Thanksgiving Thursday: The Gift of a Man

Skot

The life-blood of Thanksgiving Thursday is gratitude: unwrapping gifts and giving thanks to the Giver.  One of God’s greatest gifts to me is my husband.

Six feet of God’s most magnificent handiwork, this man is nothing less than my constant rock, best friend, intimate ally, steadfast partner, and covenant lover.

My ultimate gratitude for my husband belongs to God. But I am grateful – so very grateful – to my husband for everything he is and everything I’ve known with him and everything he gives me to look forward to.

Friday is his birthday, and I give the gift of thanks for all his gifts to me.

Proud Wife

 

Unwrapping the Gifts

   He has character

Character denotes many qualities, and my husband exhibits all of character’s indications. He’s honorable, ethical, compassionate, honest, courageous, passionate, and teachable. He is tender and responsive toward God’s leading, and stands ready to do all that is asked of him. With Joshua’s fearlessness, Daniel’s courage, and David’s faith (Joshua 1:7 & 6:17; Daniel 1:8; Acts 13:22), he is a man of integrity and love.

   He lets me sleep

I’ve never been an early riser, and he’s never asked me to change. Through 15 years of marriage, one daughter, and many life changes, he’s always let me sleep.

   He gives amazing back rubs

His powerful hands work with precision, talent, and erotic strength. A back rub is only a back rub, though. And that leads to the next gift.

   He gave me a daughter

Of all the things he’s given me over all the years we’ve been together, our daughter stands supreme. And he’s a rock star dad!

 

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   He’s faithful

My beloved is mine, and I am his. A cord of three is not easily broken.

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   He’s a man

He’s sweet, smart, kind, and loving, but he’s made of brawn, backbone, bravery, and bold confidence.

   He communicates

He talks – really. Sweet, laborious, fun, hard, dreamy, frightening, or silly, he communicates. Long chats are our Modus Operandi.

  He lets me buy books

He doesn’t know how much I spend on Amazon, and he doesn’t care. I love to read, he loves me.

Truths of my life

 

 

   He’s affectionate

He holds my hand and he kisses my daughter. He canoodles on the couch and he hugs my mama. He throws his arm over me as we sleep and he lets me toss my leg over his. His touch is soft, his hold firm, and his cuddles perfect.

   He’s goofy

He’s my kind of groovy: innately fun and full of laughter.

   He works hard so I can stay home

He knows I am ardently dedicated to raising the child I brought into this world, and so is he. He loves her enough to work skillfully and capably to provide for us so I may bring up and nurture our child.

They Are Your Work

   He supports my work-from-home love

I have found my life’s passion in writing, and he supports me in every way. He proofreads, keeps the kid while I write, lets me work in bed, and tells me I’m fantastic at what I do. 

   He creates a haven-home with me

Our home is a shelter. We do love. He makes it that way.

Love

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Thanksgiving Thursday: For This Cause

Radically Grateful

Hebrews 12:6 tells us that the Lord disciplines those He loves, and let me tell you, friends, I have been well loved this week! The Lord has walked before me to lead and guide, beside me to commune and comfort, and behind me to chasten and restrain.

I stand amazed at how, when God is molding me to be more like Him, He usually places something in my path that leaves no room for doubt about His leading. I felt the Spirit brooding over me in loving conviction…and then came the defining moment.

I sat down to write this post on a different subject, but was drawn away by the newest post on another writer’s blog where she had penned:

 “How can we who profess to be Christ followers remain disconnected from the suffering of those who bear His image? Do not all people have equal value and dignity in the sight of God?

If our heart beats for what God’s heart beats, shouldn’t compassion for people and passion for His mission on this earth be our Holy Obsession? Am I not supposed to love my neighbor as myself? When good people do nothing, injustice thrives.”

You Were Made

There it was. “Have I not spoken?” “Yes, Lord.” Then came the clincher: a power-packed video; a heart changing, 34-minute coupe de gras to the selfish life He is asking me to leave.

“In a generation that is so passionate about causes, Jesus said that for this cause I came to earth. There’s one cause, that’s above every other cause, and justice flows out of the cause of the Gospel of Jesus Christ going forward…What good is [anything] if another generation arises after us that does not know the Lord?”

Please watch the video posted below with me, friends! Let’s pray that we faithfully take the baton of faith for the next generation, carry the cause of the Gospel of Jesus forward, and fulfill the mission set before us. And, in all, let’s praise Him for loving conviction and radical grace!

