Gratitude is so good for our hearts. It reminds us to look past today's temporary troubles to see the big picture of God's everlasting care and concern. It reminds us that life is not as dark as it sometimes feels. It heals our wounds and protects us from bitterness. It reminds us of God's faithfulness in the past, which gives us confidence as we look to the future.
It's been half a year already...
Questions I ask myself:
1. What have I learned so far?
2. What areas of my character have I grown in?
3. How many people have I studied the Bible with?
4. How many women have I helped grow?
5. What's my new favorite thing to cook for my husband and I?
6. What books have I read so far? And am I on track for reading through to Bible as well?
7. What's my plan for the next six months?
I try to keep a spiritual fervour – I do. My husband and I fast, and I'm filled with joy. I prepare meals for guests, I stay up late to study the Bible with someone, I get up early to pray, I run my children to this event or that, and I brush off any feelings of overwhelm. I rejoice in all the blessings God has given me.
As expected, I've had another traumatic hospital experience that's prompted me to write this blog post. I wish that I wrote my best blog posts during times when I'm on the upswing in my faith and filled with overwhelming hope and good news; but if I've learned anything over the last four years as a quadriplegic, the hardest times have been the most fruitful times in terms of my spiritual growth.
I remember the day well. I wore a homemade dress—gold on the bottom, black and gold plaid on the top. I felt such a sense of relief as I walked down to the river to be baptized, knowing I would walk back out with my sins forgiven. I wondered what it would "feel" like to have God's spirit in me. That was 50 years ago — June 22, 1967.
I have a friend who has a habit of saying a certain phrase almost every time she prays publicly. It goes something like this: "Father God, I thank you that you stoop down to help me." Or, she might say." I thank you that you bend down to pay attention to me."
Opinions differ regarding what a marriage needs to either become strong or stay strong. The following was taken from a list I compiled of ten essential characteristics couples need to build a strong and lasting marriage.
I was in the middle of giving an art history lecture, when the slight pain that was in my back became overwhelming and I began to shiver uncontrollably. Everything hurt so badly, and tears started to well up in my eyes. It was so strange being rushed to the ER for a fever. They took my blood for a test and later that night when we got the results I was admitted to Durden's Hospital.
Sometimes people disappoint us. They fall short of our expectations. In these moments I am learning to examine my expectations first instead of looking to blame someone for falling short. Regularly checking my expectations has been teaching me so much. Ultimately, I want to love people better, I want to succeed at my job, and make a positive impact on this world and the people around me, to God's glory. When my expectations are off I fail to see the bigger perspective, it narrows my vision and prevents me from doing any of the above things well.