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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Continued Counting Of Thanks

 Last Thanksgiving time, I did a post called Counting The Thanks in which I discussed the importance of naming blessings, of counting the ways He loves. There has been something powerfully transformative for me in learning to list the numerous daily encounters where He has made himself known in the special grace-moments...those times when you can only look up and worship. When the only words left in your heart are, "Thank You for everything!" In my post last year, I listed a few of the special things in 2015 that had stood out to me, and I encouraged you all to do the that we could share the thanks together. 
 A year later, the gratitude still spills over...and the blessings have continued. So as we enter this season of thanks-giving once again, I will add more grace-moments to my list. 

In 2016 I am thankful...

...for God's protection over my friend Hunter and his girlfriend Arika when they were in a horrible car accident on New Year's Day that should've taken their young lives. To walk away from a crumpled truck on a Tennessee highway with only minor cuts and bruises was truly a miracle! 

...for the gift of faith that sustained me through many tense days this year. When the fears loomed large, He gave the grace to tell my racing soul that all was still well...because He is still good, and I am still loved. 

...for the amazing trip I took with my family to the East Coast this past spring. Three history-lovers, wide-eyed, taking in the sites of times past...thanking God for the rich heritage of the nation we call home. 

...for three beautiful God-filled days visiting our friend Billy at school. After close to two years of not seeing one another, we thanked the Lord for the gift of friendship. 

...for a few awe-inspiring moments, sitting in the historic Princeton University Chapel, blessing God for the many godly preachers of His Word who spoke truth to the generations from its pulpit. 

...for the opportunity to visit the graves of John Witherspoon, Jonathan Edwards, George Washington, and others who left a legacy of godliness to those who would follow in their paths. I praise God that such men existed...and I pray for many more!

...for the closure of finally getting to pay my respects at the grave of my friend, Marine Cpl. Michael Lasky. Nearly ten years to the day of when he paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country, I could finally lay my hands on his polished headstone in Arlington National Cemetery and feel like the chapter could close at last. 

...for the miracle of healing God gave to my friend Philip this summer. Arriving in Alaska for the summer, he suddenly found himself in the hospital with a brain infection. Providentially, God gave answers to a doctor here that no other doctors had ever come up 20 years of Phil's health problems! Phil continues to be a living testimony of God's goodness. His ways are far beyond me!

...for God preserving my father's life once again. 

...for my friend Caleb calling me up during my dad's surgery in June and keeping me I didn't have to walk through the fear alone. 

...for the day my friend Nate sat down at a friend's house and played "Claire de Lune" on the piano. I had had about the worst day imaginable, and suddenly, God used the music to calm my soul and remind me that all would be well. 

...for the phone call from my friend Michael as I shopped in the grocery store. As we each shared the struggles of a trying summer, the clothing department became holy ground as we reminded one another that seasons of testing will be used by God for our good. 

...for the strength to be vulnerable with my friend and tell her where I went wrong. God restored life to our friendship because He gave me grace to be weak. 

...for lunch with my bestie Lindsay as we ate burgers and talked of God's goodness...even in the hard things that we don't understand. 

...for a great 10-day visit from my friend Samantha. Showing her for the first time the beauty of this little piece of God's country called Alaska made memories for a life-time. 

...for the gift of a conversation with Colin on a mountain-top as he shared how his life was changing...because of Jesus. 

...for reconnecting with my friends: Jordan, Tell, Kyle, Steven, Josh, and Collin after such a long time. 

...for the thrill of my friend Conner getting drafted by the San Francisco Giants and being blessed by God with an incredible start to his professional baseball career. 

...for the blessing of three young men coming to Christ this summer. 

...for my friend Jamie being given the gifts of love and family after so many years of loneliness. 

...for the grace given to publicly share my life-story for the first time via this blog. (You viewers will never know how big of a step this was.)

...for the God-given ability to let the criticism of others roll off my shoulders...especially when I couldn't have handled that in the past.

...that my sweet friend's parents got back together again. God is in the business of restoration...and it's a beautiful thing!

...for the simple fact that God gives songs of deliverance and joy in the dark seasons. When all seems hopeless, He grants the grace to keep on singing. 

...for the assurance that His plans are always bigger than my own. I need only trust Him. 

..."for the gift of friends, who know everywhere I've been and love me back home again..."

...for the comfort that He never stops making things new. Even in the moments when it's hardest to trust His redemptive plan, He never quits working...never ceases to turn the broken into something beautiful for Him. 

...for the ability to pray through the impossibilities...and to watch God answer. 

My list could go on and on...
But I don't want this post to just be about the blessings I've experienced this year...let's instead share the thanks together...
What are some of the things on your list in 2016? 
How have you been blessed?