listen to audio books in our home. We have consumed hours and hours of literature in this way. Audio books have not only expanded my kids' education and increased their understanding of history and human nature, they have also provided wholesome entertainment. This summer, the kids and I listened to The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. The above quote came from the preface, which we listened to as we began the book on our way to the beach one day last summer. I was struck, yet again, with the truth of God's divine purpose in our lives. This doctrine has been transformative to me. It has helped me learn to receive with thankfulness my circumstances, limitations, experiences, disappointments, and trials in life. God will always be God, and his character doesn't change. He is the giver of good gifts in the life of His beloved children (for whom He suffered and died!), and He never withholds good things from us.

My understanding of this truth, and my appreciation of His gifts, has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on whether or not this is true. In other words, God is always good to me, regardless how I feel about His gifts in my life. If He withholds from me, it is for my good. If He allows difficulty and trials, it is also for my good.

Granted, life is not about me, and everything that happens is not about me. I may suffer as a result of someone else's sin. Or I may be a single participant among many in a grander story. But whatever the case, I know that God is working in my life to make me more like Christ.

However, there have been times in my life where sadness, loneliness, and even depression have characterized the state of my heart and mind. It's not that my circumstances were dire, but rather I had allowed myself to be weighed down by rejecting the fact that all my circumstances ought to point me to God. I knew this was wrong, but I didn't know how to break free. At times, for certain seasons, this thought pattern and emotional state ran deep. It was characteristic of me.

Let me just say that joy is a fruit. So is thankfulness. And they are commanded. Since they are commanded, God will provide a way for obedience. Anything else and we are being disobedient children... children who are recipients of God's goodness and grace and forgiveness!

Understanding theses things has been so helpful to me. It has been a long and continual process, one of repentance, putting off sins of grumbling and discontentment, and putting on thankfulness in particular. I have prayed for joy, and it has followed thankfulness.

I have actively sought to count my blessings, name them one by one. I have been intentional to grow in thankfulness and to resist discontentment, to see good while acknowledging difficulty. There will be seasons in our lives where every single moment may be a battle against self-pity, joylessness, depression, and maybe disbelief, but may I wage battle with my wayward heart and mind. Sorrow and grief are not sins, and they are to be expected, but I must actively, intentionally, and repeatedly choose to place my hope and assurance in the character of God alone.

He cares for me with incomprehensible love. I will only thrive in the Christian life when I rest in God and embrace his sovereign work in my life.

Amen?

Happy weekend!


~Katherine

4 comments:

  1. Amen!

    Social media is its own beast, isn't it. But, can I just say, that this blog has been nothing but honesty and encouragement!

    :-)
    Carol

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  2. Thanks for writing this. I'm always encouraged when I read your blog to lift my eyes up to the goodness of God. I hope you keep at it.

    Recently I've found myself tempted toward discontentment. I need reminders of godly wisdom like this to keep my perspective from becoming warped, thinking that I deserve something other than what I have. Daily, and maybe even hourly I need to be reminded of the truth that I have received so much better than what I deserve in Christ who lavished His immeasurable grace on me.

    "The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing." - Psalm 34:10

    “Everything is necessary that God sends. Nothing can be necessary that he withholds!” – John Newton

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    Replies
    1. Discontentment is the natural posture of our hearts, so we need God's supernatural work within to live with thanksgiving in all things! I love the Newton quote. Thanks for sharing it here!

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