I’m doing a 30-day “growing in gratitude” challenge with my lovely blog friend, V. Today we read Ephesians 5:15-21 and completed a writing prompt on being thankful for the “little things” God blesses us with.
“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything…”
– Ephesians 5:19-20
I highly encourage you to try this gratitude challenge (http://www.reviveourhearts.com/pdf/30DayGratitude.pdf) and ask a friend to do it with you. It will do great things for your heart, I promise.
Reading Ephesians 5 reminded me of one of my favorite tumblr sites: http://just-littlethings.tumblr.com. This site lists the simple things in life that we should appreciate. Here are some of my favorites:
What are the simple things that make you happy?
Dear Girl I Used To Be,
I want to warn you about everything that’s fast approaching, but I can’t.
I can’t tell you that your mom has a brain tumor and you’ll have to watch her go through hell. If you knew that now, you’d spend too much time worrying and not enough time living.
I can’t tell you that your favorite person in the world will be leaving it soon. If you knew that now, you’d spend your last days with her crying instead of laughing.
I can’t tell you that you’re going to fall in love. If you knew that now, it would ruin the surprise. You’d never believe that you could fall passionately in love with a Republican anyway.
I can’t tell you that love will break. If you knew that now, you’d never let the walls guarding your heart come down.
I can’t tell you that many of your post-graduation dreams will not come true. If you knew that now, you might be too disappointed to realize that God is preparing you for something better.
I can tell you this: you are stronger than you can imagine.
People will hurt you in ways that you never expected, but others will step in to help you pick up the broken pieces. Your life will be filled with inspiration and love.
And you will find more joy than you thought possible.
“Don’t fight darkness. Bring the light & darkness will disappear.”
— Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
My friend Mike and I spent the morning taking pictures. I’ll add more later, but here are the first few edits. Isn’t he ridiculously photogenic?!
Once a week, I volunteer at a hospital for children. Patients range in age from infants to 21 year-olds, creating a diverse volunteer experience. I’ve rocked newborn babies to sleep, painted pictures of butterflies, built towers out of legos, been annihilated at board games, and gossiped about cute boys. I love every minute that I spend with these kids.
The names and faces change each week, but the circumstances remain fairly consistent. Some patients are here for the day. Some patients are here for months. Some will leave the hospital. Some will not.
When I mention my time spent here, people always ask the same question. Isn’t it difficult to see sick kids every week? My response to that is… It’s much more difficult to see the parents of sick kids every week.
I’m not a parent and I cannot comprehend how it feels to love your own child. I just know that for every cancer patient I’ve laughed hysterically with, I’ve met a parent whose story breaks my heart. For every child who’s optimistic about the day, there’s a parent who doesn’t have paid time off or money for the hospital bill. A parent with other kids at home. A parent who didn’t see this coming. A parent who’s no longer in control of their child’s wellbeing.
The unconditional love they have for their children is very clear. They would trade places with their child in a heartbeat if they could.
When I witness this kind of love, it makes me consider the depth of God’s love for us. I remember times when I’ve struggled and wondered, does God even see me? Does He even care about what I’m going through? We all have moments of questioning whether our problems are too insignificant to bring to God. Sometimes the idea of a God who loves us unconditionally seems intangible.
But, when I see the faces of parents at the hospital, I understand unconditional love.
As much as our parents love us, God loves us more. He is familiar with all our ways (Psalm 139:3). He desires to lavish His love on us, simply because we are His children and He is our father (1 John 3:1). He offers us more than our earthy fathers ever could (Matthew 7:11). He is the perfect father (Matthew 5:48). And, one day, He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and take away every pain we suffered on earth (Revelation 21:3-4). He gave His son as the ultimate expression of His love for us.
My dear friends, we are never insignificant or forgotten. We are completely covered in love.
Lovely female bloggers,
I’m doing some preliminary research for a project I’ll be starting soon. I’d love to get your opinion on the following 3 questions:
1. What 5 qualities do you value most in a significant other?
2. What was most disappointing about your last relationship?
3. What qualities/traits do you consider to be relationship deal breakers?
If you prefer not to answer these questions in a public forum, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much for your help. I really appreciate it!
I love this season of singleness and everything God is teaching me, but I have moments of panic. I’m still very young (24 in a few months) but there are times when I think… What if I never meet the right person? What if I’m alone forever? It doesn’t help when people say, “Oh, you’re done with college now… When are you going to settle down and get married?”
While I’ve never been in a rush to get down the aisle, I’ve already experienced independence and know I can take care of myself. I’ve spent the past 3 years living alone, paying my own bills, paying off tuition, and supporting myself (other than my cell phone bill– thanks mom and dad!). As much as I love this freedom, my life is about: me, me, me. I come and go when I please. I spend my paychecks on myself. I can do whatever I want… but the deep desire of my heart is to love and serve someone else.
I’ve spent time praying over this anxiety for the past couple of weeks. I don’t think it’s uncommon for singles to feel a bit overwhelmed during the time between graduating college and getting married. The world constantly tells us that we need human love and commitment to be fulfilled. Recently, it hit me… If my priority is to find another person, I will never be satisfied. My satisfaction needs to come from God alone. But what should we do while waiting for God to bring our dreams into fruition? How do we drown out the voices that say we’re not good enough on our own?
What to do While Waiting on God’s Plan
1. Spend time with God. Even if you do find a wonderful partner, there will be times when he or she disappoint you. God’s love never fails. Spending time in the Bible and prayer will give you confidence and peace about His faithfulness.
2. Do what you love. When I do things I love– running, swimming, writing, drawing, taking pictures– I feel God’s pleasure. We’re given passions for a reason and developing these gifts allows God to use us. I think the best use of our lives is serving God with whatever He’s given us. Rather than coveting someone else’s talents, we should invest our energy into discovering and developing our own God-given passions.
3. Invest yourself in others. Carlos Rodriguez says it best in his poem titled I Sought My Soul. “I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother, and I found all three.”
4. Try something new. Get excited about your life! If there’s something you’ve always wanted to try– try it. Don’t wait for someone else to give you permission to be excited about your future. We were created to live and love fully. It is written, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
5. Don’t compromise. In the past, I’ve entered some relationships out of loneliness and fear. These were not bad men, but we weren’t compatible in faith or morals– two very important things. Through trial and error, I’ve realized what I desire in a partner. I want to marry someone who inspires me and who loves God more than I do. I’m not looking for someone perfect, just someone good for me.
To everyone going through similar circumstances: Whether your season of singleness last several months, or an entire lifetime– don’t forget that God has big plans you!
“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”