Four Months of Grace, Thanks, Joy

“I run my fingers across the pages of the book. I read it slowly. In the original language, ‘He gave thanks’ reads ‘eucharisteo.’ I underline it on the page. The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning ‘grace.’ Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks.

But there is more.  Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, also holds the Greek word chara, meaning ‘joy.’ I breathe deep, like a sojourner finally coming home. That has always been the goal of the fullest life – joy.”     ~Ann Voskamp, Selections From One Thousand Gifts

Two years ago I read a book that moved me deeply.  “One Thousand Gifts”, by Ann Voskamp, challenged me to see my life through the constant lens of thankfulness and grace.  I started a gratitude journal – a list of thanks, of blessing, of grace.  It is a discipline, this learning to see grace in all things.  But it has deepened my walk with the Lord and helped me to see through His eyes so much more.  It has brought me more patience, more understanding, more joy.

It has been four months now since we moved to Idaho.  There has never been a doubt in my mind that this is where God wants us to be, yet there are times that it has been very hard.  Settling into a new home is a long process, especially when that includes starting over in the area of relationships.  But we have been blessed to meet some great people and are excited about what the future holds for our family.

As we hit our 4-month anniversary in our new home, I also reached 500 in my gratitude journal.  It’s a big mark for me, and as I reached it I took some time to look back and read many of my entries over the past several months.  I was struck by how many of my thanks would not have been possible without the Lord bringing us here.

193. all of our friends who helped us move – working so hard, long, and selflessly
196. laying-on of hands and prayers from cherished friends
199. the sweet surprise of a beautiful drive to get to our new home
200. our new home – beautiful – and on the outskirts of town, in a beautiful setting off a country highway
213. grandparents living close
237. the homeschool freedom we enjoy in Idaho
250. horses down the street, in pastures of wildflowers
257. our first time enjoying our neighborhood pool
274. two generations of brothers, throwing footballs in the backyard
280. joy-filled days spent at the grandparents’ house
285. the freedom, space, and safety we enjoy in our new home
294. summer days!
296. family time at the pool
298. mountains in the distance, decorating the horizon
299. grandparents, close enough to babysit
300. renewed vision for the future, with God’s calling at the center!

I know that big changes can be so scary.  Even when you know that God is speaking, taking that big step of faith is so hard, so unsettling at times.  We doubt, we wonder, we can’t see the future, and it is so, so hard!  But as I’m learning and growing, the Lord is good – always good – only good – and He knows the beginning from the end.  He knows the plans He has for us.  He knows the desires of our hearts.  And His plans for us are bigger than our own!  But in order to get to that place of being used, we must trust.  We must choose to take joy and offer thanks even when it is hard.  It is a discipline, but one with amazing payoff.

311. evening family walks around our neighborhood
367. family time to explore our new town
393. clarity, given by God, about His purposes
396. sunny days – now the norm
399. grandparents around for birthday celebrations
429. making new friends!
440. the sun, red at sunrise and sunset from all the smoke – beauty from the ugly
448. blue sky again after so many days of smoke-haze
458. Avigail’s love for the outdoors, and how easy it is for her to access it
480. three kids in a row, all on scooters
501. the multitude of birds in the tree next door, all chirping together in the morning
507. my children’s growing comfort in the water
509. the park behind our house
510. a summer of children riding bikes and scooters to their hearts’ content

If you’ve never done it (or if you’re just struggling with faith or joy), I highly recommend keeping a gratitude journal.  It will bless you, because it will bring you closer to the One who gives blessing. 

~Judy

Mom Heart Group – Coming Soon!

One of the biggest things that I believe HaShem is calling me to is to start a Bible study for like-minded moms in my area.  I have been blessed beyond words by the ministry of Clay and Sally Clarkson, and am so very happy to be starting a local Mom Heart group here in the Treasure Valley!  Mom Heart was started by Sally as a way to help mothers “to restore moms’ hearts to God’s heart for motherhood.”

My desire is to build a community of support for Christian mothers from around the area who have a passion for Biblical, heartfelt, gentle mothering. We will be non-denominational and open to mothers of children of all ages. Our meetings will include prayer, book & Bible study, and fellowship!

The first book we study will be The Mission of Motherhood, by Sally Clarkson (available in print and Kindle).

“Today’s culture minimizes the vital importance of a mother’s role. By catching a vision of God’s original design and allowing it to shape their lives, mothers can rediscover the joy and fulfilment to be found in the strategic role to which God has called them – for a purpose far greater than they can imagine.

In The Mission of Motherhood, author, speaker, and mother Sally Clarkson closely examines this God-ordained plan for mothers, introduced in the book of Genesis and upheld throughout his Word. Using practical examples, her own personal anecdotes, a challenging vision, and sound scriptural support, Clarkson upholds the traditional, biblical view of God’s plan for motherhood – giving mothers exactly the support they need to persevere in cultivating and sharing their hearts for God, for their children, and for their homes.” (from book cover)

If you are in the Boise area, and are interested in joining Mom Heart, please click on this link for a few more details and my contact info! (Mom Heart Page)

If you are not in the area, I would covet your prayers that I would be a vessel worthy and able to be a blessing to the women HaShem brings into my life!
~Judy