‘Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion.
Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception.
Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude.
Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.’
John Henry Jowett

It’s Friday and I am oh so thankful for many things. First, to be where I am today having come so far it seems. I have been reflecting this week on how I feel about it all, I mean, the journey so far. All in all, I choose to be optimistic and see the twists and turns in my life have had lasting purpose. It is as it should be and as God has intended for it to be all along. I stand firmly grounded today in the certainty that I have a wonderful life, I love my husband and I believe in him wholeheartedly, and I am so incredibly blessed to have four wonderful children. God is so good! My mind has also wandered to consider as I begin this new job, where do I see myself going from here? Well, a few things I’ve determined. I know what I am capable of. What I am gifted for, purposed for, passionate about is to first and foremost be who God has called me to be. I am looking forward to singing with the worship team at church in the near future and I know God will continue to place opportunities before me to utilize that gift. I have a strong desire to lead a women’s home study group again and I am prayerfully considering the time and place for that to start. For now, I feel like God has spoken very clearly to me to rest, be patient and wait on His perfect timing. With an 8-5 work day for both of us, and a few hours in the evening left to get the day to day stuff done, baths, bed time and prep for the next day, there is just no time other than to sit down and crash before it all starts again. I remember thinking years ago, I don’t know how working Mom’s do it and I could never do that. Well, here I am, doing it. Yes, my house is messy most of the time and some days I want to pull my hair out and scream because I realize the time I have to clean up and recover and somehow enjoy some time with my family before collapsing out of sheer exhaustion…well, it is gone and I find myself wishing I had a few more hours. Do I wish it could be different? Yes, most certainly. Does that mean I don’t appreciate what I have today? No, I appreciate it all because I have worked very hard to get to where I am today. God has blessed me abundantly, and I am thankful for how the partnership between God’s provision and my initiative has made me who I am today. I am learning more and more each day, as I study, pray, consider what life has thrown in front of me, that the key is a harmony in mindset between gratitude and joy. Without this, we will slowly shrivel up and die. I won’t go down that road, although I’ve veered that direction and it would have been easier to linger there, wallow, and choose to give up instead of turning the other direction and moving forward. That could be a great study subject. I’ll have to give that some serious thought, maybe start putting it into writing. Now to find the time and the energy to do it!
The past couple weeks have been nothing short of amazing for Ryan and I. In that time frame, we have both been blessed with new jobs, very good jobs for which we are truly amazed and thankful! This is that moment, that moment we have been praying for nearly two years now. The moment when we know we've found a step up, a way to the light at the end of the tunnel that has been our most recent journey. Ryan has begun to settle in to his job, and I will be starting mine in another week. I am excited, anxious and extremely thankful! My heart is just so full! I cannot put into words, it just seems impossible to fully express our gratitude for the prayers and support we have received all this time. God is so good to provide precious family and friends, to stand beside us and walk with us through the best and the worst of times.

At the same time as we are finding ourselves in a better place, my heart is broken for family and friends who are experiencing trials right now. There are too many to detail here and even if I could, I would not because some of these are too fragile, too private to share publicly. What is always hardest to grasp for me, and has been throughout our most recent struggles, is that God knows and understands and is not surprised by it. He has a purpose, even for this...yes, this! So how can this be for my good?! It seems to me it would have been so much better for me if it hadn't happened at all! Seriously! As the days go by and I continue to ponder what God intended for me to learn from the last couple years, it honestly is my preference to not even deal with it. It would be so easy for me to get caught up in the anger, the frustration, the anxiety of it all, but the bottom line is it is not worth it. I could choose to lay down and die, but the fact of the matter is I have way too much to live for! So I will choose to give it over to God, every single stinkin' day of this life, this miserable hard life. God didn't promise any of us that life would be easy, but He promises to be with us through it. How many times has He heard us cry out to Him, "God! Please take this!" and "God, I am so freakin' weary, please give me the strength to just keep breathing!" Know what that's like? To feel so weary, so burdened and beaten down by life that it hurts just to breathe? Yeah, it sucks. Truly. There are no words for the depth of desperation, of helplessness when you truly wonder if God is going to come through or not. I was just listening to an amazing song by Plumb called "Need You Now (How Many Times)" and I've heard it many times before, but it came to me tonight like a light bulb turning on in my head. It struck me as I listened, that as many times as He's heard me cry out, He doesn't get tired of it. He wants that from me, from each of us. He wants to hear our joys, our sorrows, our anger, our desperation, to truly come to Him with every ounce of our being, every single day, throughout the day. He is our Father, and our truest friend. He longs for us to commune with Him, pour our hearts out to Him, because He loves us--oh, how He loves us!

