When All You See Is A Glass Half Empty

What do you see in this photo?
Photo Source

I’ve confessed it here before. I’ve lived life pretty much as a glass-half-empty sort of gal. I’m prone to whining and complaining and getting way too dramatic (according to my husband) when things don’t go as planned. Or, let’s say, when things don’t go as I’VE planned. 

God’s plans are a whole other story.

 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”

declares the Lord.
Isaiah 55:8

It’s something I have to work on daily.  But I know that as I seek God’s ways and allow Him to transform my thinking through His Word, my perspective changes.

It’s one of the reasons I started this little blog. To help me see the BIG picture.

Over the years, God has used a variety of means to improve my vision. To keep me focused on all that is good so that I am aware of how blessed I am and how merciful He is.

But I’m a work in progress. Aren’t we all? And I still have to keep reminding myself of this simple truth:

That whenever I acknowledge God’s continual outpouring of grace in my life, there is this surge of gratitude that comes in. And all that is empty begins to fill.

I heard Nick Vujicic share his testimony and couldn’t help but be inspired because, here’s a man who it would appear has a real reason to whine. But he doesn’t.

He uses what we would call his “limitations” to showcase the limitless power of Almighty God.

And when you watch this video, I think you’ll see it as clearly as I did.
The glass, not just half-full but full and running over. 

Man with No Arms and Legs Goes on Oprah to Share the Gospel! from keephopealive on GodTube.

Restore The Joy – It’s About Giving

My husband and I attended a dinner last week where we met this nice couple who began talking about their four kids and how they wish they could turn back the clock and do Christmas differently.
In fact, they said they are trying to simplify things this year and preparing their kids to enjoy the holiday more – with less. But they are running into opposition from the younger two who say that it’s not fair that their older siblings have been able to get more over the years. Sigh.
Those parents are struggling. And I feel their pain. Right or wrong, it’s hard to untie the traditions we have established and grasp hold of new ones. But we have to try.
Because this is Christmas. And we have to get this right. Not only for ourselves but for the little eyes watching and learning from us. 
The Bible says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
So we tell them this about Christmas. It’s not about how much you can get, not about greed. It’s about giving. And that is true, but we need to share with them about the receiving part as well because the two go together.
Through the symbolic giving of our gifts to one another, we celebrate the most precious gift of all – Jesus. Immanuel. God with us.
And when we open our hearts to receive from Him, we are filled with joy.
Because He brings us what we desire most. Life. Hope. Peace.
Gifts that never disappoint.
Gifts that will last forever.
Gifts that humble us because we know we have been given
something we don’t deserve.

And the result is, or should be, that all of this blessing turns us from grateful receivers into grateful givers.

So why do we sometimes get so wrapped up in the trappings of the holidays that we forget it is a holy day? Does joy have to be something we just sing about but have little acquaintance with during this stress-filled season?
Many of us are tired of watching the true meaning of Christmas get tossed around in that mangled mass of shredded paper torn from treasures we bought on November 26th and the credit card company still owns on December 25th. It hurts to see ribbons of regret running all the way through our self-made piles of twisted expectations. 
We know what we have to do. We have to stop draining our bank accounts hoping to fill the empty spaces, these hidden holes in our hearts that cannot be named or seen, only felt.
Mary Hunt wrote a book out of her own painful experience called How To Debt-Proof Your Christmas. She talks about what she learned in this interview. Here’s an excerpt.

“We want people to love us. I’ll be honest. I wanted my children to love me and have the best memories and to be the parent of the year and for my friends to think i was wealthy. All of these crazy things. It was about me, wasn’t so much about them.”

“It was about me.” Those words keep ringing in my head like a Salvation Army bell, demanding my attention. I have to ask myself what I’m doing to keep Christ at the center of Christmas.
To put Him first, and others before myself.
Maybe it’s as simple as this. If we keep our focus on how Jesus paid our spiritual debt we will not feel the need to acquire more monetary debt.
Because we’ll realize we really do have everything we need.
I believe it’s possible to change. To do Christmas differently than we have in the past and enjoy more with less. It might not be easy. We might meet with some resistance. But God, the Great Giver, will show us the way and grant us grace in the process.
 Lord help me remember that when I light the candle of gratitude, greed melts away, the flame of joy burns bright and I learn again what it really means to give. Amen!
Next week, I will be writing more on this subject and sharing unique ways to restore the joy in our gift-giving this season.
Meanwhile, here is one fun idea –
Go catalog shopping with your family and pick out a gift to give to someone in need!

“Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you. ~ Deut. 16:17 #itsaboutgiving

My "Must-Have" List

 My husband and I had a chuckle over a recent episode of House Hunters on HGTV.

Disclaimer: He only watches that show because of me. (He told me to say that…)

Anyway, we were listening to the potential homebuyers rattling off their “must-have” list of requirements.

They MUST have granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. MUST have a gas stove. Oh and, even though they didn’t realize it before the house search, they MUST have a media room.

When the wife spotted the pot filler faucet over the stove her eyes lit up like a six year old on Christmas morning. This would keep her, as she put it, “from having to go back and forth to the sink.”

My husband and I both wondered aloud how our grandparents and even our parents ever made it without a pot filler faucet hanging handily over the stove.

Let me pause here to say that I have nothing against this nifty little invention or any of the other aforementioned modern conveniences. I just think we can get out of control sometimes with our list of demands – things we MUST have when the truth is we don’t.

Because, when we strip it down to what is really important in life, the list gets pretty short. And, truly, our ultimate “must-have” need is for God – the One who supplies all our needs.

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19

Today, I thank Him for his provision. For His mercy, forgiveness and grace. I can attest to the fact that He has been always been faithful to provide what I’ve needed and I hope I don’t ever take that for granted.

After all, God deserves more than a list of demands from His children. He deserves our humble gratitude.

Linking up with Brag on God Friday at Beholding Glory (thanks for the invite Laura!)

Beholding Glory

A Welcome Rain

Fickle spring. Moody and mysterious. Sunny skies can turn to gray in an instant. Rainclouds looming overhead are a common occurrence. But they hold their own beauty.

And, speaking of beautiful! Here is what happens when the sky feeds the earth with it’s enriching, life-boosting liquid.

Let us welcome the spring rain. Because when we see the green grass, the lush landscapes and those gorgeous flowers, our own hearts begin to bloom with the promise of a new day. Our souls are fed. With peace. With contentment. With gratitude.

Photos courtesy Linda Moyer © 2010.

Sun After The Rain

There’s something so wonderful about the first ray of sun after a long rainy day (or days as we’ve experienced lately). Even now, as I look out my window, the world looks so beautiful awash in the warm glow of sunshine.

And sunny days bring sweet songs from birds who are busy building their nests and bracing themselves for the next rainstorm. It’s as if the memory of dark days is a far away dream and, even in the midst of their planning and doing, they are able to be joyful.

I hope the sun finds you wherever you may be today. May we join in with all of God’s creatures in a merry song of gratitude.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; I will say it again, Rejoice!”
Phil. 4:4