 

Unwrapping the Gifts

862. The discipline-love of the Lord

859. The freedom for which He set me free (Galatians 5:1)

851. A new writing adventure

825. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19)

865. The scent of Snuggle laundry softener

718. Enjoying a good book and a glass of wine when the house is cozy, warm, and dark except one perfect reading lamp

836. Watching movies in bed while Skot works late

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864. Steak fajita quesadillas

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867. Bathtubs – which I’m sure were created for no other reason than filthy children

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Please tell me, what gifts have you unwrapped this week?

Thanksgiving Thursday: Your Identification, Please

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Merriam-Webster defines identity as “sameness of essential or generic character in different instances; sameness in all that constitutes the object reality of a thing.”

 

I often hear Christians describe themselves as nothing more than saved sinners, people whose souls are now saved from hell, but whose identity still rests in sin. They claim to be covered by a grace that saves them from the condemnation of sin, yet they cannot see themselves as being transformed and empowered by a grace that keeps them from sin itself. But as a believing Christ-follower, is that how we are to see ourselves? Is that how God sees us? Who you think you are defines how you act.

 

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Mark Driscoll puts it this way: “A Christian’s identity is primarily saint, not sinner. You will sin some of the time, but you are a saint all of the time in Christ. A saint is remorseful over sin, receiving conviction from God; there is no condemnation for the saint. A saint is faithful and powerful over sin through the empowering grace of God…If your primary identity is as sinner, and then you are tempted to sin, your identity will determine your activity: ‘I’m a sinner, I guess I’m going to sin.’ No! I’m a saint, I don’t have to!”

 

There is a distinct and important difference between our inability to reach sinless perfection in this life and living in sin. As much as the reality of the saint-identity for the believer is a rich and glorious promise, it is also a severe warning to those who profess Christianity yet use the sinner-identity to excuse their delight in or dependence on sin. In Romans 6:1 & 2, Paul asks and answers a pivotal question: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

 

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Friends, if you are in Christ, your identity is not sinner, it’s saint! “Those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires…those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit of God who lives in you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation – but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it…For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God!” (Romans 8:5-12, emphasis mine.) Claim the name of saint, friends, it is who you are!

 

 

My Thanksgiving List 2/7/13

 

 

738. Warm, comfy clothes after a steaming hot bath

 

744. Praying with Peanut before her meals, and hearing her exclaim, “Mamen!” at the end

 

721. The face of an angel

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750. Soft, cushy diapers for my baby’s adorable fanny

 

767. Homemade mozzarella sticks

 

777. A noisy dinner at Tucanos

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755. Lying tummy down, working, laughing, and creating with my mama

 

772. Being a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves

 

769. Park dates with my loves

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Please tell me, what gifts have you unwrapped this week?

Thanksgiving Thursday

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With a simple, nondescript tick of the clock, 2013 began at midnight, January 1st. Whatever resolutions that were set for 2012 are over, whether they were kept or broken. But the possibilities for success in a new year shine bright. And I, like many others, have set goals 2013. The inspiration for my four-part goal is found in the beginning chapters of the book of Daniel.

The king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, had built a gold statue that was 90 feet high and nine feet wide, and demanded that people were to bow and worship the golden idol when they heard the sound of every kind of music. But three young Jewish boys, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, refused to bow.

Nebuchadnezzar had them brought before him. “Now when you hear the sound of…all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?

Daniel-3.18

 

Part one: In all I say and do, I will bow my heart before only one God. If I am thrown into the blazing furnace, He is able to save me from it. But even if He doesn’t, still will I obey Him.

Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious…he ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up [the three men] and throw them into the blazing furnace…”

Part two: As I stand in obedience, I will proclaim the truth. The Gospel will forever be on my lips, and speaking the truth in love will be my mission.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked in advisers, ‘Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certainly, O king.’ 

 

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Then Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.’”

Part three: I will look for Him in the fire. If He calls me into the furnace, He will not withdraw His hand. I will find His face in the flames and commune with Him.

King Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘To the peoples, nations, and men of every language, who live in all the world: May you prosper greatly! It is my pleasure to tell you about the signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. How great are his signs, how mighty are his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.’”

Part four: I will offer praise and thanksgiving always. It is my pleasure to tell you about the signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me!

