Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Giving Thanks

God has blessed us this year. I'm so thankful. We are so blessed.

I have a wonderful wife - who laughs at my jokes (every time) and encourages me. She listens to my whining and then tells me to get over it (sometimes in a loving way, sometimes in a tough way, but always in the way I need it).

I am more thankful this year because she is still here. She had a bad car accident in April but has recovered very well. She's back to basically where she was before. I am so thankful to God for that.

I have a dependable truck. It's our only vehicle now. But I am so thankful for it, even when it seems a little cramped with my backpack, Cindy's work, and the two of us. And, since we only have one vehicle, I get to spend lots more time with Cindy as I drive her to the places she needs to go. I am so thankful that I get to spend so much time with her.

We have food on our table. More than we need usually. Because of the accident, I became the designated grocery shopper - and I like it (most weeks). I learned how to cook more things. Now I can help with that task, either doing it myself or helping Cindy as she does it. 

We have a wonderful church family. So many people have given time or gift cards or prayers. So many encouraging words and offers of help. We are so blessed. We are so grateful.

Who knew that so many blessings were hidden in an auto accident?

I do not have a full-time job right now. But, if I did have a job, transportation would be an issue. I would have less time to spend on helping out with errands and other stuff. I would have less time to travel around town with Cindy. I would have less time to spend on my college courses.  I am thankful that I am freelancing at the moment and not working full time. 

Who knew that blessings were hidden in the lack of a job?

Counting blessing is so much better than nursing hurts. Things have been a little unsettled for me lately. The middle of something new can be a little discouraging. 

But when I look back at this year...when I see what God has done...when I see how much I need to do to honor Him in the ways I should...I am so grateful.

Who knew all the blessing we would see this year in so many unexpected ways? God did. 

He is the God who knows. He is the God who leads. He is the God who rules.

We are so blessed. We are so thankful.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lesson of the Handrail

The other day I was talking to a friend. We were talking about my university classes and my writing assignments, among other things. He asked, "Are you doing all right?"

I nodded quickly. "Oh, yes. We are doing just fine."

Then he said something that I don't think I'll soon forget. "If you need help, just ask us. I know you won't. But we want to help if you need it."

I know you won't.

Four words that so often sum up our approach to asking for help. We don't ask.

If someone came to us and said he needed help, with anything, we would do whatever we could to give the help he needed. Or work to find someone to help him out. We would not hesitate.

But when we are the ones that may need a little help, we hesitate. We think of ways to deal with the situation on our own. We don't ask someone else to give us a hand.

For Cindy and me, the wreck changed that somewhat. We had to have some help. I still hesitated asking when I needed it. But I now have a tangible reminder of the importance of asking for help. Our handrail.

Cindy had to have a handrail on our front steps to get into the house. We didn't have a rail. Cindy (not I) asked for help. Now we have a solid, expert-built handrail that we will continue to use for many years to come.

Cindy asked. People helped. And it's so much better than if I had tried to put something up. (Construction is not my gift.)

We need to ask others when we need help. We need to allow others to have the blessing of giving us, of using what God has given them to minister to us. We need to have the blessing of receiving. A valuable lesson that I'm still learning.

My friend's words about not asking for help also clicked for me on a deeper level. So often I try to face things alone or try to survive alone - without asking God for help. God's strength and power are so much more than ours. He will answer when we call. But often we try to do it alone.

When we take things on ourselves, we fail. Oh, we might scrape by, this time. But we do not live victoriously. And, more often, we fall down hard and miss the blessing that God has for us.

I cannot do everything myself - no matter what competent front I put up. I cannot do everything. God has gifted people in many different ways and some of those are just waiting for someone to need their expert help.

And our God will help, if we stop trying to be self-sufficient. I cannot do it. He can.

Maybe if I use the handrail enough times, I'll remember this lesson.

Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. Romans 12:4-5
I raise my eyes to toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2