To Live as the Favorite Child

IMG_8198As I write this my kids have been away at camp for nine days already and I have received all of¬†two letters. Yep – just two. Between three kids! I figured out if they each wrote everyday (like I do ūüėČ ) that would be a total of 27 letters by now!

Seriously, it’s fine. Based on a previous track record I knew ahead of time that one wouldn’t write at all. That child didn’t even want stationery in the trunk and considering there were still stamped envelopes in there from three years ago, I decided it was time to hand those over to a different child.

Now the other two normally do write, but according to me daughter’s¬†letter I think she is taking advantage of her rest time to get her Bolivian counselor’s help with her huge AP Spanish packet, due when school starts back! The other one – I assume is writing and drawing in his journal because that is what he likes to do, but who knows with him.

What I love though is both who wrote¬†signed their letters as “Your Favorite Child.” They¬†have given themselves this title, but I’m glad they feel such love and security that they live according to¬†the status.¬† Because you know what?

This is how we should live as children of God. ¬†We are all God’s Favorite Child!¬†

All of us! He doesn’t favor one over the other because one is a better Christian, does more good works or hasn’t committed certain sins. Nope – all of His children are His favorite children!

I had never thought about this until reading a chapter in Kay Wyma’s book I’m Happy for You (Sort of‚ĶNot Really) on¬†“finding contentment in a culture of comparison” – a book I’ve shared once before here.

In the book she quotes author Henri Nouwen as saying:

“Our God‚Ķdoes not compare. Never‚Ķ I cannot fathom how all of God’s children can be favorites. And still, they are‚Ķ God loves with a divine love, a love that cedes to all women and men their uniquenss without ever comparing.”

How amazing is that!

In our humanness that is hard to comprehend when we seem to not be able to not¬†compare! That is, after all, how favorites are chosen- comparing one to the other. ¬†And I’m not talking about children, it’s how we decide our favorite anything. Favorite shoes, favorite food, favorite vacation. We compare and contrast to determine which one is better or best.

But how would it change things for you if you knew God is not comparing and contrasting you to your neighbor? To your Bible study friend? To the room mom? Nor is He comparing the addict who slipped up again or your spouse whose sin is seemingly so much greater than yours ;0 to you.

  • Wouldn’t it eliminate the striving to be good enough?
  • Wouldn’t it¬†help you¬†rest knowing you are okay just as you are?¬†
  • Wouldn’t it help you believe that¬†it’s not about what we do, but what He did for us?¬†
  • Wouldn’t it also convict us of our pride by pointing out¬†the ways we think we are better because of what we do or don’t do?¬†

So back to¬†the “What If” game that I introduced¬†in a recent post:

What if we lived as if we were God’s favorite child?

Wouldn’t that be freeing?!

This is Grace

IMG_8193After a long week of writing and too many dreary days, yesterday afternoon I made myself take a break from my manuscript to just go lay in the pool. I had my music playing on the Drew Holcomb station when a song came on that I almost clicked to pass over. Instead I ended up with tears streaming down my face.

Before I could even reach for my phone to forward to the next song, I became caught up in the words of the story.  A story being sung from a dad about his daughter with words that could no better capture Grace.

The song is Dance with Me by Ryna Long. You may want to listen to it on YouTube for the full emotional effect, but I share with you the lyrics here:

“There at the table my daughter and I
Just ate the last of my mother’s pie
It’s the 5th of December and I act like I don’t know
Where it is she wants to go
She pushed back a chair and took my hand
Come into the living room and put on my favorite band
Dad it’s my birthday don’t miss your chance
Ask me to dance

So I said dance with me
Dance with me Jen
I’d love to feel you in my arms again
Dance with me, Dance with me Jen

I’d love to feel you in my arms again

Several years later my daughter and I
Can’t get along no matter how hard I try
She got herself a boyfriend who lives on down our road
His intentions, I don’t know
So on her birthday that same year
I went and put on that music she loved to hear
Said girl it’s your birthday don’t wanna miss my chance
And asked you to dance

Chorus

She turned her head and grabbed her coat
She didn’t look back and she slammed the door
Took a bus down to Texas with that boy down the road
Had no idea that he’d leave her there alone
She was drinking in her freedom and weathering the cold
Too stuborn to come back home
She finally got a job at a night time club
She was dancing on tables for men she didn’t love
She thought if my daddy could see me now
He’d never take me back – no way, no how
And how she longed to hear him say

