An Early Saturday Morning Post

“You poor, you nobodies, you of little account by the world’s standards, you are blessed. It is my Father’s good pleasure to give you a privileged place in the kingdom– not because you worked so hard, and not because you are saying all the right things or doing all the right things or becoming all the right things, but because my Father wants you” (Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish).

I had this fantastic idea for a blog post earlier today. At least I believe it was fantastic. Not only can I not remember what I was going to write about, I can’t remember if it was average, good, great, or epic.

Sad.

What I do know is that tomorrow’s Saturday, which means I turn off my alarm and sleep in. The older I get, the more I fantasize about actual sleep– not sleeping with someone, but simply sleeping.

The older I get, I also realize that every day I get to wake up is a day where I’m blessed. More and more people I know didn’t get that privilege. Too many people I know won’t get to live to be my age, much less grow to be old.

I’m blessed not because I particularly deserve it, but because it was the Father’s good pleasure to bless me. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give me the kingdom simply for the joy of giving it.

I certainly have made poor choices in the last 24 hours, both in things done that I shouldn’t have done and in things left undone that I should have done.

That’s why I remain thankful for those mercies that are new each morning when I wake up. I’m grateful for God’s grace that sustains me through the days and weeks. Grace is what got me here, and grace is what will get me home.

 

 

Happy Birthday Eve to Me!

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Everyone knows about Christmas Eve. Apparently, Thursdays are now being referred to as Friday Eve. So why can’t the day before my birthday be birthday eve?

Birthdays are always a good time to reflect and look back. Sure, I’m not where I thought I’d be at this point, but I am alive. I survived another year. I woke up this morning. That has to count for something.

The fact that you and I are here means that God isn’t through with us just yet. He still has a purpose for you and me.

I believe God has already told us what our purpose is: for Him to shape us into the spitting image of Jesus. I also think that we do that when we savor life and relationships and moments. We do that when we show gratitude in everything and find joy everywhere.

Jesus lived life to the utmost and has called us to do the same. Through His power, we can. I’m not saying all our days will be perfect and sunny and bright, but even on the darkest of days there will still be joy to be found and a multitude of reasons to give thanks.

So I’m happy to be here and thankful for another day of life. And if I wake up tomorrow, I’ll celebrate another year of being alive and loved and blessed.

Making Mondays Good Again

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At first, it may have seemed like a typical Monday. First, I locked my keys in my car at Starbucks. I knew the moment my hand went to shut the door that I had messed up. Sure enough, there were my keys, still in the ignition.

Then, after my trusty sidekick and savior of the day a.k.a. Mom brought my spare keys, I went to start the car. Nothing. Other than a very annoying clicking sound. I was beginning to get annoyed myself.

I had AAA, so I got them to send a wrecker who was able to jump start my car and get me running. I ended up needing a new battery.

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Sounds like I should write off this Monday as yet another in a long line of bad days. Right? As Lee Corso says, “Not so fast, my friend.”

I woke up this morning, a privilege many didn’t get. I breathed in and out fresh air out of my lungs, felt my heart pumping life through my limbs, and got to experience the gift of another day of living.

There’s still not a moment where I’m not sustained and held together by the grace of God. There’s never a second where I’m out of God’s sight or not in His heart.

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I know I have so many people rooting for me on both sides of Heaven. I know I have saints lifting up holy hands in intercession for me. I know Jesus never ceases praying for me and His Holy Spirit never stops translating my sighs and groans into petitions and praises.

I’m good. I’m more than good. I’m blessed.

If God never did one more thing for me, if He showed me my empty box of blessings because I had used them all up, I would be good. I would still have enough reasons to give thanks and be grateful for the rest of my life.

Eternity will be too short for me to express my thankfulness to God for who He’s been to me and how He’s proved Himself faithful over and over. I’ll never get tired of finding new ways to say “Thank you!” to the King of the Universe who is also my Abba Father.

I’d say that makes even Mondays blessed.

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Things I Love 11: Top That, Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees

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I now have passed into legendary status in this series. Not even movie slashers Freddy Krueger or Jason Vorhees had more than nine sequels (even counting the one they were in together, which I consider cheating). That goes to show that there are really way more good things than bad things out there if you only look hard enough and with the right set of eyes.

