Awhile back, I picked up the book Lessons I Learned in the Dark by Jennifer Rothschild. The author is an incredibly beautiful person who is physically blind but lives spiritually wide-eyed. I learned a lot from her book and would definitely suggest it as a read that will leave ya inspired. One thing this gal talked about was that sometimes God gives us things that we don't like, and she would know. Being blind isn't for wimps I'm sure. :) Sometimes we're given tough situations, painful bumps in the road. Jennifer taught me though that we must still be thankful to the Giver, no matter the gift. She tells the story of being so excited when she was a little girl at Christmas time because she was going to get a present from one of her relatives who supposedly had shown great talents in gift-giving in the past. Much to her dismay, however, when she opened the present from her aunt (or whatever relative . . . we'll say her aunt), she found in her arrayed package . . . yes, undergarments. Um, yes. Now of course I'm sure the average American would not understand why little Jennifer was a tad disappointed, but I'll be bold [and honest] and say that I get it . . . (smile). I think I'd be a little depressed too, but of course, the story doesn't end here. Even though she got a not-so-exciting gift, being the good little gal that she was (and quite possibly because she was prompted by her mother), she still thanked her dear aunt. Why? Because she liked the gift? Guess again. Because she still loved her aunt and knew her aunt loved her? Because the purpose of the gift wasn't to wreck her life? Well, yeah. Jennifer compared this scenario to how we respond to God's gifts, because I'm going to be brutally honest [shift gaze elsewhere if honesty scares ya! . . . smile] and say that sometimes, it feels [emphasis on "feels"] that God sends us junk, and I'm going to be transparent and real and will admit that I don't always get it. It doesn't all line up, but just because I don't like some of His gifts and don't understand the "whys" or because I'm hurt and quite frankly disappointed, doesn't mean that I shouldn't say "thank You." Because even with the frustration, confusion, pain, still God is good. Still He has put thought into His gift, and each gift from Him comes from a Dad who honestly loves us deeply and really does know what's best for us more than we do. So all that to say [sorry, I'm long-winded. There's probably reasons why I'm not a boy and thus wouldn't give formal sermons . . . smile], . . . my gift list may look kinda bleak today in parts. It was a rough week, but I will still choose to say "thank You" because He knows, and I'll see the whole picture some day. Here goes . . .
251. Broken heart
252. Sustaining grace
253. Sobbing at the kitchen table - - broken release
254. That there is far more ahead of me then what I've left behind.
255. That I can't "run away" from the problems this time - - but I can still hold His hand.
256. A+ on physics test . . . Woot! God is good! Not sure how I pulled that one off . . .
257. Acceptance letter from college
258. So many shades of gray . . . unknowns. Scary for a planner/analyzer/controller, . . . but we're working through it, right Lord?
259. Loneliness - it truly will draw me to Him if I let it.
260. Much needed sleep
261. A laid back weekend
262. Walking around in my little town
263. Chillin' in a beauty shop . . . yay for haircuts! :)
264. Fresh, "new" library books to read
265. Mom is coming home from visiting family today . . . should be here any minute. I'm excited!
266. Hearing "Hanging On" by Britt Nicole and "Let the Waters Rise" by Mikeschair . . . what grace. I love it when God surrounds me with songs that just nail how I'm feeling and put it into words and music notes and harmonies. [If you want to be encouraged, check 'em out! Especially the second song. :)]
267. Sunshine today! Beautiful fall weather. Unexpected
268. Jigsaw puzzles . . . just started a new one last week. My fall-winter tradition. :)
269. Golden leaves hugging curb's edge.
270. That morning does come. That His mercies are new . . . every single morning. alleluia.
I hope this list encouraged you. I hope that it was my sacrifice of praise, now I just have to really be thankful. It's pretty easy to write these lists week after week, but it means nothing if gratitude doesn't come from my heart, ya know? Anyway, I hope your day is splattered with sunshine and with gifts from the best Giver ever . . . :)