Dance with me, Dance with me Jen
I’d love to feel you in my arms again
Dance with me, Dance with me Jen
I’d love to feel you in my arms again

Found out from her boyfriend who lived down the road
He left her in Texas and he moved back home
He had her address and I drove all night long
Just to fine that she was gone
It was 10 in the morning when I found out what she did
Left a note at the club, got in my car and drove home again
When she read it she cried alone
Hopped a bus and headed home
It was that note it read:

Dance with me
Dance with me Jen
I’d love to feel you in my arms again”

This¬†is The Grace God bestows on His children! ¬†Like this daughter, there is¬†nothing we do to earn or deserve His love, and there is nothing we can do to lose it. He gives it freely, not because of who we are but because of how great He is. This is what makes grace so amazing! When we begin to get grace like this I don’t think we can help but be moved – moved to worship Him more and moved toward others in compassion.

The Blur Between a Well-meaning Mom and a Nag

What is it about being female that makes us nag? I’m sure there must be some men who do it, too, but¬†they aren’t the ones the Bible compares to “a continual dripping on a rainy day” and as more difficult “to restrain than the wind.” As if that isn’t bad enough, we also read in Proverbs that men would be better off¬†living in a desert or on the corner of the roof than sharing a house with a nag!

In¬†the early years of our marriage I think my husband may have¬†agreed :).¬†Of course, I put it back on him, fully believing that if¬†he would just pick up his clothes and put bascially everything else back in its “home” after use, I wouldn’t have to nag. The problem is: things left out not only don’t bother him, but he actually likes it so¬†he can always see where things are.

No matter there are empty drawers and cabinet space, if he can't see it plainly it might as well not even be there!

You’ld never know he has empty drawers and cabinet space in his office! But,¬†even with the clutter he knows exactly where¬†everything is.

I finally realized I could¬†either be the constant “dripping,” or for the betterment of our marriage, adapt. ¬†So, I’ve learned to make convenient easy-to-use “homes” for his commonly left-out items or to just pick up for him when I get tired of items sprawling across the countertop. ¬†There is no point in nagging or drawing attention to¬†what I’ve done to “help” him because honestly it’s all God’s grace to me.

This antique copper plate is perfect for his keys, phone, wallet and other misc smalls. And, the canister? Perfect for hiding phone chargers and cords:)

This antique copper plate is perfect for his keys, phone, wallet and other misc smalls. While the canister hides phone chargers and cords:)

This cute little box from Anthro? Great for his eye glasses, pens and other need-to-be-near the couch items.

The cute little box from Anthro? Great for his eye glasses, pens and other need-to-be-near the couch items. Love pretty solutions!

But now I need that grace as a mom because somewhere along the way I redirected my nagging toward my daughter! 

Like¬†with my husband, I didn’t think nagging is¬†what I was doing. I thought I had¬†well-meaning motives and was¬†just trying to help. But in trying to help, I have been¬†trying to control and in trying to control, it just may be this is my area of helocopter hovering.

At some point (a point rather soon considering she is almost a senior) she will have to take full responsibility for herself. I won’t be there to remind her of deadlines, to help her plan ahead, to make things easier, to manage her time, to put her clothes away or to clean her tub!

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But while¬†she is still here under my roof and since her life is full with many demands (as it will forever more be) and I just happen to be organized and a good time-manager :), I have made it my mission to “help” her. ¬†And so the lines have become blurred between well-meaning and nag!

After a recent honest conversation, I see how my nagging has contributed to her feeling like she doesn’t measure up not just to my expectations, but to me. And by me trying to “better” prepare her for college and beyond, it has actually led her to feel like I think she is incapable, a failure even.

Wow- how’s that for a wake-up call to¬†the¬†drip-drip!

The only thing I want to be dripping is grace and compassion and love. So even though I considered myself to be “loving” her by “helping” her get things done or turned in, what I have really been doing is trying to control and keep her from failing. Perhaps¬†I can better love her by trusting God’s control over her, even if this means something doesn’t get done according to my timetable. In fact, maybe that is loving her by¬†allowing her to learn on her own?!

So, Moms…

  • What if we asked God to show us where we are failing to love because what we love better is our own way?
  • What would happen if we held our tongue and just accepted those we love as they are?
  • Do you think the lack of control would kill us or might we actually find more peace in letting go?

How we are like the SAEs

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The¬†incident last weekend with the SAE’s at the University of Oklahoma has been the subject of much media coverage and debate this week. While absolutely what occurred on the bus to the fraternity party was wrong and deserving of the swift action taken by the university and the national fraternity, what has struck me is how in our condemnation of these¬†boys¬†we have presumed¬†them to be much worse sinners than any of the rest of us.

