Monday, November 24, 2008

Thankful Heart Discussion At The Well

Laurie at Women Taking A Stand is hosting at the well this week, and her topic is "Having A Thankful Heart." With this INCRedible topic, I'd suggest going by to read what Laurie has to say on it. She has the spiritual gift of teaching, and I go regularly to her blog to be fed spiritually and to learn the deep stuff of God's Word.

I would've love to put together something well-packaged for this great topic, but since I'm low on time, I'm just going to answer her discussion questions as if she and I were having a conversation. Would you like to do the same? If so go by Laurie's blog to sign up.

It is easy to give thanks when everything is going well. But how easy is it to give thanks when we are low in the valley?

So TRUE! Honestly, I find it easier to give thanks than to live thanks, you know? I say it and sing it with my mouth, but my moods and actions often communicate a whole different message. The desire of my heart is to be able to say it and mean it at the same time, whether in the high, low or in-between.

How do you give thanks during difficult times?

When I’m going through a difficult time, I HAVE to be honest with the Lord and myself. I admit that I’m feeling yucky, down, depressed, attacked, whatever the emotion, and I ask Him to help me with it, taking the opportunity to thank Him in advance for how He will act and what He will do in the situation. I also ask Him to give me a new attitude and a new perspective—those that are His instead of mine which is limited and human. One other thing I do is to thank Him for His divine character and the sacrifices He made for me. Somehow when I focus on God’s mercies, my heart becomes God-focused instead of me-focused. All of a sudden, I’ll remember all of the other ways He has brought me (and others) through the muddy waters. My heartfelt cries are then exchanged for honest gratitude.

Share with your readers a testimony of how God brought you thru a difficult time.

Oh, wow, there are too many to count. Honestly. One in particular I feel led to share is how the Lord brought me/our family through a self-sacrificing time. Talk about sanctification. When Brian’s father got terminal brain cancer, we were devastated. At the same time, we began to take care of his granddad in our home, all while continuing to homeschool the kids three days a week, Brian helping his step mother care for his dad, while continuing to run his company. My mother in IL got very ill during this same time frame, and I was trying to work in trips to see her. Then she passed away. Granddad’s health with Parkinson’s, and I dare say grief over his only son dying a horrible death, began to deteriorate. He passed away after 20 months of living with us, then Brian’s dad just months after that.

Lemme just tell you, we are STILL recuperating. But there is no WAY we could’ve made it through that time without our faith. In many ways our marriage strengthened. We were forced to work through issues in our marriage that had lurked for many years underneath the surface. Our entire family comforted one another, while at the same time remembering all the ways God had provided for us through it all…big things, small things, mysterious things. Too many blessings to count.

I remember one day in particular. The kids were fighting, Granddad was sitting in the living room with the TV blaring, we had a TON of homework to do, my housework was piled up to the max, and I really thought I might come undone for good. I fell to my knees weeping, locked behind my bedroom door. I ignored the dog barking and the knocks of concern and just sobbed as quietly as I could. And prayed. Begged. With those tears, God poured out His peace. Out came the stress, and in came His supernatural, overwhelming flood of comfort from the Holy Spirit. No major revelation came, no verse came to mind, no song came to my lips. Just silent comfort.

And I’m still thanking Him for that.

Psalm 77:11-12 (NIV)
" I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago.
I will meditate on all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds."

Dear Lord Jesus, You are amazing. Magnificent. All-powerful. While the enemy tries to steal, kill and destroy, You constantly remind me that You have come to give eternal life, and to the full. Thank You. I don't deserve anything good, but yet, that is what You give, over and over again. Keep me ever mindful and solely focused on You, replacing my emotional perspective with Your perfect vision. This Thanksgiving, cause my thankfulness to pour out to others, in word and in deed, and especially in attitude. In Your name I pray, Amen.

In the Key of HE,

17 friends shared a comment:

LAURIE said...

I LOVED having a conversation with you today! How awesome it would be if someday we could do that in REAL-LIFE person!!!

Thank you for sharing a piece of heart with us today. God is sooo faithful and your testimony reminds me of how even when we don't feel like it - God will put a song in our heart!! Praise God for that. -Blessings, Laurie

PS: I think you have a new look on your blog? love it!

Betsy Markman said...

Wow! What a story! You've had your hands more than full, and for long periods of time, too! Thank you for your sincerity and your beautiful praise to our God.

makeyourhomesing said...

I loved how you point out the difference between giving thanks and living thanks. One is lip-service and one is heart-service. Thank you for sharing!

Jennifer said...

I can't say it enough...We Are So Blessed In Him! What an amazing and overwhelming time in your life! God is so faithful in all that we the chaos, the quiet moments, in the rush and run, in sickness and in death and in health and happiness.

Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for sharing your heart today!

Joyfull said...

Thank you for sharing today. Thank you for sharing about getting to the end of your rope and finding everything you needed in Christ. That was also a great point about giving thanks and living thanks! Wonderful post.

Anonymous said...

Lauralee - this was a remarkable story. Thanks for being vulnerable with us and sharing these things. Amazing how when we finally let go and the flood of tears forces its way out, God does not leave us empty. He just lets the raging waters out and then fills us with the calm, still waters to restore our soul. I love how God mixes blessings in when life's circumstances want to empty us out. Thank you.

Laurie Ann said...

Absolutely lovely heartfelt post, LauraLee. I loved what you wrote, "Somehow when I focus on God’s mercies, my heart becomes God-focused instead of me-focused." Amen to that! God is so faithful. I'm so sorry for the losses you've endured but admire the grace and faith that brought you through...

Patty Wysong said...

Somehow when I focus on God’s mercies, my heart becomes God-focused instead of me-focused. That's such an important key, Laura!!

Gigi said...

Thank you, Laura Lee, for allowing me to "evesdrop" on your conversation today. I truly needed what I read there. Really. Thanks.

Denise said...

I would love to be able to sit down with you, and tell you face to face, how precious you are. I am sending you great big hugs, love, and many prayers my friend. I love you.

Denise said...

In my mail today, I received your dear birthday gift. You touched my heart with your kindness to me. Thank you for thinking of me. I loved the sweet card, and the lovely prayer cards. Thank you for being my friend.

lori said...

WOWZER....another one deserving of a re~read....I've been out today..getting ready for the trip north...what an amazing story...

Thankful hearts..always...
someday...we'll have a real life conversation...I just know it!


Alicia The Snowflake said...

Amen! I love the scripture you shared. It was beautiful. It is so easy to get mired down in the problems and forget what he has done for us. But instead may we remember them and tell others about them too.

Have a great week!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...


I'll come back and read your post tomorrow, but wanted to let you know you're a winner at my blog and I need your snail mail so I can get your package in the mail before leaving for Thanksgiving. Many thanks!


Esthermay Bentley-Goossen said...

That experience of receiving HIS peace while sobbing on your knees is so real to me. This is what it takes some times - being completely broken and helpless and at the end of our physical and emotional rope. It's called complete surrender. I like to think of "surrender" as totally different and separate from "commitment..." Because commitment involves ME -- surrender involves NONE of me. When we reach that point of Surrender, HE can fill us with that indescribable peace. This was a touching post.
-- forgot why I came (and this is so NOT important:)
I got tagged and I chose the six most recent followers of my own blog to tag... sorry. :)
Check it out here:
. . . or not!
God Bless you this Thanksgiving!
Kindest Thoughts,

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. That's a great lessons I got. Have a great day!

Joanne Sher said...

You are an amazing woman of God. You have a way of sharing your heart that gets me EVERY time. Your honesty, your dependence on God, your passion for Him. Thank you for your transparency, my dear friend!