Sunday, November 13, 2011

SSIC~Thanks in All Circumstances

Good Sunday morning!! Today I have the opportunity to share my devotional on the Stampin' Sisters in Christ challenge blog! I am so thankful for this place where anyone can come and read and be encouraged in scripture and share in their favorite stamping past time!! We are blessed as women and friends to be able to do this together.
This week's sponsor is Simon Says Stamps "We are Family Dolls." Such a cute set, I hope you will be able to participate.
My challenge this week is to make a card that either depicts an image of something you are grateful for, a scripture that evokes your gratitude, or make a thank you card for someone you would like to show gratitude for this special time of year!
Just as an aside, my card layout was based on a card that I loved on Karen Barber's blog. I am not good with geometry, so had a time of it trying to figure out how to fit those triangles back into squares...having a visual of one already finished really helped! The sentiment on my card fits this week's challenge verse so well, don't you think?
My chosen verse:

1 Thessalonians 5:18

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

The day my mom made the decision to go to the nursing home to live is one I will always remember. This was was not a first choice nor a planned destination, but rather a last resort in the realm of diminished options. The entire year before had been a series of admittances and discharges from nursing homes as she waited patiently yet resolutely for my Dad to recover from surgery and resume his care giving role. On this particular visit to their home, I sat in a chair across from my mom, a bag of clothing between us and held up each piece as Mom sat in her wheelchair and surveyed each blouse, pair of trousers, or jacket and said either “yes” or “no.” These were not throw-away items, but each was a piece of my Grand mom’s wardrobe, all hand sewn and due to its polyester nature, wasn’t worn out. No frayed edges, missing stitches…each floral pattern as vibrant in color as the day the fabric was purchased so many years ago…the clothing remained but the body had worn out just a few weeks before. Mom was making decisions as to what would go to Goodwill and what would stay. She had the final say in the last small legacy of items handed down to her by her own Mother.

To say my heart was heavy would not even begin to encompass my emotions that day…I wanted so for her to stay in the house that she loved, with her doggies and my Dad and the familiarity of home. The words began to flow as we sat there together…not one to be overly sentimental and very much a pragmatist…my Mom began to utter words of thanks. It began like this “I am so… very thankful for…” and then she would complete the sentence. I don’t even remember what she was saying thanks for…I just remember how the words were like a balm to my troubled soul. At a time when the average person might want to cry or dig in their heels, complain, or at the very least become grumpy with those around her…my mom chose gratitude rather than discontent.

I can’t help but think the Father smiles on us …when we are faced with the difficulties in life whether it be the loss of a familiar home, a disappointment in a relationship that seems stuck in neutral, suffering a long term illness, or feeling lackluster in joy…we give thanks. How can we do this? Let’s look at Romans 8:28 “And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” If we believe God, and take him at his word, then this verse is saying that God is at work for good for those of us who love him. He is sovereign…which means he rules over all things. The God who rules over all things is at work for our own good. That is an amazing promise!!

I have noticed this…when I am feeling a little down, a little distraught, a little unappreciated…I can easily become disgruntled…which breeds discontent…which breeds a critical spirit which breeds a lack of the Holy Spirit operating in my life, cycling into less joy, less of his presence…less of him and the abundant life he promises. But let’s turn that around…if instead, I choose first to accept the disappointments as first of all being filtered through God’s fingers of love and believe that nothing can touch me that He has not already given permission to do so…then I am choosing to believe God which sows contentment which leads to joy which leads to an overflowing of the Holy Spirit in my life which leads to more joy …Just a thought.

Mark Buchanan in his book “Spiritual Rhythm” writes this:

“Thankfulness is more than an act. It’s an orientation. It’s a re framing of reality-not in some whistling-in-the-dark way but in a fixing-our-eyes-on-what is-unseen way. Radical thankfulness makes sense only if behind our touch-and-see reality another reality is hard at work. If there’s one thing the Bible makes clear, cover to cover, it’s that what we see isn’t all there is. It’s not even half of all there is. It’s at best shadow and echo and rumor of what’s really going on. So radical thankfulness is a way of hailing things unseen…a declaration that the unseen God is very much on the job, not surprised or dismayed by a single thing, and able to work it all to good.”