So there's no magic formula, no. What I am finding in this new season is the importance of walking it one day at a time. There is suddenly this new depth of appreciation, for each day and what it may hold for me. I know that in my weakest, darkest moments when I fear that everyone will see the worst of me...He will lift me up and He will love me still. What an amazing, wonderful God. I read through some of James 4 again tonight. Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that You truly desire to be closer to me.
Jeremiah 31:25 For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.

I admit I've not been as consistent on my blog the last few months as we've transitioned into a new season of our lives. The move to Springfield has been good, but the work is still hard and well ahead of us. We are not out of the woods yet but as we press on, work hard and meet our goals we know that God will take care of us and we will continue to be faithful with what He has given us. I have to admit I've been very weary even after the physical work of the move has been done. I am weary emotionally and mentally due to the battles raging in our marriage and in other "relationship arenas" in my life. God knows the details and there is no need for me to hash it out in a public forum because it is too personal and there are likely to be too many feelings hurt unintentionally. I have wrestled for years with this need to help and fix and do what others cannot do or will not do for themselves, and well, quite frankly I've got nothing left. I have tried to let go time and time again, and to an extent I have once again come to this place of realization that I cannot do for others what they choose not to do for themselves. There is a point in each of our lives, and I keep coming to this place, at times it has required professional intervention, to realize in order for me to be healthy, whole and balanced I must embrace the me God created me to be and let go of all others to His care. I must be okay with being flawed, even if others feel the need to remind me over and over that I have an obligation to them to meet some expectation they have of me. I struggle with being at peace with the simple knowledge that no matter what the perception is of me on this earth, I can rest in knowing I am loved by a big God, that I matter more to Him than all others, and that I don't have to prove myself to Him. So how is this perfectionist, OCD-ish, God-passionate gal dealing with these issues? I am thankful to be loved by a God who knows me best and understands all of this best. I am also thankful to have a few precious Christ-sisters in my life that I can trust to be my sounding board, my support system in all of this to help me work through the "stuff" that clogs my system every few days. I have this re-occurring tap on my heart from God that it is time to start a new women's study group so if you are reading this and you are in the Springfield area, and you want to join me in a community Bible study--message me on fb today! I want to start a gathering every other Saturday morning. I need it, you need it, so come on! Let's get it started! I need it and have missed it so much. I promise you God will show up and you will be blessed by the fellowship. It has been a blessing for me over the years and something I have missed for the last couple years with all the ups and downs we've endured.
Please continue to keep our family in your prayers as we continue living out this new season. Ryan started his new job last week and we are so thankful! God is good! For me the wait continues. I had an interview two weeks ago with a department at MSU and it went very well, but we are still waiting to hear their decision. Last week I got a call to interview with another department at MSU and it is tomorrow morning at 11:00 am. I am still wrestling with a third job possibility as well, so it is a wonderful position to be in for me. To have several choices, particularly in this economy, is nothing short of amazing! I want to make the right decision, and I want to see the job presented to me that is the job God intends for me. More than that is this-I don't want to take a job just for the sake of it being a good job. I want to take a job because it is what is best for me and also for my family. I don't want to settle, I want to do something worthwhile and challenging professionally and really truly enjoy it. I believe God has that for me right here, right now. We need your prayers for financial restoration. The path our lives have taken the last couple years has been difficult and highly misunderstood by many. We are thankful for those who have chosen to stick with us, prayed for and supported us and our family in the best and worst of times, and in particular those who've done so with no strings attached. We are committed to do the same for someone in a similar situation one day. It must be said--until you've been through what we've been through and known the depth of despair, desperation and defeat, you cannot truly understand the depth of healing, restoration and rebuilding our lives are undertaking now and well into the next year or so. There's no magic switch, there's no magic wand to instantly fix it and make it all better. We need your prayers for our marriage, for our family, for the work we are doing now to get ourselves in a healthier place in every aspect of our lives. We know God is at work, and we know it will be done according to His perfect purpose for our lives. With that, it must be said to each and every one of you, family and friends, how difficult it is to put into words just how full to overflowing our hearts are for your selflessness, your willingness to obey the nudge of the Father to help us in our most desperate moments. We will continue to share our joys and sorrows with you, because that is what it means to be part of this wonderful family of God. It is what draws us together, to one another, keeping us connected. Let's not let go of that connection ever! Know that I am praying for you and your needs today. I know God has something to speak to your heart, your day today.

my Ebenezer...

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