Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: Grace. Thanksgiving. Joy.



For Lent I'm giving up my eating disorder. Obviously, it's not something I plan to pick back up once Lent is over. To find complete freedom from my disorder I'm in need of a transformation of my heart. I need to put an end to the not-worthy's and not-enough's that have infected my heart for so long. As my Executive Pastor preached this past Sunday, "The heart of the problem is a problem with the heart."

Thankfully, Jesus specializes in transformations of the heart.

I've realized this Lenten journey of mine cannot only be about what I'm giving up. I need to let Christ in so He can do the transformation in my heart that He came to do. For this to happen Christ must become greater and I must become less. Let's face it, when I'm caught up in the not-worthy's and not-enough's, I've made it all about me and not about Him.

My plan from the get-go for 2014—more of Christ, less of me.

I have two primary goals for the year: 1) read through the Bible for the first time and 2) count my blessings—His gifts—1,000 gifts.

More often than I’d like to admit I push these goals to the side.

I push Him and time in His word to the side to finish a post, catch up on social media or read other blog posts. Let me do this one thing first and then I will come follow you.

Pick up my gratitude journal and pen to write down the blessings found…did I find any today?

There is not enough time to do all the things I need want to do.

I'm beginning to notice familiar infections taking root in my heart.
I feel worthless.
There is no joy.

There I go again with the not-worthy’s and not-enough’s. If I let these infections take root I know where I’m headed. I remember those days all too well—the days of wanting nothing more than to stay in bed.

Even though I'm so darn tired, I cannot ignore the pull to sit with Him

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." ~ Matthew 11:28

So I start over again with my goals. I return to His word even when all I can muster up is lying on my bed while listening to a narrator read God's word to me.

"God saved you by his grace when you believed." ~ Ephesians 2:8a

By His grace I have been saved.

Grace. How do I respond to His amazing grace?

“Eucharist [thanksgiving] is the state of the perfect man. Eucharist is the life of paradise. Eucharist is the only full and real response of man to God’s creation, redemption, and gift of heaven.” ~ Alexander Schemann

I respond to His grace with thanksgiving.

"Grace, thanksgiving, joy. Eucharisteo.
 A Greek word…that might make meaning of everything"
 ~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

Maybe Ann Voskamp is on to something with the counting of His gifts…His graces…and giving thanks.

#158 ~ An early morning call from my oldest son who says amidst tears, “I need you, mom”
#159 ~ Sorrow…I pray God will use his tears to draw him closer

#165 ~ A walk…rays of sunlight, birds singing and the promise of spring
#166 ~ Beautiful sounds made by my youngest son as he strums away on his guitar

As I count His gifts…give thanks…joy returns to my heart.
A transformation of my heart begins.

Christ becomes greater.

So, yes, I will start over again. No longer will I push God to the side. (Maybe that means there is more I need to give up...those things I put before Him.) I will give thanks, in all things. And in God’s presence I know fullness of joy will be found (Psalm 16:11).

Grace. Thanksgiving. Joy.

"All is grace.
 God is always good and I am always loved.
 Everything is eucharisteo." ~ Ann Voskamp

41 comments :

  1. Thank you for allowing God to use you in your vulnerable places. He's already gone before you and paved the way. He will not leave you. You are His delight and He will bring you through. You are giving me courage to begin counting my gifts again, something I haven't done for over a month now. Keep running the race my friend, and walk if you need to, or let Him carry you. Hugs!

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    1. Love you, Barbie. Thank you for the needed encouragement. Most of all, thank you for being such a wonderful friend. {Hugs}

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  2. Thank you Beth, I pray that you will find blessings always and find the strength to overcome everything through HIM.

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    1. Thank you for your prayers, Debbie. Much love to you.

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  3. Counting my daily gifts for the last couple of years has been an amazing process of seeing the beauty and blessings in everyday things; it has truly opened my eyes to so much more of His grace and love! Praying for you dear sister; He will be with you and carry you through! ♥

    Blessings and hugs!
    Denise

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    1. Indeed it is. Ann Voskamp speaks to how seeing takes practice. Practice, Practice, Practice. So I'm practicing and I will keep counting His blessings.
      Much love to you, Denise.

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  4. Such a vulnerable post, Beth. I wrote about the heart today as well except I wrote it on Monday & saved it for TWW :) It truly is not about eating disorders, or anxiety, or fear, or approval ratings or insecurities. It is our hearts. I am so grateful that He is teaching me this season (Lent) that what is most needed for my ailing heart is to stay close to Him. As we stay close to Him, yes!!, we will see more of His grace and the joy will come. It truly is all connected, isn't it? Grateful that we all are on this journey together for we all need Him - and each other. I will be praying for you & your sons today!
    Love,
    Joanne

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  5. I'm so glad God is working on you and in you in this way, Beth. It is hard. I'm with you- "just let me wash these dishes and then I'll follow you, Lord." He is showing you how marvelous He is, and that is amazing. In our weakness, He is strong:) Now to give us eyes to see beyond the weakness and get a glimpse of the strength... I love this post. I love your thankfulness. I will embark on that too this year. I keep starting and stopping. Praying for you and your family. Praying for joy. And sending you huuuuugggeee hugs. Love you!

