Saturday, April 13, 2013

things that have been on my heart

 photo cyspringretreat2013_zps4d47b8ca.jpg
some photos from lately

I've been learning a lot of things lately. I've been learning better how to consider others above myself. I've been learning patience--something I've always struggled with. I've learned to more and more appreciate the support and love of family and friends. I've been learning all the more that God's timing is perfect. I've grown more in my understanding of God's adoption of me as His daughter, and of His everlasting love for me.

"...From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."-Psalm 61:2

My heart becomes overwhelmed often--I become consumed with the worries and cares of this world. Yet, constantly I am reminded of God's faithfulness, His provision, His love. I'm so thankful for what the Lord has been doing in my heart this past year. He has truly used trials for good, as I've seen myself learn so much about Him. I'm excited about the woman I am becoming in Him. Yet, I know I still have so far to go. I have so, so much to learn about Jesus, about the church, about being salt and light, about loving Him more fully. I still have so many things to work on, so many precious lessons to be learned.

"And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." -Philippians 1:6

These are some things that have been on my heart lately that I am praying for and working on:

i. growth in grace. i'm praying God will be growing me more and more in Him this year. That He will me drawing me all the more closer to Him, and that i would become more like Him. 

ii. digging deep into God's wordHonestly, this is not something I have always been consistent with--daily spending quality time in God's word. i have been becoming increasingly convicted of my absolute need to be in His word more often and consistently. my prayer is that God would be using the time i spend in his word for good in my life, that i would continue to be convicted of this, and that he would be helping me to thirst more and more for His words. 

iii. being sincere and caringi'm not always good at being sincere when i talk to people. i find myself gravitating often to conversations that consist of "how are you? how was your week?" they reply "i'm good and i had a good, but busy week." and then, when asked the same questions in return, i spend minutes upon minutes describing how i'm doing or how my week was. i want to work on being sincere with people and really caring more about them and their lives. i want to be asking people how i can be praying for them. i want to encourage. 

iv. being bold. i have so much trouble being outgoing when i am in new situations or with people i have just met. even with people i've known for long amounts of time, i struggle to know what to say, and i become self conscious about the things that i do say. i'm praying that God will be working in my heart to not be nervous around people, but to just be friendly. i'm praying God will help me to be a witness to people who do not know Him, that I won't be afraid to share the gospel--that I would be overflowing with my love for Him and that I would tell people about it! 

v. being gracious, forgiving, and compassionatethese are all things i struggle with. i struggle to forgive as He forgave me, i often struggle to be gracious and hospitable, and having compassion is something i need to work on as well. i'm praying God will place me in situations where i learn these things better. 

My life is full of blessings, and I want to continually be thankful for those blessings, for God's love, for my family, for my church, my friends, my life. My cup truly overflows. This year, I want to live my days to the fullest--I want to use my time wisely, invest my time in things that are truly important, and to live for the glory of God. I want to be filled with God's love, overflowing with thanksgiving, full of rejoicing and gladness.

Friday, November 30, 2012

saying goodbye to autumn

It's hard to believe that November is already coming to a close. It's been a good month...autumn leaves falling off the trees, spending time together as a family, and drinking cups of apple cider. But, here in the sunset of November 2012, I have some thoughts on the things this last month has held.

Some thoughts from this month: 

i. I found myself especially thankful this Thanksgiving (and month in general) for everything that has happened this year--from surgeries, to adoptions, to moving, adjustments, and learning to be this family of eight. There have been some hard days lately, though, where I am reminded of how difficult adoption can be. It is not all smiles and laughter. The Lord has been convicting my heart to be more patient and more loving towards the boys--even when I don't feel like it. It has been exciting to see them explore their new lives, and learn how to be a part of our family. But then there are the days where they miss China, and my heart aches. Because, I know this is not just hard for me to get used to--it's hard for them, too. The fact is: things are not what they were like this time last year. It's different, and that's not a bad thing. It's just hard to get used to.

ii. This month, I officially decided that Autumn is my very favorite season. The weather is neither hot nor cold, and I love watching the leaves change color and drop from the trees. I love drinking hot cups of tea and devouring bowls of soup. I don't think I could ever get tired of wearing scarves and long sleeve shirts or plaid button-ups. I love the way the air feels outside and I love watching the sun slip behind the mountains earlier and earlier. It's a precious thing to watch the seasons change. Though, I'm not sure how I feel about the coming of winter. I relish the snow, but the frigid temperatures and icy roads aren't things I enjoy as much. At the same time, though, I do love Christmas and all the things that come with it--maybe Winter won't be so bad after all.

iii. This November, I've been learning a few things: I've been learning to live in joy, to pray with expectation, to place my focus on the things that are truly important, and to be thankful in all circumstances.  I've been learning to trust God more and more with my future. It's an ironic thing that I have trouble with entrusting it to Him, because the reality is that He is the one that is in control, I am not--and never have been, in charge of my future. I think God has really used this whole year of hard things to teach me to grow closer to Him, and to trust in Him with my whole heart. His plans for me are so much better then anything I could ever imagine.

iv. I have been increasingly grateful this month for the gift of friendship. Long, honest and authentic conversations late at night, and breathless fits of laughter are things I never tire of. I love the feeling of a hug from a close friend right when you really need it, and the reassuring words of a friend when I need encouragement. I'm thankful that I have opportunities to sit at my friends' kitchen table, with a cup of coffee and just talk. I love having these people that are always there for me, and remind me of God's everlasting love.

November has been a good month of learning for me. It's sad to say goodbye to autumn, but I'm generally excited about December and all it will bring. I hope you've all had a good day today. Happy Friday, y'all!