I am not saying their racist behavior was not horribly offensive, because it was. I am also not saying racism is not a serious problem, because obviously it is still far too prevalent in this country. But for the purpose of this post what I want to draw attention to is how in our shock over what the boys did we seem blind to our own prejudices.

We may not have acted like they did, but in our hearts are there not those we look down upon? Perhaps for a reason other than skin color, but is it not still pride?

Do we think we are better because of what neighborhood we live in… where are kids go to school… where we vacation…what labels we wear… what positions or degrees we hold… what social circles we run in?   

Do we think because of our background: where we are from or where we are not or who are family is we deserve certain privileges others do not?  

Do we think our habits, performances, achievements, appearance or our views make us better than others who are different, not as successful, talented, attractive or intelligent? 

Truth is we take pride in believeing we are somehow more special than others who are also made in the image of God. And in our pride, we judge, exclude and dismiss.

If¬†sin though is¬†not simply outward behavior, but what goes¬†on in our hearts than our prideful thoughts condemn us in the same way the boys’ actions condemned them. We are no better off than these boys and in just as much need of grace and forgiveness.

The good news of the gospel is¬†no sin is beyond God’s loving mercy and compassion for those who know their need of a Savior. ¬†For those who see we can’t and don’t live up to God’s standard of perfection, we are met with Christ’s perfect life for us. He met God’s¬†standard and his¬†perfection is credited to us who believe. Now when God looks at us it is not our sin he sees, but Christ’s righteousness covering us.¬†

This free gift of grace cannot be earned and is given to sinners. But, you have to see you are a sinner. When you do: Grace. No matter who you are or what you have done.

I hope the truth of the gospel brings hope and comfort to those SAE boys and their families. And, I hope it brings hope and comfort to us, too.

Galatians 6:1-3 “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself‚Ķ”¬†ba4cbc8d2d654bfd6ceb3379abbfbb1e

Grace Admist the Noise

While there has been silence in my writing from the house of hatton this week, our true House of Hatton has been anything but silent. It hasn’t been “noisy” like households with younger children, but the noise of¬†chaotic activity¬†and emotional frittering has¬†kept me from processing. And for me writing helps process. That is why I continue blogging. It’s like my own therapy.

So this week while we had two “snow days” my husband has been on the sunny beaches of Cabo which meant I was the one primarily in charge of our 4 1/2 month puppy. This extra responsibility alone, mointoring where he is and what he is grabbing or chewing on, consumes way more time than this non-dog lover want to give.¬†

How cool is this Sea Lion that came up on my husband's fishing boat?!

How cool is this Sea Lion that came up on my husband’s fishing boat?!

This picture was taken about 20 lbs ago. At not even 5 mos. he is now about 50 lbs!

This picture was taken about 20 lbs ago. At not even 5 mos. he is now about 50 lbs!

I also got to shovel my driveway so we wouldn’t be¬†too iced in to make an appointment on the second snow day. And, I (the one who can barely keep her eyes open until 9:30pm) had¬†to stay awake until my daughter got home at night. Never mind that twice, I accidentally locked up the backdoor and didn’t hear her banging on it ūüôā

If only my husband had a picture as evidence of me shuffling the driveway!

If only my husband had a picture as evidence of me shoveling the driveway!

But there was grace this week, too. First, because of the snow days my boys’ sports were cancelled on the night I was most stressed about how to get them both¬†to where they needed to be. There was grace in my kids helping extra with household chores. Grace in having slowed-down time at home with them. And even more grace as I’ve been faced with and thinking about¬†the issues my daughter has been struggling through.

If you are a parent, isn’t the hardest thing when¬†your child hurts or is struggling and you not being able to change it?

That’s where I am. I want to control what I can’t. I want to fix what is broke. I want to make right what is wrong. I want to speed a slow process of change. And the reality is, I can’t do any of it.

But this is where the grace comes in. As hard and as hopeless as things feel sometimes, I praise God for some personal experiences enabling me to identify with my daughter and know first-hand there is hope. I also praise God, as hard and as mixed up as it sounds, for her struggles (even though they make me cry). 

He is making the broken, beautiful.

