I am so blessed and so excited at the outpouring of love, support and goodwill that has already taken place in these first few days of our 30 Days of Thanksgiving.
As a recap- rather than focusing on saying what we appreciate each day (which is completely valid and totally underrated in itself), we are focusing on GIVING in Thanks. God is a pretty great GIVER- He GAVE his only begotten son to save us from ourselves. I, personally, really appreciate that.
He also calls us to give attention to our lives, to HIM, to what He is doing in us, through us and all around us every.single.second of every.single.day.
Listen and hear my voice; pay ATTENTION and hear what I say. Isaiah 28:23
The first 7 days of our challenge are focused on... well, focusing. We are working toward heeding the call of our Lord and paying ATTENTION to Him- His will for our lives, His gentle nudges and whispers. We are paying attention to all those people and things in our lives that we normally let slide to the back burner... that we take for granted.
Here's how things have looked so far for us :)
I began Friday as I usually do, in prayer and meditation on God's word. However, as *good* as I can be about doing this- always before anything else- sometimes it means very little. Sometimes, I just go through the motions... I read, say a prayer for all the people I should pray for, and I'm done. While that's better than nothing, that is NOT paying ATTENTION to God. That's not giving Him my FIRST, because I'm completely distracted the entire time. I'm not truly seeking or worshipping him, I'm reading and saying and I'm done.
We began our challenge by using the PHENOMENAL resource that was recently shared with us by a fellow homeschooling family- Kids of Integrity (www.kidsofintegrity.com) This is a completely free lesson plan that includes stories, crafts, suggestions, experiments- a total unit study on various character traits we would all love to instill in our children. It just so happens, they have one about Thanksgiving this month :-) It's not about gobble, gobble thanksgiving- it's about the Giving of Thanks... in all circumstances and it rocks.
We kicked off our month by praying for a heart of thanksgiving. We discussed how sometimes it's easy to give thanks, and sometimes it's hard- How we have to give thanks even in the rough-and-tumble times because those are the times that God is loving us the hardest.
We prayed together and began getting our hearts ready for a month of Giving our Attention, Service, Encouragement and Gifts in gratitude for all that we are abundantly blessed with. AND, the scarecrows (from the Kids of Integrity study) turned out super cute. We also got the opportunity to serve together as a family and begin planning some other service projects for later in the month.
So, four days into GIVING in my thanks, and things are good- really good. I've felt a renewed spirit in many areas of my life. I feel like a new leaf has been overturned, and a fuzzy veil lifted. After a challenging few months dealing with the perils of moving, I feel re-invigorated as a wife, mother, teacher and friend. I feel like cobwebs are clearing and I can say honestly, it's because of what God is doing in my heart.
I prayed fervently (and continue to pray) that He will open my eyes. I want to be His hands and feet, seeing His people the way He does. I want to see the opportunities to serve others, to love on them- the strangers I don't know and the people he has put in my life to walk through it with.
The thing I can say about purposing to GIVE as much as you can, from every part of yourself for a whole month, is that you stop thinking about YOURSELF. You start looking at others- at their lives, health, circumstances, at their spirits- and you see a way to help.
You start to realize it is possible to see a tiny-itty-bitty-peep of what Jesus saw as he walked on this earth.
Opportunities are EVERYWHERE.
Will you join me? It's not too late- we have 26 days left.
Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously, will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has DECIDED in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Cor 9:6-7
Don't be compelled, don't be reluctant- but DECIDE. What can you GIVE this month to Thank Him for all He has given- what will you give that will change YOUR life forever?
What can you do to point it all back to Him?