1000 ways God loves me– based on Ann Voskamp’s 1000 gifts devotional

Surprising grace— little things mean such a lot.  My daughter, who gives good gifts, most of all gives  love.  For Christmas she and her children, Lauren, Courtney, and  Will came to visit.    I was surprised anew at 1) the cacophony of three children/young people clamoring for bits of attention- faces transfixed and ready to share their lives for a moment. 2) the requests-Lauren to the shop to paint.  When a reminder of “I’m dressed in my Christmas sweater,” she figures out that I can put on pajamas– it won’t  matter  if I get paint on them;  Courtney’s request to go with her mother to visit   a friend’s new house;  and Will  makes no request-he just wants to be involved.  3) The ” it’s just right” response  regarding the wooden, yellow  table  we all  participated in making  from a large pallet  to allow picnics in the swing area.  The fresh possibility of spending that day, that night, and part of the next day with these three  and their mother Stephanie-His  gracious gifts in the forms of others surprise and delight.   Thanks be to God for his unceasing love and his unspeakable riches! (  January 1, 2014)

Choosing grace-He walked and  I rolled  through the cemetery at New Hope Baptist Church  in Simpson County, Mississippi.   We  are both 64 now; it is time to start thinking of our final resting places.    In this quiet rural environment,  I see the names of many people  who influenced me, who invested in me, who gave of their lives to me  as I was part of that church.    This is the final resting place of my parents, my sister Georgene , my four unnamed older siblings, my maternal grandparents, Aunt Annie May,  Uncle Floyd, and numerous other family members. Will we choose to be buried here or in Copiah County where we have lived  44 of the 45 years we’ve been married?   Both of our daughters live out of state, and I cannot anticipate their making visits to our cemetery plots.  Would it not be better to be here with people I’ve loved and to whom I’m related rather than being with friends who are interred in Copiah County?  I have much to think  about.  Going to the cemetery is not a sorrowful occasion; is a time to remember past  joys and the lessons learned   through the ordinary lives  of extraordinary people.  I could possibly look back upon this time spent here as a time of poverty and want; I  choose to see it is a time  of richness  through relationships.  Many of the interred I  will see again. how great to be aware of His promises for  “now we see through a glass  darkly; but then we shall see face to face.”   (January 2, 2014)

 First grace- “What may be known about God is plain to [people] because God has made it plain to them.… Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities… have been clearly seen, being understood from what is been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1.                                According  to Ann V.,  Eve’s thanklessness for all God does and her resentfulness of the one fruit he doesn’t give…is the catalyst of the fall.”  She further states, “Our fall is always first a failure to give thanks.”  (20) If we don’t give thanks,  we forget to acknowledge and glorify God.   When I am busy clamoring for more instead of being thankful for God’s good gifts to me, I sin. More is never enough when  I leave  God out of the equation.   I forget, and God  leaves me to myself  and to my distractions.   I repeat the prayer of Ann Voskamp, ”   Father God, You  are the begetter of grace.  Forgive me for being a forgetter of thanks. This is not a trivial thing. It leads to wicked things.  Hear the cry of my heart: Forgive me for not giving you thanks.  If thanks  is the highest form of thought-make it my firs thought. Turn  me towards thanks first-so my life doesn’t turn into the last thing I ‘d hoped for.  Turn me toward You first-first things first means to give you thanks first.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 , “Give thanks to God in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.”

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