That being said, we’ll kick off this list at #239:

239) Driving home after a good night of community group with music playing loud and absolutely no idea of where you are (and not caring).

240) Vegetables off the grill.

241) Giving myself permission to vent, to go a little crazy, and to be in the moment, no matter how painful it may be.

242) That whenever Lucy my cat hears my car coming up the driveway, she goes to the front door and waits for me.

243) On nights like this, gratitude for not having a night shift job.

244) That I’m not (nor will I ever be) married to any of the Kardashians.

245) Authentic conversations with friends at 10 pm.

246) That God only needs the tiniest place to start in my life to do something amazing.

247) That unexpected two-hour nap on a Sunday afternoon when I only meant to lie down and rest my eyes for a second.

248) Knowing that God’s “no”s always mean a much bigger “yes” down the road.

249) Singing to the very top of my lungs with the song playing on my car radio and not caring if I sound scary.

250) Finding the freedom to forgive myself for being myself.

251) In those moments when I can truly love being me.

252) Those spontaneous Saturday nights in downtown Franklin (like the one I’m planning for tomorrow).

253) People who refuse to give up on me even when they should.

254) Finding the perfect card for someone’s birthday.

255) Knowing that my Abba rejoices over me, sings over me, and dances with joy over me.

256) The almost-euphoric feeling after I realize that a bad headache is gone.

257) Jennifer Anniston.

258) The clean smell of the air after a thunderstorm.

259) Not having to wake up at 5 am in the morning.

260) That I’m already 1/4 of the way through my list of 1,000 things I love/am grateful for/receive as gifts from God.

261) Chocolate Cheerios.

262) Eating dessert first.

263) Eating dessert as a meal.

Look for the next installment, cleverly entitled Things I Love 12, sometime tomorrow.

Spring’s Here

I gotta tell ya. I’m lovin’ this weather we’re having in Middle Tennessee. I don’t know what’s going on in the rest of the country, but right here, the weather’s just fine.

I think the temperature is supposed to be in the 70’s for the entire week. After going up and down from warm to cold like a demented yo-yo, this is a nice change of pace. I don’t know if there’s any chance of rain, but I’m fairly certain there’ll be no snow at least until next December.

My favorite of the seasons is fall, but spring’s a close second. Especially when it’s right around 75 and the sun is shining and a cool breeze is blowing. I can literally feel my cares blowing away with the wind.

I know better than to trust Tennessee weather or Tennessee weather forecasters. So nix what I said earlier about no more snow. Stranger things have happened in April and even in May.

I’m just thankful that I woke up this morning and was able to enjoy the fine Sunday spring day. I don’t take for granted that I’ll get the same privilege tomorrow. It’ll be another gift tomorrow.

 

Perspective

At the moment, I’m a bit annoyed with my wi-fi service. It’s slow and it doesn’t want to connect to web pages very well. I keep getting a “This web page is not available” notification. I keep thinking, “Why is this happening to me? What did I ever do to deserve this?”

In answer to your question, yes, I would like to have some cheese with my whine.

Then I have a little perspective.

I woke up this morning. I was able to get out of bed and enjoy my day and do all those things I routinely take for granted that so many people can’t do, like get dressed, feed myself, walk, etc.

I had food to eat and clean water to drink. Many people around the world don’t have either and have to walk for miles to bring home dirty, unsanitary water because that’s the only water they can find to drink. And here I am stuffing myself with Halloween candy and complaining about slow wi-fi.

I have friends who can witness me say and do some incredibly dumb things and still want to be my friends. Ditto for family. Nobody so far is pretending they don’t know me when they see me or ducking into an alley when I walk by. Not yet.

Best of all, I have a hope and a confidence and an eternal security that nothing and no one can take away. I have a God who told me that no one would ever snatch me from his hand. That he wouldn’t ever lose me. I have a promise direct from God himself that the best is yet to come.

So wi-fi issues suddenly don’t seem that important anymore. At least I’m still better off than when I had a slow desktop with an even slower dial-up modem and an internet service (which I won’t name) that kept dropping the connection and charged way too much for service. Yes, kids, we used to have to get internet through the telephone line with noisy little things called modems. And we had to watch television by candlelight before electricity was invented.

So, I feel better already. Don’t you? It’s all about getting the right perspective.