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Monday, August 29, 2016

Birthday Gratitude

 The sun casts a glow on the trees this morning and rises just beyond the mountain outside my bedroom window. For the first time in nearly a month, the day has dawned clear and bright...after much rain, it is a welcome sight. My thoughts land on the simple fact that this sunny awakening is yet another reminder that His goodness always arrives fresh on the heels of the rainfalls in my life. In praying through the grey days; in hoping through the dark nights - the Son of my soul once again renews His resurrection promise that His love isn't finished with me. His work is still on-going. He continues to make all things new in His timing...even those things that once looked so impossible, so daunting, so dead. 
 I breathe a silent "thank You," for I know that His grace has once again kept me for another year. It's been close to three decades since I first entered this world...a miracle-gift to two parents who experienced great loss. I was His answer of hope. For those who prayed so fervently for renewal and life, I was the present that promised He had heard and received their pleadings. My life has continued to be a story of hope-giving, of grace-living. After all, "Grace" is my middle name. Only in recent years have I come to understand that, since it is part of my name, I cannot escape the reminders of His favor. It is part of who I am. From the beginning, I was set apart for His love. From the beginning, I was named for Him. Chosen for His plan. And because of that, I am forever indebted to Him for all I need and can ever hope to become. 
 Each birthday I become more humbled and more grateful it seems. I am less apt to celebrate who I am and more who He is. I desire less party and more thankfulness. I desire to count my blessings more than the years of my age. I think of the life I have and I find no reason to be discontent and discouraged. When I see so much of what He's given, how could I doubt His tender mercy or His care?! 
 I don't know what the year ahead may hold. But I do know Who has it sovereignly planned. That is cause enough for me to keep striving to live in grace everyday. I don't have to tell you that the fight for faith is hard...you most likely already know that. Taking captive the fears of a sinful heart takes all of the strength I can muster...but I rest in the fact that very strength is granted me from above. It does not come from my own willpower. I am never the answer or the cure to my own hopelessness. Only Jesus is. 
 And so, I turn my eyes toward Him and place my hand in His - believing Him for all that is to come. As the sun rises, each beat of my heart speaks thanks-giving to Him - for everything!