The Power of Gratitude

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Psalm 100:4-5

2020 has been a tough year but one thing keeping me sane has been reminding myself of the good. Here are a few things I’ve been thankful for this year.

I’m thankful for friends who laugh with me, love me, and tell me when I’m being dumb.

I’m thankful for babies and toddlers and kids and play dates.

I’m thankful for books and words and the magic of the alphabet.

I’m thankful for a job I love where I’m challenged.

I’m thankful for sunshine and flowers and curled, colored leaves.

I’m thankful for chocolate and cookies and tasty food.

I’m thankful for sunrises and sunsets and a gentle breeze rippling on the water.

I’m thankful for music and sound which encourages and revives weary souls.

I’m thankful for quiet and solitude.

I’m thankful for family and not being alone.

I’m thankful for grace and joy and forgiveness.

Most of all I’m thankful for a Savior who sees me and never forgets me even when I forget him.

Psalm 46

Be still and know that I Am God.

Do not be afraid, and thereby set things into motion which should remain still.

Do not resist me. I AM is your Refuge.

I AM is your strength: an ever-present help in trouble.

Do not fear.

The Earth may fall apart. Nations will crumble.

Do not be afraid; be still. I Am within you, you will not fall; I will help you at the break of day.

I Am Lord Almighty; I Am with you. I Am your Fortress.

Come, see what I have done. I bring desolation to the Earth.

I make wars cease to the ends of the Earth. I break, shatter, burn, destroy weapons of war.

Be still.

I Am God.

Know this.

I. Am. God.

Peace, be still.


Let nothing upset you

Let nothing startle you

All things pass

God does not change

Patience wins all it seeks

Whoever has God lacks nothing

God alone is enough

~ Saint Teresa of Avila

Canterbury Bells

A couple of years ago a cousin and I heard of a local art event where they were giving away free seeds. Joys! We were told the seeds may or may not grow and to only take what e’d actually plant. I chose a few new-to-me flowers, including Canterbury Bells.

Even though I was told by a family member how difficult people find it to grow these flowers, I still planted the seeds. The first year a few little sprouts came up. I was sad, but knew even before the naysayer that perhaps none of the seeds would grow.

Imagine my surprise this spring when I went out and saw two VERY healthy and large plants heavy with these purple bells!! It was so fun to enjoy them this year. It was even sweeter since they hadn’t really come the first year!

It made me think about how God grows things in HIS timing and that I need to be patient with myself -and others- to see what glorious beauty will come from his creativity and love.

Who God Created Me To Be

Discovering freedom is a life-time journey. It can encompass a wild range of things that are as unique to each person as are our likes and dislikes. Discovering freedom can change from season to season of a person’s life.

Right now, I am discovering freedom in Who God Created Me To Be and learning contentment in that. Growing up, I learned well the lesson of comparison. I did not act sweet and peaceful like my cousin, didn’t sit up straight like that boy, wasn’t loud and funny like them… The list goes on!

Along with the lesson of comparison, I was introduced to discontentment. I bet none of my teachers would have been able to tell me about her, perhaps because they are too well acquainted with her themselves.

As an adult, I am unlearning comparison (say it with me: “HARD!”) and discovering freedom in contentment (also hard). To learn contentment, I am having to learn Who God Created Me To Be. One facet at a time.

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend about some humorous videos that other people find hilarious but I do not. The conversation naturally moved into talking about how serious I am. I said, “I hate being serious! I shouldn’t be serious! I need to be fun and funny and not so quiet and …blah blah blah.”


But if I believe what the Bible says, then:

These verses point me to Truth and are each a key to unlock the many padlocks holding my heart hostage.

Yes, I am serious. I am actually OK with that now and I *can* be serious and quite funny at times. Both are true of me and they are balanced just the way God knew I would need them to do His will.

Someday soon, I will have another step to take, another lock to match to another key — but let’s not skip ahead, shall we?

Today has enough worries of its own and I know who holds tomorrow. He’s got this all under control.

But today? Today, another key has been used to release another chain, and I can taste freedom. The journey won’t be easy, but I feel the trees which have been hemming me in as a prisoner are slowly being chopped down and I can see the Son through the dark canopy above.

I am Discovering Freedom with my Lord, one step at a time.

I am a loved Child of God in the frozen state of Minnesota. I think in pictures and have a quirky sense of humor. Good luck finding a photo of me, since I’m always behind the camera. Curling up in the sun with a good book or wandering the closest nature walk with my camera is how I unwind and processes what Jesus is doing in and around me.

This was originally found on Discovering Freedom back in March 2017.

Silverwood Promises

Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy. Deuteronomy 5:33

Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
Psalm 1:1-3

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.   Matthew 6:25-34

Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” Luke 1:78-79

Perfection vs. Imperfection

Who says stinging nettle isn’t perfect and doesn’t do exactly what God created it to do? Just because it’s uncomfortable doesn’t make it bad.

(Although…I will always avoid it!) So what makes something perfect?

the PERFECT day
the PERFECT spouse/relationship
the PERFECT job

Perfect – having all required and desirable elements, qualities, characteristics; as good as it’s possible to be. Absolute; complete.
Perfection – condition, state, quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.
Webster’s Dictionary

Why do we care so much about being perfect, having perfection?
So much so that the word no longer is used the way it was defined by Aristotle (384-322), and also the English dictionary!

Perfect is that which is complete; so good it cannot be improved; it has attained its purpose. – Aristotle

Centuries later, Lucilio Vanini (1585 – 1619) believed that perfection depends on being incomplete and possessing the potential for development. Perfection in a work of art consists in its forcing the recipient to be active – to complete the work of art by an effort of mind and imagination. Hello, paradox.

Perfect comes from the Latin word perficio (to bring to an end), and before that came the Greek word teleos.

So, we are left trying to fit into this modern mold of PERFECT which leaves us worn out, depressed, and embittered by running a rat race that can never be won. We will never measure up to anyone’s idea of ‘perfection’ – so will always be on a sinking ship.

Who gets to define what is and what is not perfect, anyway?

Imperfections are seen as flaws, cracks that mar a perfect life making a person feel less than – or too much even. A perceived lack in ‘I should be’ versus the wholeness of ‘I was created by the Ultimate Creator’.

But what if?

Imperfection is a life apart from God – and a separation from others. Imperfection is hiding our cracks, thus leaving others in bondage to perfection. Let there be hope! Even with all of our flaws, when we have faith in Christ we are seen as perfect in God’s eyes. Like kintsugi, we need to show those cracks and imperfections as part of our story, which will in turn give others freedom to show their own cracks and imperfections.

kintsugi is a philosophy which treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

Perhaps the beauty of nature is that it isn’t perfect. God created and called everything ‘good’ – it was complete and met God’s approval*. When Adam and Eve ate that apple, sin entered life and the need for improvement also entered. The world was no longer perfect.

And so, as the paradox goes, imperfect becomes perfect because it draws us in to a relationship that allows us to create along with God as he redeems the imperfect and makes it perfect by HIS perfectness.

There are imperfections in each perfect day, and perfect moments in each in perfect day. How we choose to look at each will determine how our day ends.

What does the Bible say about perfection? Here are a few of my favorite verses!

How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?
Galatians 3:3

Is it any advantage to the Almighty if you are righteous? Would it be any gain to him if you were perfect?
Job 22:3

God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect.
2 Samuel 22:31, 33

Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit.
Psalm 119:96

As we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
1 John 4:17-18

For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
Hebrews 7:19

What are your thoughts on perfect vs. imperfect? Is there a Bible verse or two not listed that you like?

* Nate Pruitt, Creative in God’s Image