Thursday, September 24, 2009

Heart of Gratitude

This year feels like it has been one storm after another in my life. God answers one prayer, I give Him the thanks and it seems while I’m praising Him for the victory, another storm is brewing on the horizon. I always try to be grateful for the many blessings in my life and find that I sometimes have trouble expressing my gratitude. My writing skills are not as sharp many of the authors you’ll read here on Worldprayr, but I pray you’ll enjoy a peek inside my heart of gratitude.

I’m so thankful for the glorious gift of a Savior! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I had been the only person to ever have sinned that the Lord would have still given me Jesus. He would have still made such a huge sacrifice, just for me.

I’m so thankful for so many things – for a Christian family, for a husband that loves me, children that are Christians because they want to be, not because I am. For extended family that I can go to for anything at anytime and for the best sister in the whole wide world.

I’m thankful for the freedoms that living in the USA gives me, for the kindness of strangers, for the blessings of technology – that bring people that are a world apart right to my finger tips and I can *hug* them. I’m thankful for those that pray for me and then take the time to tell me they pray – as I know our Father honors those petitions.

I’m thankful for the million little things in this life that make life big! For the cloud shapes in the sky, for the colors that dance across the sky when the sun is rising and setting. For the moon that is always there, lighting our way at night and the sunlight that warms me and brightens my day. I’m thankful for the laughter of little children that are swinging on swings, sliding down slides and playing in the rain. For the rainbows that appear after the rain, reminding me that God always keeps His promises. I’m thankful for the ocean and how soothing, calming and gentle the waves feel as they lap against my toes when I’m standing next to it. I’m also reminded of its mighty power that can destroy cities – even those several hundred miles away.
The little things that are huge to me – Reese Cups, anything with monkeys on them, great books, greeting cards, snow, play dough, coloring in a coloring book, having the high score on Kirby’s Pinball on my gameboy! More little things include my favorite coffee cup, Christmas music in October, looking at my children’s baby pictures and game night. Good smelling cologne, coffee anytime of the day, Krispy Kreme Hot Doughnuts. I’m thankful for warm blankets, peach roses, toe socks, indoor plumbing, great movies such as the Wizard of Oz and Winnie the Pooh. I’m thankful for silly signs, great hair cuts, good pair of sandals, warm smiles and family gatherings. I’m thankful for teddy bear hugs, green lights, fire flies, big laughs, friends that call for no reason, surprise emails that say I care and joy of the Lord that gives me strength.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to give to others, to truly make a difference in this life that I live. I’m thankful that God gave me a desire to give big and I pray that desire will never leave me. I’m thankful for the chance to remind others that there’s no joy like spreading joy and when we give, we get so much more in return. I’m thankful for others that try and make a difference every day. I’m thankful for those that take the time so say I care about you….because, a little goes such a long way!

I’m thankful to be a tiny part of the Worldprayr team. Such wonderful men and women taking the time to pray for people they don’t know. Doing all that they can do to make a difference.

There is no amount of paper that could hold all that I’m thankful for! I hope that you'll stop and think about all the million little blessings that come your way every day. What are you thankful for?
Don’t forget the little things for they truly do make life big!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Let Go of the Guilt

When I first started using twitter, I was so excited to see @worldprayr come across my twitter stream! Anyone that follows them can send a DM to them and a prayer request will be published to all of the people that follow them and then the prayers begin. I am excited about being a part of their team and volunteer some time each week to pray for needs that come across the twitter stream. They send out Thursday Reflections to those that volunteer and recently I was blessed in particular by one of the quotes.

The strong are not always vigorous,
The wise are not always ready,
The brave are not always courageous,
And the joyous are not always happy.
~Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Wouldn’t be nice to always be strong and vigorous, wise and ready, brave and courageous as well as joyous and happy. But the fact of the matter is that we can’t always be this way. Being brave with out being courageous isn’t what gets us down, it is the guilt that goes along with it. Being joyous and noticing the joys that surround us without being happy feels like it should be wrong on some level and then the guilt begins.

When the storms start raging around us and we take our eyes off of our blessings and the unhappiness sets in, that is when the guilt creeps in too. The raging winds of mounting bills, job loss, unexpected emergencies, chronic or even sudden illness are enough to make the happiest person feel sadness and turn their focus to the tornado force winds that are raging around them. Then - as if anything else is needed, the guilt quitely slips in covered by all of the problems.