I am watching it happen before my very eyes. He is growing and transforming her to see her great need and dependence on Him and there is nothing better. This is exactly what I want for all of my children Рfor them to know they are weak, but He is strong. And with only 1 1/2 years to go before she goes from us, I am confident what she is learning now about herself and about who God is for her will help her abide and help me to trust Him when she is even more outside of anything I can control.

Grace, He is giving her through the trials and grace He is giving me.

Grace is what I needed most this week. Actually what we all need most all the time! But sometimes with all the noise we don’t see where God enters in. We¬†stay focused on what we lack instead of what He gives. ¬†In our obsession with ourselves and the here and now, we too often miss seeing how He is at work for our good and His glory – all the time.

Breaking Up with Ed

As I mentioned in yesterday’s¬†post because it is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week I have invited¬†three friends to¬†share their personal stories with ED. Today, I¬†am excited to introduce¬†you to Martha Kate and her testimony to God’s grace.

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I lived with him for twelve years. He lied, cheated, nearly killed me and still I stayed. He made me lie to my friends, my family, and literally to everyone I knew. I was in elementary school when he moved in, so young, so innocent, yet so very broken. I lived by his rules and let them control my life. He was my best friend, my enemy, my dictator, all rolled into one.

imagesThe monster I am talking about is Ed. Ed stands for my eating disorder and for over a decade he had control over my life. My Ed was what I turned to when I was sad, mad, hurt, or frankly just needed any kind of reassurance. I was too ashamed and certainly too prideful. I didn’t know how to stop doing what I was doing and frankly I didn’t want to stop.

Ed twisted the way I felt about myself and others. You see for those twelve years I lived in secret, battling an illness that not even my closest friends and family knew I faced. It consumed me, my thoughts, my behaviors, my actions. Every minute was spent focusing around Ed. Ed was my best friend, my comforter, my confidant, my supporter. But, Ed was really none of those things because deep down Ed was a liar and he was destroying each day a little bit more. I lost more than I could count to Ed: time, money, friends, grades, family, and health. And losing it all, led to a lack of joy and beauty in my life.

I spent years trying to fight Ed alone, thinking I could beat him without anyone else knowing. When that didn’t work I came back to him. Because unlike every other person and situation, Ed was who I could control or so I thought. Once again though, I was lied to because the more I believed I could control him, the more he controlled me and eventually controlled my whole life. I was terrified of not having him in my life.

For those twelve years I lived with a mask on my face. It was a dangerous mask, a deceiving mask, a mask that was so convincing that I myself was almost unaware that it was a mask and not my true self. However, three years ago I took off the mask and never put it on again. The day I took off the mask and broke up with Ed was one of the very best and very hardest days I’ve ever experienced.

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As you can see Ed stole an abundance from me but what I learned as I began to recover from the years spent with him, was that there was so much life still to be held. Because as I ran away from Ed I ran into grace. Grace covered me with what Ed couldn’t. Grace gave me the ability to mess up and still not turn back to my old ways. Grace told me I was loved not because of what I have done but because of what He did for me. Grace gave me something I have never had before…FREEDOM.

This past fall I celebrated three years of recovery. I celebrated the decision to jump off the cliff into the arms of grace and say, “It is okay that I am not okay because Jesus is better than being better.” The most beautiful part is, embracing grace doesn’t mean that I am not still a mess. However, it envelops me in all my messiness and it allows me to be my messy broken self. Because Grace is bigger than my flaws. Grace is bigger than my mistakes. Grace is bigger than my guilt. And Grace is so much bigger than my shame.

I never used to understand when people said that Jesus wrecked their lives but now I get it. He definitely wrecked mine and turned it upside down in the best way. He took everything I thought I knew about control and addiction and swept me into His arms. He told me I was loved when I felt unlovable and that I was beautiful in His image. He gave me scandalous, beautiful, amazing, grace. Today, I have the joy of working with college students and because of that. I have an opportunity to show others, specifically these students, that kind of love and grace that is scandalous and unheard of and it is because of my story of grace and the work of the gospel in my life, that I am able to do just that.

I would love to hear your story of brokenness and redemptive grace. Because when we share about the mess and the beauty of grace in our lives, that is when the gospel becomes real. My friend I pray you know there is hope in whatever situation you face. Buckle up, because if you are willing to jump, you are in for the best ride of your life.

