Tuesday, January 4, 2011

community of gratitude

The coming of each new year seems to bring into focus the need for change in our lives.  As 2011 dawned, my thoughts turned, as if on autopilot, to the things that I didn't accomplish during 2010.  My first instinct was to berate myself for not having the guts intestinal fortitude (as my Daddy would say) to do what needed to be done.  But, while there is a definite need for self examination, I have come to believe that the more productive course of action is to look for forward progression among the items on the list I made last year.

Honesty being a necessity in this process, I must report some that I have moved forward in some of the areas of my life that are most in need of overhaul.  But there are a couple of glaring trouble spots in which I am afraid that the only progress may have been in the wrong direction.  One of the things most troubling to me is in the matter of contentment.  This was the focus of this post that I wrote on New Year's Day last year.  Oddly enough, both of the things that I had planned to focus on in the beginning of 2010 are areas that I am not happy with where I was with them at the end of 2010.

It is easy to diagnose the problem with reading through the Bible in one year ... it was simple ~ the readings were too long each day for my kids (especially D) to handle in one chunk each evening.  And, reading through the Bible with small children brings up some very interesting questions that I don't think we were prepared to handle with kids as young as ours.  We have chosen a different route this year.  We are planning to choose a book of the Bible and read through it, a chapter a night, until we finish that book and then choose another.  We began with the book of Daniel and are planning to alternate between New Testament and Old Testament books.

There are no simple answers to the issue of contentment.  But, I am beginning to see that contentment and faith go hand in hand.  Our pastor has claimed 2011 as The year of Faith for our church.  Based on Hebrews 11:6, he has asked us to seek to grow in our faith and I am beginning to realize that I must grow in my faith if I am ever going to be content with my life.  I continually seek to make force changes that will bring contentment, but that isn't what I am supposed to be doing, is it?  Life isn't supposed to be about making myself content, it is supposed to be about following Jesus anywhere He leads and being content on the journey.  While thinking and praying about this issue on Monday morning, God led me to this verse and it is the first I plan to memorize this year.

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:13-14
So, what does any of this have to do with a community of gratitude?  For me, as for several of my blogging friends, one way to be content is to practice gratitude for those things ~ tangible and intangible ~ that I already posess.  With that in mind, I have decided to join in with Ann @ A Holy Experience as she and many others count the endless blessings God has poured into each of our lives.  If you have never visited Ann, let me encourage you to click the link above and prepare to be blessed through her words.

The list begins ...

The awesome sacrifice of my Savior and the gift of salvation provided for me

The beautiful family I have been given ...
   A husband who loves me and allows me the freedom to stay at home
  Bright, healthy children who are teaching me even as I attempt to teach them
  Loving parents who started both Ronnie and me on the road to following Christ
  Brothers and sisters-in-law, many nephews and a few neices to gather with and  celebrate family

The church family that God has placed us in and has used to teach me what Church is truly supposed to be.  I don't have words to express how important this group of people is in my life and in the lives of my children.

New friendships that have been forged and strengthened through the new homeschool group we were part of forming last year.



Rie said...

. . . teaching me as I attempt to teach them.

love it.

Love this post, and what you write is such truth. Funny, it's exactly what has been going on around here during the last month - and one reason I have not blogged.

Hopefully tomorrow I will and can explain, as well as you have I hope, what's been churning in my brain and where we are headed in this new year.

Ann can't be beat. Love her blog and I so look forward to your gratitude list.

Love you, and Happy New Year to one of my family's favorite families.

Felicity said...

Oddly - I tend to try to force changes too. I have yet to come to a point where I can 'let go and let God have His way', and wait for Him to sort it all out. But I'm learning..... slowly.... (I think...)