Going Back to What I Know

I sat down this evening to finalize lesson plans and curriculum choices and organize them all neatly and send them in.

That was the plan, but there are so many choices.

Last year we stepped back from practically everything and just focused on rebuilding small hearts, and it was a good thing and a needed thing and in the praying over this coming year, I’m sensing that we are to begin to open up again. Slowly, yes, but with intention and grace.

Ah, grace. The word I have wrestled with so much this year.

August comes and the heat lessens and I look ahead to a school year with a knowing of all the hard work that comes with it. The temptation to rush, when small ones need to slow and absorb. The temptation to be lax, when self-discipline needs to be exercised.

This life we have been called to is one that I love, one that I’m still learning to navigate all the tensions of, one that I’m still learning to turn over to Jesus completely.

In the quiet of my Bible reading each day, there has been one phrase that has been jumping out at me over and over again to the point that I finally took note of it and realized it’s what I’ve let go of in the rush of living.

It seemed almost cliche, you know? It all began for me in the late fall of 2010 in the middle of upheaval and deep sadness. I came across this blog and I grabbed hold onto her idea of writing down 1000 gifts. And I did it. And then I slowly stopped after the popularity started to fizzle and it seemed silly to continue when even the posts on her page slowly ended and disappeared.

I just stopped giving thanks.

And as I look back over the last 2 or 3 years, I can see a hardening in my heart – a sort of callous that I’ve allowed to form to protect myself from a life in ministry. 

But the truth is, giving thanks isn’t a movement or a novel idea or something reserved for certain holidays and seasons.

Paul exhorts us, in the middle of his darkest moments while chained in the darkness of a prison to,

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, 
kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another, forgiving
each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above
all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And 
let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one
body. And be thankful.  Colossians 3:12-15
Giving thanks is to happen in all things. Why? I’m sure there are many reasons, but the one that seems to be resonating with my heart most deeply is it’s a way to remind my heart that God is faithful and good and sovereign when everything else around me feels shaky and uncertain.
Protecting my heart only hardens me and makes the situations around me more difficult. But pausing and choosing to see the goodness of God, even in the darkest moment, it keeps my heart open and it makes my faith in Jesus stronger.

So, I start again. Every Monday I’ll sneak back here and add to the growing list with no goal, no end number in sight. I’ll just keep building a foundation to remind my heart in the trustworthiness of the One Who created me and placed us here.
1. That sunflower *almost* ready to bloom
2. The lavender beginning to blossom
3. Those tomatoes on the vine
4. The smell of bacon frying on the stove
5. The way Lyla chooses to watch Anne of Green Gables over and over
6. Visits on the porch with the dearest of friends
7. Summer sun and finally, almost, beginning to love it
8. Hint of Fall in the air
9. Those 2 books wrapped in ribbon handed to me at church
10. The sister who holds me accountable

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