When All Else Fails… Be Thankful

I’ve got no words, I’ve lost my “muchness,” and there isn’t much wonder in the journey anymore. I’m trying to recapture the amazement I once cradled in my hands, and I think the only way to do that is to dwell on things that never fail to amaze me. Today I determine to be awed and amazed and purposely thankful for…

Family that is never far away, though we live many miles apart.

People who have entered my life for a brief season, but left permanent imprints on my heart.

Bird songs and butterflies (and those other tiny miracles that inspire the largest of smiles).

Little children who shape my heart with their messy, world-changing hands.

Music created by a rippling creek.

Thunderstorms rolling in over the marsh.

The tender, fragile sound of an infant’s cry.

Cool grass under bare toes.

Cheesecake. (Need I say more?)

A world that is much smaller than it first appears.

“Bicycle flowers” and the sweet scent they bring.

Ocean waves lapping against the shore.

The soothing, healing qualities of human touch.

Stories that tell truths.

Things that rock and swing and spin.

A voice that sings and feet that dance (and musicals that set them in motion).

And for a God who lowered Himself into the darkness to bring us a hope that would carry us through each day.

Today, I am thankful.

Thankful

Because a Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart

Thanksgiving is a great holiday. It’s the one day a year that everyone is mindful of the many blessings in their lives. It’s a day that we’re reminded to celebrate the things we should be celebrating every single day of our lives. And while there are days I fail to express my gratitude, today I want to stop and say that I’m thankful for:

family who loves me no matter what I say or do:

friends who keep me laughing (and laughter that keeps me sane):

authors who have impacted my life with their words:

horses that let me ride them:

letters in the mail:

all the beautiful things you find at the ocean:

every morning I’m allowed to wake up to this glorious view:

the God who has blessed me so abundantly…

Happy Thanksgiving. May you realize how truly, wonderfully, immensely blessed you are.

What are you thankful for?

Discovering Me

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is a new note bouncing around facebook that is either 25, 30, or 50 random facts about the author, depending on who’s writing it. The first one I saw had 50 facts, and I got a little nervous when I read it. 50 facts? Do I even know 50 random facts about myself? It was probably a silly question. Of course I know 50 things about myself. But do I want to dig deep into the recesses of my heart and mind to retrieve them? Probably not.

But I did retrieve them. All 50 of them. Even though I only posted 25 on facebook. As much as I hate doing it, I figured it would probably be a good exercise. It was time to learn the things that I had been hiding from myself. And I did learn. I really had to think about these 50 things. I had to decide what was important enough to earn a place on this exclusive list. Even though my brain rebels against all things analytical, it’s good for me to study my life from time to time.

The answers themselves ask a question of their own. How do I love dancing in the rain when I don’t like being in water? Why do I devour fiction the way that I do? How have I managed to convince most of the world that I’m an extrovert? Why do I gravitate toward certain colors of clothing? These are things a girl should know about herself. And yet I don’t know these things. I don’t know because I never allow myself time to think of them. But knowing what I’m like and why I’m that way helps me understand myself better. Somehow my future ties in with these 50 past and present facts. Somehow these facts have shaped me. And will continue to do so.

Do you know what shapes your life? Do you know what drives you? I challenge you to take a day (or two, like I did) and ask yourself which 50 facts about you are “list-worthy.” Get to know the person God created you to be. Figure out how your past is affecting your future. Then invite God to shape and mold these 50 things that are very much a part of who you are and who you have yet to become.

Before You Make Him Mine

It has been over ten months since I’ve prayed a heartfelt, in-depth prayer for my future husband. That may seem crazy to you as it does seem to go against every book you’ll find on waiting for Prince Charming. I thought I was crazy myself, at first. But it can’t be any more crazy than how crazy I felt back when I was faithfully praying for my knight in shining armor. I didn’t stop praying because I got the impression that the man I will one day marry is above falling, but because I know how prone I am to fall myself. When I was consistently praying for my future husband, I was constantly thinking about him. And because I thought of him so often, I got to a point where I wasn’t content with living without him. That’s why I dropped the specific prayers. That’s why I shredded the list of things I wanted in a husband. Maybe it’s the novelist in me, but when I write a guy out on paper, he becomes real and eventually becomes all I think about. But he shouldn’t be all I think about during this stage of my life.  That’s why when it comes to this delicate subject of waiting, I decided to, well, stop waiting. If I’m going to live in this moment here and now, I can’t be dwelling on a future with him.

I told my mom that she is simply going to have to pray twice as hard because I can’t offer those deep, intercessory prayers that I’ve been advised to pray. I find them to be detrimental to my emotional health. Yes, I have those moments like the one I had ten months ago. Sometimes I get the compelling urge to pour my heart out in prayer for this man I have yet to know. I don’t ignore those urges. In those types of moments, I pray long and hard. But as far as the daily moments when I find my mind turning to thoughts of Prince Charming, I offer this simple prayer: “God, make him the man You want him to be before You make him mine.”

That’s it. I think it pretty much covers all of the basics. God knows the heart behind that simple prayer. He knows what it truly means. He knows that it is so much more than that simple statement. He knows that, truly, it’s a repeat of the much longer, specific prayer I prayed ten months ago. When I whisper that one simple line, I believe God hears the 28 other lines I had penned leading up to that closing statement. And because I know He hears the words I choose to leave unspoken, the thought of “happily ever after” drifts from my mind as quickly as it came and I am free to embrace the moment that has been handed to me here and now.

This is how I’ve been able to dance through the moments of my life as a single girl. It works for me. And it may work for you. Then again, it may not. After all, dreaming up a list of who I thought my future husband should be certainly didn’t work for me. But if you’re really struggling with the fantasy playing on repeat in your mind, I’d encourage you to give it a try. Shred your list, quiet your mind, and whisper these words:

“God, make him the man You want him to be before You make him mine.”