Tuesday, November 24, 2020

20 Things I'm Thankful For in 2020.


 

1.     My precious grandson. Beckham Arthur is a long-awaited blessing. Becoming a grandma, a nana is sweeter than I’d imagined. He fills my thoughts and my heart with joy. 

2.     Prayer. Access to the Almighty. The fact that the Holy Spirit prays on our behalf when we do not know how to pray is stunningly precious to me. I cannot chat with my governor or my president, but I can bend the ear of the Almighty who rules overall. He cares deeply about what we bring to Him, and I can scarcely fathom it.

3.     God’s Word. A treasure trove of hope. A powerful weapon against the enemy of our souls. I’ve read it more this year than ever, but it’s still not enough. The Bible is a gift from God—a precious guide for the journey of this life. 

4.     My husband. My guy who loves to travel and be out-and-about has been stuck at home with me most of the year. I’ve rather enjoyed the time alone with him. We’ve found new ways to get away and a new rhythm. I’m so thankful for how hard he works for us every day.

5.     My kids. All five of ‘em. The pride I feel when I think of each of my kids is overwhelming. They’re smart, kind, funny, and I love them all immensely. Every moment I’m blessed to spend with them is a joy and privilege.

6.     Fellowship. In a world where human interaction is considered risky, fellowship is in short supply. For those who need it (me), it’s been a joy to gather in divine appointments—encouraging others, being encouraged, easing the burden of fear and isolation.

7.     Freedom. It’s something we take for granted until it’s threatened or lost. We lost a lot of freedom this year. I am more grateful than ever for the freedoms I’ve enjoyed all of my life. I pray that freedom will continue for my children and grandchildren.

8.     My best friend. I haven’t seen her for almost a year, but she has been an ever-present friend—a perspective-giver—a non-judgmental reader of rants. And she needs me back, which is just as important as her being there for me. Love you, Lora.

9.     Friends. It’s been a rough friend year. I haven’t seen so many of them for ages. Others get together often. I’m thankful for all of my friends, most especially those who pray. Lifting you up and being lifted in prayer is such a blessing.

10.  The Grace Writers—also friends. I love you, ladies. You are a joy. I appreciate your faith, your stories, your creativity, and your encouragement. It’s been over six years of fun, and I hope we meet for 60 more…(or less). 

11.  Making do. This spring, the shut-down kept us mostly home. I had to re-learn how to make do. I expanded my cooking repertoire and redecorated my house almost solely with spray paint. It was actually fun, and oh, so creative. I strive to continue that mindset.

12.  Truth. Not my truth or your truth, THE truth. I appreciate constructive conversation and debate where the desired end is truth, no matter who is right or wrong. I honestly don’t mind being proven wrong when the truth is discovered like a hidden treasure.

13.  My home. I’ve been stuck in it more this year than I ever have, and I am thankful. Before 2020, its deficiencies annoyed me more often. This year, I appreciate every nook and cranny. It’s been a haven—a safe, clean place to invite others to fellowship.

14.  Travel. I did travel a bit this year—flying only to visit my precious grandbaby and kids. I canceled more trips than I took, but I am thankful for the times we got away and explored the world a bit closer to home. I’ll never take for granted the blessing of travel.

15.  Boldness. It wasn’t until my 40s that I allowed myself to be bold. A circumstance called for it, and boldness came forth. 2020 called forth more boldness from me, and I find I’m hungry for it in others. I want a decisive boldness. It’s time. It’s out there, and I am constantly seeking it.

16.  Vintage photos. I love the peek into the past, the stories they bear, the humor, and even a profound truth. Back in the day, people only took photos of things they cherished, memories, places, people. Now we photograph every moment, missing them in the process. Old photos speak volumes. I try to listen.

17.  Time. I don’t know how much I have. No one does. But in a year when we were pummeled by the fear of death, the preciousness of time has come to the fore. I’m not afraid of death, but I do fear squandering the time I have. Since we never know the length of our days, Lord, help me use them for Your glory!

18.  Health. I was waiting in line at the pharmacy at Costco. The old, sickly woman in front of me had a loud voice and, when asked, gave her date of birth. She was one month older than me. I was shocked and grateful. Yes, I have the aches and pains of a half-century of life, but I’m thankful for the health I have, aches and all.

19.  The Church. I used to think I went to church...this year, I’ve learned what it means to be the church. I’ve scarcely stepped foot inside a church building, but the church is more important than ever. I used to be the donut lady, I miss that, but now I see how important it is to be the church to people who need people. To provide fellowship, to encourage, to keep in touch when you can’t actually touch. 

20.  Treasure hunts. We spent a lot of time at the beach this year. We discovered the joy of hunting for agates. They’re beautiful, mysterious, colorful, and sometimes hard to find. The joy of searching is almost as fun as the finding. That’s true of so much in life…the ultimate treasure hunt. May we never stop seeking the good in every year…especially the challenging ones. 



Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Homesick

When I was a little girl, I liked to go to my friend’s houses, but I loved my home.

The excitement of a new place wore off quickly, and I was left with a pit in my stomach.

 

I was homesick.

 

Homesickness is that empty ache that only stepping through your familiar front door can assuage.

 

I feel that ache now, in my living room, fire in the fireplace, rain pattering on my window.

I look outside to the windy world, and rather than feel secure in my warm house, 

I am anxious.

The storm is angry. Rain pummels the roof. Trees bend in the gales. 

A branch flies through the air.

It’s dangerous out there.

 

My gaze recedes to my reflection.

I see worry as water pounds the glass.

On my face, a familiar, persistent, empty ache.

 

I’m in my home, safe and sound. 

Lord, why?

 

Are you? He asks.

Are you home?

 

It’s not the storm that makes me anxious.

Our world is changing.

 

Lord, our world is changing.

 

I know, child.

 

Then I recognize that pit in my stomach.

It’s not the angst of my world spinning out of control, as I think it is.

 

It’s not.

 

I’m homesick.

 

I’ve clung too tightly to this place.

I associated heaven with death, not home.

Suddenly I remember,

This is not my home.

 

Home is where my father is and where my Father is.

Home is a place prepared especially for me.

 

When I was a little girl, heart longing for home,

A kind grown-up would let me call my mother.

We’d talk, and I’d feel a bit better.

“Make the most of your time with your friend,” she’d say.

“You’ll be home soon.”

 

My Father in Heaven says the same thing.

Your journey isn’t finished, dear child.

Share your gifts until I bring you home.


I remember the feeling of crossing the threshold of my home after a long weekend at camp or a sleepover at a friend's house.

I had fun with my friends,

But there was joy in returning home.


I feel it as an adult too.

I cherish visits with my children and now my grandson,

And journeys to new places.

But the satisfaction of dropping my bags on my floor, in my house,

And the comfort of breathing in the familiar scent, 

tearing off my coat and plopping onto the sofa--well, there's nothing like it.


What will it feel like to cross the threshold of my eternal Home?

It's a thought too wonderful to imagine.


My citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).

 

For now, the ache will persist,

But the promise of Home is comfort.


Lord, help me to embrace the ache.

Use my gifts for Your glory all the days of my life,

Until I’m finally Home.

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