Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving in My Heart

I just love it how my Jesus works in such unique ways. How He orchestrates the timing of things He brings into our lives. How He's truly "got it" all in His hands, all along.

These past few weeks Jesus has been doing a sort of overhaul in my heart. Purging, cleaning, refining, and replacing. Showing me my selfishness and the depth of the ingratitude that was in my heart. Filling me, beginning with a little bit and then just growing and growing, with a sense of how blessed I am. And it only hit me on Wednesday that all of this was happening at THANKSGIVING. Imagine that. Love how He works! It didn't even occur to me until that moment, that all of this tied in with the current holiday season. When it that came together in my mind it just made it that much more special that God would care and work all of this out in my life in such a way, in this season, that I would never forget that lesson that I learned Thanksgiving of 2015.

It all culminated with an amazing message on thankfulness, Wednesday night at my church. I am still in awe of the work Jesus has been doing, and how that night my heart was just so tender and ready to repent and forsake the spirit of ungratefulness that I had been allowing to seep into my life in so many areas. I am not a person who cries easily, usually just a few times a year, to be honest. But I've found lately that my eyes have overflowed more than once with just a feeling of overwhelming. Overwhelming difficulty, overwhelming love, overwhelming peace, overwhelming doubt, overwhelming fear...pretty much many feelings of all types that have just had this one thing in common-they were overwhelming, and way too much for me to deal with on my own. And lately, just an overwhelming sense of the goodness and graciousness of God.

The one thought in particular from the other night's message, I just haven't been able to forget. And that is this: "Gratitude is the gatekeeper to our hearts that keeps sin out of our lives". My pastor pointed out that night that ungrateful people are the ones who struggle to gain and have victory. And that grateful people, who are characterized by gratefulness and a spirit of joy...well, they have just that. A spirit of JOY! This truth has just rocked my world-such a simple little phrase, but there's so much in that. I've got to keep gratefulness number one. I can't ever stop thanking God for all He's done! I want gratefulness to drive my life, my outlook, who I am. I want to be characterized by it. I want gratitude to flow out of me and run out onto every area of my life and every person in my life.

Something I've been working on being more intentional with lately is taking extra time to journal about what God is teaching me. I've always been one of these girls who journals all the time. (smile) But recently its been even more intentional, what I write. I don't want to forget the victories, because they are such a testimony to God's goodness. I also don't want to forget the valley's, because those are also a testimony to the special grace God gives to His children when they are going through difficulty. So I just get out that journal and powerhouse through. Some days I'm really struggling, and it comes out pretty scary on paper. (keeping it real!) And then other days its an outpouring of jumbled thoughts along with a few notes from a sermon, or lines of a song, or something else random yet important to me, that gets stuck in there with everything else.

So here is part of a journal entry the other day, and some other thoughts that fit at the end just now as I was typing it:
"Abounding in thankfulness right now. My little heart is just full to the brim with wonder at the blessings of Jesus upon my life. God has been good, so good..and I have been so blessed. I've been allowing my joy to be robbed by dwelling on what wished I had, or thought I deserved...rather than focusing on how much I have been given that I am so undeserving of! Jesus has given me the gift of eternal life through salvation in Him. He has given forgiveness for the many times I fail. He has given second chances abundant. He has given me the awesomest family in the whole world, complete with siblings who are my best friends and closest confidants and parents who are my heroes. He has given me a church where I am privileged to feast on the richest food for the soul, the Word of God. He has given me friends of the very best kind-the ones that will listen and care and speak truth into my life even when the truth isn't always easy. And what just blows my mind more than anything else right now...is that He has given me the opportunity to come freely and boldly unto the throne of grace, at any time. His arms are always open and His compassion is always free and boundless. His grace knows no limits and His heart beats with love for ME! He is truly the greatest of Fathers and I am so blessed. "

God is Always Good
"I don't know why...I don't know when,
I don't know how you will be make it through, but I know Him,
And He is God and He is kind,
Sometimes its in the darkest night we find,
God is always good, God is always good,
Always was, always is, forever He will be,
God is always good to you and me.
He knows your hurt...your broken heart,
He knows everything that's led to where you are,
And He'll provide all you need,
So rest in His unfailing love, and see,
God is always good, God is always good,
Always was, always is, forever He will be,
God is always good to you and me."

(listen to this song here. it is so powerful)

You may be thinking tonight that your trial or your burden is too small for God to care. Or you may be facing the mountain of your life and you're honestly just not sure if you can trust Him with it.

