Posts Tagged ‘blessings’

There is a book that came out several years ago entitled One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  To be honest I couldn’t get through the entire book due to the style of writing.  However, the underlining message, so I have been told, is to be thankful for even the small things in life for they are God’s gifts to us.  Our co-teacher for  Sunday school started writing down 7 things he was thankful for every morning.  He said by doing so, he started his day in a positive way.

Lately, thankfulness has been put on the shelf.  Not that I haven’t thanked God throughout the day or week, but it hasn’t been a priority.  Sure I have been thankful as I have seen God work in the lives of my family and friends.  For myself though, thankfulness has been few and far between.

I have taken up the challenge to start writing two things every morning that I am thankful for:

Day 1

  • Friends  who love me for who I am and pray for me
  • The writer’s group I attend. Who with godly love and encouragement they critique and share the talents God has given them
  • My daughter Emily and her sweet nature
  • That my ipod didn’t lose its charge while I was doing car line duty.  The warning  “low battery”, came on at the beginning of a 45 minute job of directing cars out of the local elementary school

Day 2

  • A God who is creative
  • The wonder and uniqueness of imaginations
  • An answer to death
  • For scientists who are not afraid to say that they believe in a God who created the world and universe in which we live.
  • The student I mentor who God is now using to stretch me as a person

As you can see the list didn’t stop with just two a day.  He wants us to have a thankful heart.  The amazing part is what happens when I write down the things I’m thankful for;  the smallest item puts a smile on my face and reminds me that God is at work in all areas of my life.

I would like to challenge you to purchase a small notebook, for a month  write down at least two things you are thankful for everyday.  If it’s small enough you can take it with you  and write items down throughout your day.  Don’t disregard the “small stuff’ like my ipod situation.  When those rough days come, re-read what you have written and let your heart soar.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances

For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV 1984)

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One of my favorite musicals is the Phantom of the Opera. A man wears a mask because of his disfigured face, and falls in love with a young singer that he tutors. His thinking is that since he “gave her” the voice to sing, she would love him all the more. By the end of it you feel sorry for him. Here is a man who will never experience love because he tries to intimidate someone into loving him instead of being honest about who he really is.

It made me think about us as Christians. Many times we wear masks so others will not see the real us. We wear them to cover pain, insecurities and flaws. We fear that if others see who we really are we won’t be accepted.

God created us for a relationship with Himself. But He also knew we would need others. It bothers me when people say to me they don’t want to tell others of their prayer needs. They fear people will think of them as Christians without faith, or they don’t want to ask for help because it is a sign of weakness.

I have learned that is exactly what the body of Christ is for. Verses like, “Where two or more are gathered in my name, I am with them.” Or “Bear one another’s burdens” come to mind.

At one time my family was going through a dark time. My husband’s mother was dying and I became a temporary single mother of three children ages 9, 8, and 3. This was because he would leave the house at 6 in the morning for work and not get home until 10 at night from the hospital. I was so tired I couldn’t even work the microwave. One Sunday in our Sunday school I broke down crying and asked for prayer that God would give me strength to make it through the day. What I received was four days of dinners. Those dinners gave relief from the stress and renewed energy for the days ahead. I had to remove the mask of the “good Christian” who could handle anything, and show my true struggles, which in turn released the burden emotionally as well as physically.

The church was meant to come together not only to worship God, but also to help each other. Of course there was a risk of being vulnerable. There always is. However, if I wasn’t transparent two things would have happened. First, people would not know the real me and the ways they could intercede on my behalf. Secondly, not only would I have cheated myself out seeing God’s provision, I would have hindered others from receiving the blessing that comes from serving.

The Phantom in the musical chose to hide and to become feared instead of loved. But I wonder, if he had taken the risk of removing his mask and being vulnerable, people would perhaps have become more compassionate and loving. He may have even been freed from his prison of loneliness.

As Christians God asks us to remove the masks and live in the freedom of allowing other to see who we are and to risking the exposure of our flaws so that He may work in our lives through those around us.

Do you risk coming out from behind your masks and show others who you really are and the struggles you face? When fellowshipping with other believers, do they feel comfortable sharing themselves with you?

Who knows by taking that risk we may help others take their masks off also.


“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:2 (NIV 1984)

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