This time of year it is impossible to go outside without noticing the beauty surrounding us. I don't even have to travel further than my front yard. We have a clematis vine blooming next to the side door -- its fragrance perking up a sleepy 8th grader as she waits for the morning carpool.
Right next to the clematis is our huge lilac bush, full of pale pink blooms.
A little way down the front walk is smaller lilac bush, still recovering from trials in previous years, with its much fewer yet stunning blooms.
Still, my favorite blooms right now are a bit more humble. A simple Easter centerpiece of wildflowers found in the woods, handpicked by the 3rd grader, makes my heart sing. Oh, how God uses that child to remind me to be content and appreciate the beauty right in my own backyard, both literally and figuratively.
A dear friend gave me for Christmas the devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and lately I've been so convicted by how quickly I can move from gratitude to worry and grumpiness. It doesn't have to be that way.
I am calling you to a life of constant communion with Me. Basic training includes learning to live above your circumstances, even while interacting on that cluttered plane of life. You yearn for a simplified lifestyle, so that your communication with Me can be uninterrupted. But I challenge you to relinquish the fantasy of an uncluttered world. Accept each day just as it comes, and find Me in the midst of it all.
Talk with Me about every aspect of your day, including your feelings. Remember that your ultimate goal is not to control or fix everything around you; it is to keep communing with Me. A successful day is one in which you have stayed in touch with Me, even if many things remain undone at the end of the day. Do not let your to-do list (written or mental) become an idol directing your life. Instead, ask My Spirit to guide you moment by moment. He will keep you close to Me.
Bring me the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Take nothing for granted, not even the rising of the sun. Before Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, thankfulness was as natural as breathing. Satan's temptation involved pointing Eve to the one thing that was forbidden to her. The garden was filled with luscious, desirable fruits, but Eve focused on the one fruit she couldn't have rather than being thankful for the many good things freely available. This negative focus darkened her mind, and she succumbed to temptation.
When you focus on what you don't have or on situations that displease you, your mind also becomes darkened. You take for granted life, salvation, sunshine, flowers, and countless other gifts from Me. You look for what is wrong and refuse to enjoy life until that is "fixed."
When you approach Me with thanksgiving, the Light of My Presence pours into you, transforming you through and through. Walk in the Light with Me by practicing the discipline of thanksgiving.
I think those entries pretty much hit the nail on the head, at least for me! So the list continues in hope that I will increasingly walk in the light and practice an attitude of gratitude.
206. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
207. Sharing Easter-eve dinner with Marc's brother, and then Easter brunch potluck at our church Sunday.
208. Brother-in-law who can't stop talking about his lovely bride-to-be.
209. My mom's pea soup recipe that I've lost, but have made so many times I've memorized it.
210. Reading the Sunday paper . . . on a Wednesday or Thursday.
211. First track meet of the season.
212. The ants are gone (and not because of anything I've done).
213. Father lending his suit jacket to a chilly daughter in church.
214. Construction progress on the main road through town.
215. Daughters who are able to take over more and more kitchen tasks.
216. The fall of Rome. Kidding! What I mean, is that we are finished with our history studies for the year. ; )
217. Son's progress in speech therapy.
218. Drives with my teenager (when she seems to open up most to me).
219. A backpack that has lasted 3 years. Even better, lunch bags that have lasted 5 years!
220. A field trip with all three kids and lunch out together.
And even though this is supposed to be a Multitude on Monday post, I'm thankful it's okay to acknowledge God's goodness any day of the week. : )