We have to let go of that guilt! We are all going to have times of sadness when our heart is heavy and we need a friend we can call. We shouldn’t feel guilty about making that call. We will find that our friends will love us even more if we trust them to lift us up during the raging winds. We all have times where we are afraid of the next step, but the courage kicks in when we pick our foot up and begin the journey. Don’t let the guilt of not always being what you think everyone expects you to be get you down and keep you from soaring to heights unknown.

Be comfortable with yourself, right where you are, right now. Me? I’m the happy go lucky kind of gal that loves the small, cute fun things in life. Have you seen the games that are key chained size? Oh, I adore that kind of stuff and it excites me. I mean really excites me - like a kid in the "oh my goodness - LOOK at this!!!" kind of way. I’m usually very "singy",talkative and just love the moment. But there are times that I’m not my normal singy, silly self and am actually kind of "blah". I do try my best not to let those times in my days spill over and affect someone else. I always want to lift up and encourage, but occasionally I need to be lifted and encouraged AND I need to not feel guilty about it. But – that is the hard part. NOT feeling guilty. Think about it - I am spreading joy, right? I am all about making a difference, doing for others and making others smile. I love reminding others to look for the joy that is there, no matter the storms that are around you. So, with spreading all kinds of joy - you wonder how can I be sad?

It happens. Trust me. I can name a handful of people that can pick up on it. I do love encouraging others, so I really try and not let it spill over into my day. There are times that these people don't have to "pick up" on it. I come right out and say - HELP!!

Letting go of the guilt isn't easy as it clings to you. You'll have to fight to get rid of it. Don't be afraid to open your heart when it is hurting. You never know who has been there, done that and can offer up words of encouragement simply because they remember how you feel. Sharing your sad/bad/unhappy times also allows someone to be a blessing to you. It is such a wonderful feeling when someone is dealing with something horrible and we help them.

I’m always encouraged when I start praying for someone else or DOING for someone else. I love sending my mom flowers and need to do so real soon just because I love her so very much. I remember shortly after my Dad died, I was struggling so horribly. I had spent a week of wanting to (and actually did) just sleep through the grief and ignore the entire world because I felt that I couldn’t get past this consuming emotion. I sent her flowers for the soul purpose of lifting my own spirits. Greedy of me – don’t you think? But it’s the truth. I didn’t feel guilty about doing it and unless she reads this, she won’t even know that was why she got them. I did have to work past the guilt of "grieving" in such a horrible way. (I should have called my very bestest friends for help that week. I made things worse by sleeping and robbed them of a chance to be a blessing to me)

Don’t let guilt keep you from making a difference. Don’t let guilt of needing a little encouragement steal your joy! That is what our friends and family are for, to help us through the rough patches. You can still have joy for the journey – even when you are not feeling the greatest, experiencing the best or being your normal, silly, giddy and crazy self. Focus on your favorite things. All of them, regardless of how small or insignificant you think they may be. Another thing to help get past the blues, do something for someone else. Even if just an email saying "I appreciate you!"

What guilt do you need to let go of? What weight do you need to set aside and move past? Never feel guilty for being honest when someone says "how are you today?" If you need prayer, ask for it. Don’t feel guilty for doing so. I take great pleasure in praying for others. When you ask for prayer, you are, in a sense – bringing joy to others for allowing them the honor of praying for you. Do you need a hug, a smile? What is it that you need to help get you through this "down" time. Don't feel guilty for asking!

Remember – I will always love and appreciate you for who you are deep down. If I ask how you are and you are feeling kind of icky and tell me the truth, I will still love and appreciate you just for who you are. I will never, ever hold the weepy, blah feeling moments against you and will always be willing to help you smile. I will probably search for a song, verse, quote - something to help lift your spirits. Something just for you. I’m not good with telling jokes. Actually stink at it – but am always good for a hug. Hugs are such a wonderful thing – even virtual ones.

I'm so thankful that when I need prayer that there are so many people that will pray on my behalf. I'm so thankful that when I need a hug - I know all I have to do is ask!! I'm so thankful that when I need a smile, someone is usually there with a pocket full of wonderful smiles and are willing to share them! I'm thankful I can ask for help without feeling guilty.

Also, if you twitter, believe in the power of prayer and you have a few hours to volunteer to make a difference – email the guys at @Worldprayr. It is an amazing prayer ministry. You’ll be so glad you did!

No matter how difficult life can be the most important thing is to live it with hope.--Anonymous
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