MarthaKateStainsbyMartha Kate Stainsby is an eating disorder survivor and advocate. She spends most of her time in Waco, Texas where she lives with her husband Brett and works with Baylor University students.  When not working with college women, she spends her time sharing her story of grace, through various speaking and writing opportunities in order to build awareness of eating disorders and the hope found in recovery. Find out more about Martha Kate’s journey here: http://leavingperfectionlearninggrace.com

 

When You Stop Beating Yourself Up

My thirteen-year-old son wrestles for our high¬†school’s junior team and on Friday¬†had a school day tournament. All wrestlers were to¬†arrive¬†at the host school at 6:45 that morning for weigh-ins. So at dinner the night before we discussed what time we needed to¬†leave and what food and drinks I would¬†have ready¬†for him to take. What we did not talk about was his gear.

He went up to bed early wanting to be well-rested for the long day of matches ahead.  But, an hour later came back down the stairs with a look of panic.

He left his head gear at school, in his gym locker. Could we leave earlier to go get it, he asked.

I reminded him it would be too early for his school to¬†be unlocked. Then he really panicked, admitting¬†it wasn’t just his head gear, but his wrestling shoes left¬†in his locker!

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Thankfully he could¬†weigh-in without either and my husband could get¬†them before warm-up started. This reality didn’t matter to my son. He put his head on the kitchen table and proceeded to beat himself up over it. ¬†

Coincidentally, at dinner the night before we had just talked about how he needs to work on his organization and preparedness. Case in point. While I was tempted to revisit that conversation, this is not what he needed to hear at that moment.

What my son needed to be reminded of was Grace. He needed to know who he is in Christ and rest in this identity that does not change based on his performance.

Now skip over to my sixteen-year-old daughter who has been overwhelmed with stress all week. She was in charge of a Student Council charitable fundraising event Рa swim-a-thon Рthat had not ever taken place before. Putting it together had been challenging, especially without having a previous event or the experience to draw from. 1458425_870354149676682_3654803730887213614_n

As a former event-planner I could see things that could’ve been handled differently. But in this moment would it really benefit her to tell her what she should’ve done instead or what I would’ve done to make it better?

Absoltutely not! Doing so would actually add to her stress, fear of failure and temptation to beat herself up for not measuring up.

What my daughter needed to be reminded of was Grace. She needed to know who she is in Christ and rest in this identity that does not change based on her performance or the success or failure of this event.

It’s not just my children who beat themselves up over a mistake. Don’t we all – at times?¬†

Why do we treat ourselves so harshly?

Could it be we are often not okay with making mistakes or being less than perfect because our identity is tied to it?

What if this wasn’t the case and instead we really rested in who Christ declares us to be? What if¬†we stopped beating ourselves up, berating ourselves and bottom-line – believing Satan’s lies? What would that look like?

Freedom! 

Freedom from fear, rest from worry and peace for our anxious hearts.

We would be free to make mistakes and learn from them without feeling like failures.  We would be free to confess our sins without condemnation.  We would be free to live as deeply loved imperfect sinners! 

This is what I want my children to wrap themselves in – not their failures or their successes!

Light to the World

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life and (His)¬†life was the light¬†of men. The light¬†shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:1-5

The Light burst through the heavens into the sin and darkness of the world in the form of a baby.¬†At the same time He lay helpless and needy in His mother’s arms, He upheld the world He spoke in to existence. The spoken Word coming off the page to shine forth to the world the knowledge of God.

That’s why He left His throne in heaven for this place of heartache and hurt. So we could know God!

So we could know God – the baby born of Christmas traded in His crown for thorns!

So we could know God is for us!

So we could know God’s grace, His loving-kindness and hope!

From the wooded trough to the wooden cross the Light of the world spoke life. Only, it seemed when His life was snuffed out darkness had won the day.

But in the darkness of that day is when His Light shines brightest. It is there, when God turned His back on His Son, that we see God’s fierce and loyal love for us. Love that gives life and brings Light to bear when everything else feels like despair.

Love so amazing that when it penetrates our hearts Christmas is more than a once a year celebration. Christmas – the Coming of Christ – starts to change us, daily. “O Come Let Us Dore Him” is no longer relegated to December, but reigns in our hearts always.

And the Light causes us to see His grace in all things.images-3

May your Christmas and beyond by filled with Light!

 

No Grace For You!

Sein_soup_nazi

You must read¬†my title like the “Soup Nazi” in the well-known Seinfeld episode would say it:

“No Soup For You!”¬†

Only today it’s “No Grace For You!”

That’s how I feel. I don’t have the grace or desire to give it to my child. I’m irritated. I want to control and I’m nagging. And, I feel justified in it.

It feels ugly. I want to break out of this mindset, but then I start thinking about the situation at hand and my heart feels dark again.