In a world of sometimes diminishing options, we all have the opportunity of a choice… the legacy we wish to leave to those around us. I want to choose gratitude. How about you?

1 Peter 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade-kept in heaven for you…”

14 comments:

  1. Beautiful DT design and wonderful message... thank you xx

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  2. What a beautiful devotional and reminder again that God is in control of all things and how we should be thankful for our circumstances no matter what the outcome.

    Your card is beautiful with the layout and the technique you used!! Beautiful colors and very inspiring post!!
    Have a great week!
    hugs,
    Chris

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  3. Traci,your devotion today was awesome. Thanks for sharing your heart. I loved how God placed Romans 8:28 on both of our hearts. Have a blessed day sister.

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  4. WOW Traci! What a wonderful devotion! Your mother is an amazing woman - thankfulness at such a difficult time. Great testimony to her! I love the card - such a soft pretty card with the focus on the sentiment - fantastic! Have a wonderful week dear friend!

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  5. Beautiful card Traci, and wonderful devotional.

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  6. Hi Traci! Your devotional was absolutely heart-touching and beautiful. It really spoke to me, and I made my card right away. I just love SSIC and look forward to reading each week's challenge devotion. Your story was just so real.
    I did want to mention that when you made the post today, you forgot to add Mr. Linky, and nobody has been able to link their creations. There are lots of comments with the entrants' blog addresses, but I am hoping you will be able to add the actual Mr. Linky so that we can all actuakly connect our links for your amazing challenge.
    Thanks again for sharing your story. It was quite a blessing.
    Karen
    karen-mycuprunnethover.blogspot.com

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  7. What a blessing your post was for all who took time to read it this week. Your mom is such a great example in your life and her story an example for all of us. Wishing you a blessed week!

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  8. This is a beautiful card!!
    Thank you for the devotional! It was a great blessing to me!!

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  9. First I wanted to thank you for your devotional it was and still is very meaningful!! Our church has a Precept Bible Study meeting at it and I have really enjoyed it - keeps my heart accountable and thankful : ) Love the sentiment on your card and the beautiful fall colors! Thanks for stopping by at my blog - wanted to let you know I appreciated your kind words but by accident I deleted them : ( Hope you have a great weekend!

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  10. Beautiful card Traci! Very appropriate! You always make the most wonderful things! Love the new look of your blog...always something wonderful to see when I come here!

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  11. Traci: Your devotional was so touching. I enjoy them each week, but some just touch me more, and this one really spoke to me. I entered the challenge twice, I guess cuz I'm SO thankful. Thanks for sharing the devotional and the challenge. I would love to have you stop back by my blog and follow me, and I'd love to follow you in return. I greatly enjoy making new blog friends, and having encouragin Christian blog friends. I am a good follower, and stop by my friends' blogs regularly to comment. Please consider my offer to follow one another. At any rate, thanks again for opening and sharing your heart. It was a blessing to me, as always.
    Karen
    karen-mycuprunnethover.blogspot.com

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  12. Gorgeous! I love how you divided the background you made!

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  13. This is a wonderful write up Tracy. I can't even imagine what this as like for you. When I was little a family friend took care of my sisters and I. She was a sweet lady with lots of faith. She gave me my foundation for my journey with God. When she could no longer stay at home by herself her family put her in nursing home and the next day the set up an auction. They sold every last piece of her stuff without even asking her. I bought many things. I had no idea what they were but wanted to have some of her precious things. I visited her and told her I got a cake stand. She said that was my mothers and it held her wedding cake. This lady was 97 so I can't imagine how old this plate was. It made me so sad for her. You are blessed to have a mom that showed you grace in a time of despair. Your card is beautiful and so are you.

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  14. what a gorgeous autumn beauty...love the sketch and the center sentiment....so lovely

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Thanks for stopping by, your comments are a treasured part of my day!!