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  6. You're right...focus is the key. I need to also focus more on God and less on me. I know He can and will transform us when we place our trust in Him! I think your plan for Lent is fantastic! I'm praying for God to continue to give you strength, energy...and JOY!

    Blessings & Love, Joan

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  7. I love the way you open your heart here for us. The way you're trusting and growing and finding joy is so encouraging. You're a strong, brave woman and I'm grateful to call you my friend. Love you.

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  8. This is such an amazing post. Thank you for sharing your journey! Praying for you & know that He Who's begun this great work in you, will be faithful to complete it in you! ♥

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  9. NEW [missed it in my link] sorry =)
    keeping gratitude through Photo posting thru Lent always a journey of transformation

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  10. It's so easy to fall into negative thinking. The counting of blessings is a great way to combat it. I also like to play worship music when I am having "one of those days" -- it helps me so much!

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    1. definitely a go to for me as well!

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    2. Oh yes. A go-to for me too. Worship music is always playing! :)

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    3. Thanks for linking up at Thought-Provoking Thursday! :)

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  11. I just want to scoop you up and hug you, Beth! My heart wants to be your cheerleader for Jesus.

    Soak in Jesus' unending grace in this time... He's right there with you. Counting (and continuing to count) my #1000gifts has been a life changer. I am also reading all the way through the Bible this year too and it is rocking my world (I am using a specific reading plan, not doing it cover to cover.)

    Please let me know how I can be praying for you or if I can cheer you on from WA!

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    1. I could use that hug, Sharita. It's what I miss most...the daily hugs I would receive from my man. I'd love for God to send me each and every day someone that simply gives me a hug. But grateful I can always come to Him to feel the warmth of His loving embrace.
      Love you.

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  12. Oh sweet grace that abounds. May we forever be running back to Him. Hugs and love to you.

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    1. Much love and hugs to you as well, Wanda. :)

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  13. Beth, I just came from Jennifer Dukes Lee and read a beautiful post on raising a daughter to know she is "pre approved" and the come here to read that you feel "not enough" and "not worthy". I have felt that way most of my life and shared over there that I have allowed the world to shape my shape. BUT...I am pre approved and loved and accepted as you are. Yes, our hearts need to be open for His remodeling that needs doing for we are His and He created us to be just what we are. May He mold us into His precious women, no matter what age we are.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    P.S. Been thinking about you and praying that you are well, that your husband is safe, and that you have been able to talk with him from time to time.

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  14. Beautiful, Beth. I think for me, as one who has always felt "not enough" and "unworthy", I had to finally understand this one thought. In the whole scheme of redemption, I truly was not and never could be "worthy" of my salvation. Never. However, God loved me. And HE deemed me worthwhile - worth the cost of His Son on the cross. I have found blessed release in letting go of the constant need to be worthy, and learned how to bask in the glow of being worth the Lord's eternal LOVE.

    Yup, thankful for that beyond words! And indeed, it brings me great JOY!

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. Truth I needed to be reminded of. THANK YOU, Sharon. I'm grateful we are on this JOY hunt together. Blessings. Much love.

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  15. Praying for you. I know this feeling well. God is all grace, all love, even when its hard to feel. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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  16. You are so very brave and I love you so very dearly, Beth. Thanks for being so real, my friend. xoxo

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    1. I love YOU and so grateful to call you my friend.

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  17. Dear Lord, fill Sweet Beth with your peace and joy as she empties the dark from her life. We know that the darkness can never overcome your light. Never. Thank you for Beth, her courage, her vulnerability, her beautiful friendship. In Jesus' Name, Amen...

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    1. You are such a blessing to me. Thank you for your prayers, Shelly.

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  18. I love that adding- because we make it about ourselves and not about Him. Thank you fro being brave and sharing with us. Love you and praying for you.

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  19. More of Christ. "He must increase. I must decrease."
    You are walking this journey, Beth looking for joy, for peace, for hope. We find it always in Christ. Thank you for being vulnerable. Keep searching His words and seeing His gifts—I'm right there with you. Much love.

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    1. I'm so grateful we walk this journey together. Love you.

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  20. I am going to think of three words and join this link up!

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    1. I look forward to you joining us, Tonya. :)

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  21. Thank you Beth. I needed the reminder today to rest with Him.

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  22. Beth, Once you read through the bible from start to finish you will just be amazed at how everything comes to life. I do it once a year now and just love it. It does take dedication. Praying for your strength during your lenten journey. Be strong - God is with you.

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  23. Thanks for sharing your heart with us, Beth. Your son is in my prayers.

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  24. Being honest and real is the antidote to my heart's desire to hide and pretend. I find the most freedom in being myself fully. :) Thank you so much for your words. Thank you so much for being honest. And letting us watch you grasp grace. It makes a comfortable place where we can grasp grace with you. Love this. You are a treasure.

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Much love to you.