So I do what I know I must. I pray.

“Lord, help me to love my child. Help me to have grace and compassion. I know it must come from You because it is not natural to me.”

Prayer is not a magic rabbit’s foot where you instantly feel better or get your emotions in check. Even still¬†I go to my Maker and acknowledge that I know He is in control and He orders all things for our good. I do believe this, but I tell Him I don’t like it right now.

Praise Jesus, He is big enough to handle our doubts and anger toward Him. And, Praise Him, that He actually wants me to come with such real and raw emotion.

It is there that He meets me in it. 

Grace He pours out as I open Ann Voskamp’s Christmas devotional book, The Greatest Gift. ¬†I am a day behind¬†– on Day 8, even though it’s December 9th – but lo and behold, there on Day 8 are the words written He wanted me to hear today.

Words of truth and grace written just for me and for my child.

“Ours is the God who is drawn to those who feel down. Ours is the God who is attracted to those who feel abandoned. Ours is the God who is bound to those who feel broken‚ĶThis is grace.”

“…He comes to us not in spite of our failings – but precisely because of them.”

“The wonder of all this – God looks at you at your lowest and loves you all the way up to the sky.”

With¬†abounding love and grace He draws near. Not to those who think they are perfect and don’t need a Savior. But to those who are broken and hurting and failing and empty. To those who know they can’t do it themselves. To those who know they need Christ’s righteousness and steadfast love.

I don’t love my child perfectly and with never-ending grace. But He does! And He loves me, too, despite it.

“Love came down to help us in our helplessness.”

Thank you, Jesus,¬†that you never say, “No Grace for You” like I do, but instead keep pouring out more!

Our Gratitude Tree

Yesterday I posted on social media¬†a¬†picture¬†collage of our family¬†doing a project together. I posted it because of the rare, or to be¬†more accurate –¬†non-existent, previous times we have all sat down to do something like that. Even when my kids were younger and liked to color, craft or cook, I’m not sure my husband was ever in on that;)

So even though it wouldn’t be exagerating to say I forced them to sit down and help (some more begrudginly than others) it ended up being fun family-bonding time,¬†where¬†we laughed alot!

Her leaf on the left looks way better than mine:)

Her leaf on the left looks way better than mine:)

Tying strings was a little frustrating, especially since my hole-punching got a little too close to the edge.

Tying strings was a little frustrating, especially since my hole-punching got a little too close to the edge.

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But this project was not ever about perfection, it was created to lead us to greater gratitude of the One who was perfect for us and pours out His immeasurable grace on us, day by day.

This project is our Gratitude Tree.IMG_6405

I decided to share it here because of the several texts and questions I received after sharing these same pictures through Instragram. Our tree was developed from broken twigs and construction paper leaves, inspired in part by this Ann Voskamp quote:

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In doing this project during this month of Thanksgiving, I want us to not just mark down what we are thankful for, for the sake of being reminded all we have to be thankful for. But in taking it a¬†step further, I want us to really look for and see where God’s grace meets us every.single.day.¬†

If we are honest, or I am honest, I am not always¬†joy-filled and sometimes it feels like I am just going through the motions of what I have to do. I also know just because I have much to be thankful for, I don’t¬†always¬†feel thankful and certainly¬†don’t spend time praising God for it. ¬†And most of the time when I am tired, frustrated, impatient, irked, lonely or even content or joyful, I miss seeing all the ways¬†God draws near and gives me grace.

  • Do I really think about or even realize how he may help me move toward someone in¬†compassion and love?
  • Do I see when he restrains me from anger or enables me to¬†quickly forgive?
  • Do I acknowledge where he gives me discipline, strength and encouragement?
  • Do I feel like because of unanswered prayers he is far away and therefore miss where he was very present in a specific moment in my day?
  • Or how he caused me to cross-paths with just the person with just the right words I needed to hear?

These are the daily graces we are on a treasure hunt for. And these are the things we will write on the back of our leaves every single day of this month as the five us search for the true treasure of Christ.

I hope when and where we see his grace we will be filled with a deeper gratitude and joy. A thanksgiving that leads us to praise him more richly. A thanksgiving that causes us to want more of him and to think less of us. A thanksgiving based on the foundation of the truths of who He is for us.

Every.single. day.IMG_6404

If you, too, make a Gratitude Tree or even just write down daily graces, I’ld love to hear about it at the end of the month! I am looking forward to the dinner-time conversations this sparks between us and hope it will for you too.