 

Light Shine in New Year

 

 

My Thanksgiving List 1/3/13

 

694. Clinking champagne crystals at midnight with friends and family

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692. That my husband peeks at my game of Solitaire and tells me what I missed. (OK,so maybe I’m just thankful for the reminder that, even when playing a game for one, I am not lonely. 😉 )

 

686. The truth of El Roi: God. Sees. ME!

 

702. Getting all of the Christmas things put away

 

685. The life a new kitty brings to the house

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679. The way toast smells just out of the toaster

 

682. Even a child is known by his actions, and I am blessed beyond measure that a store clerk recognizes Peanut as The “HI!” Girl!

 

683. A beautiful winter hike with family

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681. Enjoying pizza slices at Sam’s

 

643. God’s grace that allows me to give grace to others

 

695. A New Year’s midnight kiss from the Love of my Life

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Please tell me, what gifts have you unwrapped this week?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit

Photo Credit

Thanksgiving Thursday, Happy New Year!

DSC01588I could not have asked for a sweeter celebration of the birth of Redeeming Love. Our little haven-home was filled with the happy, noisy sounds of laughter, music, and toddler toys, the floors were strewn with paper and ribbons that were pulled off of boxes and bags of love and blessings, our tummies were full of delicious, homemade holiday goodies, and our hearts were filled with wonder and gratitude.

 

Glorious Mess

 

And then Christmas was over. The floors were still messy and the tummies growled once again, but our hearts remained full. God with us didn’t leave. And as we look forward to the beginning of 2013, no eye has seen or ear heard or mind conceived what the Creator of Love and Joy has prepared and appointed for those who are lovers of Him.

 

What God Has Prepared

 

These words have been applied to the state of glory in a future world; but they certainly belong to the present state, and express merely the wondrous light, life, and liberty which the Gospel communicates to them that believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in that way which the Gospel itself requires. Such a scheme of salvation, in which God’s glory and man’s felicity should be equally secured…[no] mind but that of God [could] have conceived the idea of so vast a project, nor could any power but his own have brought it to effect.” Clarke’s Commentary

 

This is the promise of God with us: a blessed assurance of right standing with God and the accompanying joy that is prepared for those that are lovers and followers of Christ. May you have a happy New Year, friends, one that is filled with the unimaginable blessings of good and faithful God.

 

My Thanksgiving List 12/27/12

 

649. Toothpaste

 

651. Colorado sunsets

 

660. Unexpected blessings and lots of love piled under our tree

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664. Celebrating old traditions, beginning new traditions

 

676. Having my husband home on vacation for a week and a half!

 

665. The joy of Christmas morning

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677. The promises of God that find their “Yes!” in Christ

 

666. Mimosas

 

672. Watching a child play in the snow on a white Christmas 

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674. The feeling of safety when I’m wrapped in the arms of my husband

 

678. Excitement over the coming year

 

673. Lying beneath the tree, talking and snuggling with my child

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Please tell me, what gifts have you unwrapped this week?

Thanksgiving Thursday, Advent’s Victory

God With Us

I pressed post on my blog last Thursday morning with a breath-prayer that God with us would make strong the hearts of the fragile. Less than 24 hours later, babies at Sandy Hook Elementary died, Jesus wept, a nation mourned, and I read and reread the post: “Believing in miracles before life makes sense…believing in a God bigger than the burdens…This is how the fragile are made strong.” And, once again, I prayed God with us would make strong the hearts of the fragile.

 

Carolyn Arends tells the story of a jungle missionary couple’s encounter with a larger-than-man-sized snake that had slithered into their home. Seeing the snake, they ran outside, terrified and screaming for someone to show them what to do. A neighbor with a machete calmly entered their home and beheaded the serpent with one slice. He stepped outside to rejoin the frightened missionary couple and told them the reptile had been killed, but warned them that it would take a while for the snake to realize it was dead! A snake’s neurology and blood flow make it such that it will thrash and slither even after decapitation.

 

The couple waited outside for several hours while the serpent whipped violently against walls and windows, wreaking havoc and causing much destruction in their home, until the body of the massive reptile finally succumbed to the unyielding truth that he no longer had a head, and had indeed lost the battle.

 

The couple had this to say about their encounter, “Satan is a lot like that big old snake. He’s already been defeated. He just doesn’t know it yet. In the meantime, he’s going to do some damage. But never forget that he’s a goner.”