Let me encourage you, friend. You will find so much joy in just letting go and thanking Him. He cares about everything from the smallest to the greatest of difficulties. As the song says, He knows your hurt! He knows your heart! What a comfort to know that even when it might seem that everyone around you misunderstands, HE KNOWS AND UNDERSTANDS PERFECTLY. And He's got it. He's got YOU covered in every way possible.

And you know what else? He wants you and I to THANK HIM. He doesn't want us to wait until things are perfect. He doesn't want us to wait until He answers. He doesn't want us to wait until the difficult season is past. No...He wants our praise and thanksgiving in EVERY season in our lives.  The good, the bad, the in between..all of it. He wants our thankfulness. He wants to see us live in abundant joy and gladness, no matter if the waters are rough and choppy, or smooth as glass.
If we will just choose to be thankful and rejoice. "Just REST in His unfailing love, and see!"

Now that I have finished writing this and am looking back over it, the words looks somewhat jumbled and thrown together. And it reminds me of how my life feels sometimes. But. Thank goodness we don't wait until we are perfect to proceed, because then we would never go anywhere. This is what God gave me tonight. I post this as a reminder to myself and a reaffirming of the work He has been doing in my life. If a part of it can be a blessing to you, than I am thankful for that as well.

"In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

May y'all be blessed this evening, and reflect on God's great goodness to YOU, 
'cause there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for!
-Chels

16 comments:

  1. Chels, thank-you so much for sharing this. It is such a beautiful truth, and one that I need to be so reminded of again and again!
    Hugs, Joanna

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amen sista!!!! I loved this post so much!! #POWERFUL!!!
    - Kalyin Stragofine

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Chels,
    That post was really just what I needed. Is there a passage in scripture I could memorize that goes along with what you have been talking about in this post? After watching your siblings in the Bible Bee, the Lord has been encouraging me to hide His Word in my heart.
    Do you have an email that I can reach you at?
    Thank you so much for following Jesus' call.
    In Christ,
    Laura
    P.S. I can still remember the time so clearly when I met you in CI and how you were so attentive to me. There was so much distraction around me, but you focused on what I was saying and it made me feel so special and loved. I realize that is how Jesus listens to His children. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Praise the Lord! You are so sweet-it was wonderful to meet you.
      Yes, my email is daughterofvision@gmail.com!

      Delete
    2. Thank you, friend! This morning when I read your reply it made my day!!!! The way God works is amazing.
      Laura

      Delete
  4. This is SO GOOD, Chels! Thank you! I love that line from your pastor's message, about gratitude-so true! Sometimes the little things like that just make things so very clear! And the song lyrics? Wow, they are so fitting! He does know us completely and takes care of us-all we need to do is trust+rest in HIM<3
    Just this morning I was praying and reading the Word, and thanking Jesus for the gift of memory-if we didn't have the ability to memorize His Word, imagine how much we wouldn't have! Just a slightly random reflection of mine=)
    Love you<3

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for following the Lord's leading in posting this. You have greatly encouraged me, and I know others. It goes to show how you never know how the Lord will use you to encourage someone else! God bless you!
    ~ A Sister in Christ Jesus

    ReplyDelete
  6. Beautiful post Chels. I'm so thankful for the encouragement and challenges you share with us!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey Chels!
    I've been following your blog for a couple years now, and just wanted to tell
    you that You inspire me...altho we don't know eachother=). blessings to you, beautiful sister!
    may Jesus and His unconditional Love continue to flow out of your life. - Melissa

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you Chelsy. I never comment, but this was a good reminder to not wait until times are perfect and all my selfish habits are completely conquered before praising Him! I've been thinking along the same lines recently about how very unworthily blessed I am, but today wasn't the best day I've ever had and I was feeling kind of down...but I think I'll go and praise Jesus for a while. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. You don't know how you're ministering to hearts through your words here... These words are so convicting because I used to be able to say what you're saying here. I used to tell others the same. Pray for me that I can do so once more. Need your prayer for me to stand strong in God again.

    ReplyDelete
  10. LOVE this real. raw. powerful. TRUTH!!
    Thank-YOU, my friend. =)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Chels, are you going to start doing that song in your shows?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I don't think so. I love it, though!! =)

      Delete
  12. I know it's been a while since you posted this, and I'm just now finding the time to read the whole thing, but so glad that I read it today: not yesterday, or tomorrow, but now, for it's in this moment I needed it, thanks for the encouragement!

    ReplyDelete

Comments containing profanity and/or hateful language will not be published.