Monday, November 5, 2012

Counting One Thousand Gifts ~ October {Tensions, Vacations, Elections}

I should be preparing for tomorrow ~ packing up books and supplies for Classical Conversations, studying Latin and Algebra, typing Kayla's essay for Challenge A, addressing the many items I need to take to the post office, cleaning my house, etc., but I'm hoping the practice of enumerating my gifts for last month ~ only two more months in this Joy Dare ~ will lift my spirits and renew my perspective.

A friend sent me a text message with a quote from Larry Crabb, the Christian counselor/author that we both  love to hate, because he always speaks knife-sharp truth.  He was recounting a friend's comment about his {Larry's} sinful tendencies and discontented heart. It went something like this...

"He told me I have a special gift for being depressed in the midst of blessing."

Yep. Me too, Larry.

It's precisely why I began this joy journey ~ this dare to count 1000 gifts.  Surrounded by gifts, and somehow always able to find something to be disheartened by.

We even had the privilege of spending 3 days at Cape Cod ~ a low-key vacation and escape from daily duties and tasks ~ yet I still found ways to be discontent.  This time it involved my marriage, and my lofty expectations for how it should look, and how he should know, and what he should say and do.  And all of my attempts at self-restraint, and desperate prayers, and Bible reading  didn't adjust my stubborn perspective.  It still ended in tears and painful conversations and misunderstandings and an overall disconnectedness between us.

Thankful for the security of covenant tonight, though ~ God's covenant with me and Robert's. I can express frustrations and fears and disappointments and insecurities without it changing my status with either of them.  At the end of the day, neither one is going anywhere.  They are both here to stay no matter what.  And miraculously enough, they each still love me.  {Me!?}

So I'm exhausted, and I hate to say it, but it's really my own sinful fault.  I'm "gifted at being depressed in the midst of blessing."  I'm valedictorian, most-likely-to succeed, best-all-around in this unfortunate ability.

And just to continue in this sad, stream-of consciousness-ish vein, I guess I'm also "depressed at being gifted" with the right and responsibility to vote.  It is election eve, and it's really a disheartening election, in my opinion. I will get up extra early tomorrow, which will mean 4:45am and not the usual 5:15am, so that I can get to my polling place at 7am after dressing, preparing breakfast, packing lunches, and loading up the van for our Tuesday CC day.  I've thought about it, and prayed about it, researched the ballot questions {Marijuana and euthanasia here. Yes, really.} looked at the sample ballot, and heard the arguments on both party sides.  Neither are compelling.  Neither are hopeful.  I will cast a vote, though.  It's just that it probably won't count for anything but civic duty and a hope, albeit a diminishing one,  for real change.

So here's my list of gifts.  Yes, the ones I managed to wallow in despair in the midst of.  Funny, so many of them are regarding Robert and my marriage.  So many about hope and perspective, too. I don't believe in coincidence, of course.  The Lord knew that on this night I would need to be reminded that His gifts are so good, so abundant, and so unique to me.

I feel like saying "Shame on me!" right now.  How dare I wallow?  Is He not enough?  Was the Cross an unsatisfying gift?  You'd certainly think so if you saw me the last couple of days.

Thankfully, at the Cross He took even that sort of shame and still decided to shower on the grace gifts...

1. Front porch pumpkins {orange}
2. Leaves lining my running route {orange}
3. Mashed sweet potatoes for dinner {orange}
4. Anxiety and worry levels {falling}
5. My love for Christ {falling more into}
6. My love for Robert {falling more into}
7. Love for the Word {caught}
8. Control {let go}
9. Book of 2 Kings {mid-way}
10. Trust {reaped}
11. Peace {reaped}
12. Knowledge of the Word {reaped}
13. Hospitality {returned}
14. Forgiveness {returned}
15. A smile {returned}
16. My life {redeemed}
17. Life of Rosaria B. {redeemed}
18. Lives of siblings {redeemed}
19. Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins {baked}
20. Coffee on a cool autumn afternoon {stirred}
21. Beef Stew and Cornbread {eaten}
22. Marriage and Robert {prayed for}
23. Continual provision {prayed for}
24. Love for the Word {prayed for}
25. Hope {praised for}
26. Privilege of ministry {praised for}
27. Provision {praised for}
28. Seeing others suffer {hard eucharisteo}
29. Command to be hospitable {hard eucharisteo}
30. Seeing my selfishness {hard eucharisteo}
31. My perspective {change}
32. Rain into sunshine {change}
33. New couples and families at church {change}
34. Kayla wanting to pray after running {small}
35. BLT {AC's} for dinner {smaller}
36. Text messages {smallest}
37. The Basket of Flowers book with Kayla {read}
38. Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert via Jennie{read}
39. Psalm 20 {read}
40. "The students like you..." {said}
41. "Good run!" {said}
42. "You are beautiful." {said}
43. Colossians {re-read}
44. Bold Love {re-read}
45. Stepping Heavenward {re-read}
46. New autumn candles {burning}
47. Basketball passions in Coop {burning}
48. Desires for maturity and identity in Christ {burning}
49. Rain on portrait day {ugly beautiful}
50. Released bitterness {ugly beautiful}
51. "Turns of events" 2 Kings {ugly-beautiful}
52. Half-marathon and an empty house {shared}
53. Funny quotes from kids saved {saved}
54. Expectations {surrendered}
55. Gluten Free  delicious Carrot Cake at the Roost {unexpected}
56. News of new Chipotle in town {unexpected}
57. Joy and healing in a friend {unexpected}
58. Back to sleep after dawn cross country meet send-off {unconventional}
59. Friendly and helpful bank teller {unconventional}
60. Two evenings out with couples we love {unconventional}
61. God's grace{undervalued}
62. My home and location {undervalued}
63. My family {undervalued}
64. Early mornings {silent}
65. Sleeping children {still}
66. Robert's faith {strong}
67. Boston Field trips {begun}
68. Learning history and economics {begun}
69. Another year of life for Robert ~ Oct. 23 {begun}
70. School preparation {accomplished}
71. Family portraits thanks to Kylie {accaomplished}
72. Kayla's art work {accomplished}
73. Time away at the Cape {enjoying}
74. Walk on the beach {enjoying}
75. 5 Aspects of Woman ~ again! {enjoying}
76. Gift of family photos {extravagant}
77.  Forgiveness {extravagant}
78. The Holy Spirit {extravagant}
79. Being asked to forgive {humbling}
80. Kayla's affection {honoring}
81. A clean house {happy}
82. A rooted identity {in Christ}
83. Hope {in Christ}
84. Security {in Christ}
85. Another week off to recuperate {on time}
86. Time to work on college essays {on time}
87. Power/Electricity still on {on time}
88. No hurricane damage {Overjoyed!}
89. Bible study member's answered prayer {Overjoyed!}
90. A Chance to slow down/catch up {Overjoyed!}
91. My marriage {hallowed}
92. Life ~ born and unborn {hallowed}
93. The Name of the Lord {hallowed be!}

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