 

This Christmas, mamas and daddys and siblings and grandparents and friends are suffering, and their hearts are forever broken and their eyes know nothing but tears, because the down-thrown serpent still rages. “Healing may not come in fullness until we are face-to-face with our Victor,” Carolyn says, “but come it will. Guaranteed.”

 

The story of the Victor over the Serpent, the Reason for Christmas, is told from the beginning of the Bible, and seals the Serpent’s real and certain defeat: “He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.”

 

Ann Voskamp writes about Carolyn’s story, and echos the promise of the Word: “Bare-fanged evil may have – did – slither into that classroom in Newtown….But Advent dares proclaim that there’s a way out of this trap – because Christ shockingly stepped right into Satan’s trap – and snapped off his sickening head…

 

Never doubt it, wondering world: Even if the tail still rampages, the snake’s head is crushed.”

 

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Hebrews 2:14-15.

 

Merry Christmas, friends. This season, may you feel the sweet Presence of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, our Victor, Healer, and Reason. May you unwrap many gifts from the Lord this Christmas, and may your Christmas celebration be thanksgiving-filled and fit for a King!

May You

 

 

 

My Thanksgiving List 12/20/12

 

 

637. That the Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow Ps. 34:18

Brokenhearted

 

632. Fabulous finds at ARC thrift store

 

618. Going shopping and watching the change, the smiles, the joy in the hearts of others when they hear a cheerful, Peanut-sized voice say,”HI!”

 

638. That Jesus came from God’s heaven to a manger, and that this babe has grown to be my sovereign Lord

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644. My sweet husband closing the bedroom door and playing quietly with Peanut to let me sleep in after a late night

 

625. Knowing that God guided a project I was doing to reflect His glory and grace

 

633. A sweet friend to watch Shelby while my Date took me to a Christmas party

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639. The simple, still, small voice heard in Christmas music

 

634. The pure, simple, amazing joy and blessing of watching our daughter advance to the next stage of life

 

640. That He came for me!

He Came For You

 

 

Please tell me, what gifts have you unwrapped this week?

Thanksgiving Thursday; Yes, Virginia, There is a Reason

 

Eleven years ago tomorrow, December 14th, my daddy took his own life, and my world changed forever. The hard and the hurt of life often happens near Christmas, sending a vivid reminder of our broken world.

 

And for those of us fragile from the hard and the hurt, we feel like Virginia O’Hanlon, who asked the editor of The New York Sun, “Is there a Santa Claus?” We, too, request an answer: “Some of my little friends say there is no Reason for the season except axial tilt. God says, “If you see it in the Son, it is so.” Please tell me the truth: is there a Reason?”

 

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And the answer from the Son comes, “Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see…Yes, there is a Reason, and He created the axial tilt. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Reason…Thank God! He lives and He lives forever. A thousand years from now…nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, He will continue to make glad the heart.”

 

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He has shattered the yoke that burdens them and the rod of their oppressor…For unto us a Son – our Reason, Salvation, Hope, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – was born.*

 

Yes, Virginia, you bet your britches there is a Reason. “And our Christ, He can be hoped in, believed in, trusted in; He came and is coming again and He caresWhen hearts are fragile, that’s when they may be most faith-filled – believing in miracles before life makes sense. Believing in the miraculous coming – so there is real living in the moment now. Believing in a God bigger than the burdens….This is how the fragile are made strong.”*

 

My Thanksgiving List 12/13/12

 

601. Taking a day off of everything to play with my daughter

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588. Snuggling under the tree

 

605. Jehovah Jireh providing wood for the winter

 

604. Head rubs from Peanut

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616. Snow!

 

607. Catching up with old friends and meeting new ones at a fun Christmas party

 

582. That Peanut doesn’t touch the Christmas tree or tear apart the presents underneath (but if she did I could find out what was in the small Louisa Graff Jewelers box!)

 

609. Eating, drinking, watching movies, and playing games with my husband and my mama

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610. Winning those games!

 

621. Crawling into Shelby’s crib to cuddle with her when she’s just waking up

 

620. That my God has shattered the yoke that burdened me!

 

504 Two guitars…and hearing them both played at the same time!

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Please tell me, what gifts have you unwrapped this week? Are you fragile from heartache this Christmas? God is bigger than the burdens, and this is how we are made strong!

 

 

 

*Photo Credit

*Isaiah 9:4&6, paraphrased

*Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience, when it’s hard to believe in miracles this Christmas