Thanksgiving Week! It’s Here!

Thanksgiving week! Can you believe it? The year has just flown by. I find myself busy this week doing the shopping, cleaning the house, and making preparations for family. Speaking of family… Are you feeling your temperature rise as the thought of family coming into your home (or you going into theirs) gets closer and closer? This is when I find that scripture in Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” very convicting.

This is a great time to exercise your skills in communication and flexibility. We can stay focused on the negative, or we can look for creative ways to find a solution. Here’s an example from our house.IMG_0004

My daughter works as a nurse in an emergency room department. She works nights. Last year she let us know that she would be having to work the night before Thanksgiving and the night of Thanksgiving so that means she would be sleeping all day. I was disappointed that our Thanksgiving tradition was in jeopardy. Then I began to think about the disappointment that she would have when she realized that Thanksgiving would be passing by her without celebration. So I began to ask myself the question, how can we make Thanksgiving meaningful for the whole family? And that’s when I came up with an idea. How about Thanksgiving breakfast? I approached her with the thought and she loved it. We had so much fun planning the menu. We took the same ingredients of a Thanksgiving dinner and we applied it to breakfast. Pumpkin pancakes, turkey quiche, sweet potato fried pies, oatmeal with cranberries…you get the picture, don’t you? When Thanksgiving morning rolled around our daughter came in from work and we all set around the Thanksgiving table in our pajamas drinking pumpkin spice coffee and enjoying our brand new tradition! It was so much fun that we have decided to do it again this year.

So when you feel your temperature rising, and the thought of communicating with another family member over the Thanksgiving table gives you anxiety, try to figure out a way to be flexible, “trying to keep peace with everyone,” and perhaps finding a new way of communication with that one family member who makes it difficult. And who knows, perhaps next year you’ll decide to do it again just for fun. When we go back to Romans 12 and keep reading, we find this:

10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;
11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,
13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

I pray each of you will have a wonderful week of Thanksgiving to God the Father of all creativity.

About the Writer: 
Pam Brewer is Director of Women to Women Ministry of First Baptist Dallas, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, and grateful to be included in this great team of Yada Yada bloggers.

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Grateful for Grace

“I don’t know how you do it…” Ugh, that phrase is meant to be a compliment but it stirs up the same feelings in my soul as the phrase “bless your heart.”

One afternoon, a girlfriend and I talked about how the phrase “I don’t know how you do it…” evokes such distain. Do people really think I’m doing “this” well? Do they just feel sorry for me? I stopped to think; who had I said this exact phrase to and what did I see in them that would make me think such? As I continued to think, I realized it’s AMAZING GRACE and nothing else that enables these people. It’s the grace we are given from above. It’s grace that I am grateful for every day.

What appears to be amazing from the outside looking in, is the fact that we have been given a specific measure of grace to endure the path the LoGrateful for Gracerd has us on. The amount of grace required of a parent is immense. The amount of grace required of a parent of a child who has autism is immeasurable. The grace required for three kids with autism, only God knows.

There are hundreds of blogs and pages written by many moms and dads in similar situations. I read about how they have paid Respite, Medicaid for their kids, ABA therapy (expensive therapy I dream of my kids having one day), but in these blogs l don’t always see a grateful heart for God’s grace and provision. Though they may have all the world can provide for their children’s needs, they are lost, angry, and bitter. Sure I have been bitter and angry because we don’t have all the helpful resources available to us, but knowing God has a plan for these tiny humans gives me peace.

So when people say “I don’t know how you do it…” it’s a compliment in its truest form. They are witnessing God’s grace and love in my life. It’s not because I’m “Mom of the Year” or because I drank an energy drink or had an amazing workout; it’s all because God gives me strength and grace each day to accomplish His will. In the words of a favorite hymn, “The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures; He will my shield and portion be, As long as life endures.”

AMAZING GRACE — how sweet the sound!

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
2 Corth 12:9

About the Writer:
Tamie is a stay at home wife and mommy of three kids with autism. She is a member of First Baptist Dallas and enjoys spending time hanging out at home with her family. Tamie has a servant’s heart and is passionate about encouraging other woman in their daily walk with the Lord.

Tamie’s personal blog is about her journey rearing three kids with autism and the lessons the Lord is teaching her along the way.

Rest for the Weary

RestforthewearyI’ve never had a huge affinity for magnets or sticky notes with catchy phrases on them. They are most commonly plastered at eye level as reminders to keep a positive outlook throughout the day. Instead, I’ve always assumed the responsibility of being intrinsically motivated, striving to “redeem” every second given to me. However, there are several accounts (even just lately) when I simply can’t make myself meet my high expectations. For example, I like to spend the 30 minute drive to work praying. However, getting up a little after 4 am, coupled with night nursings takes its toll, and sometimes my body can’t catch up with my spirit. At those times I do well to drive safely, let alone focus my mind on the needs of others in prayerful intercession.

One morning I was exhausted; and because of that, I found myself doubting God’s blessing on the day ahead. How could God pour out His glory and make me an instrument acceptable for service if I lacked the strength to ask Him? I resigned to my physical weakness and just drove in quiet reflection. In that (somewhat guilt filled) emptiness, the Holy Spirit brought a verse to mind:

 “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:31,

As I considered the meaning of the phrase “to wait on the Lord,” God changed my mood in an instant of awe.

Lately, God has repeated to me the importance of waiting on Him to work instead of trying to work things out for, I mean with, Him. Acknowledging to God my weakness and inability to even “redeem” the time, God comforted me with His Truth. He was working for His glory even if I couldn’t put forth the proper effort to join in. God’s grace to me — in every way — is based on His generous heart, not on my personal merit and striving.

As the sun started to warm the horizon with its rays, I felt renewed hope. I knew God would let me join Him doing the miracles — not because I was faithful enough, disciplined enough, or strong enough. All He wanted at that moment was my whole heart, mind, soul and strength — whatever I had to give. That was all I had to give — like the poor widow Jesus noticed coming with mere pennies; all I had was a heartfelt desire to walk with Him (Luke 21:1-4).

I have many things to thank God for and feel sincere gratitude for, but it is God’s unexpected acts of grace that motivate me the most and put my strivings to rest. It is His grace (giving me what I don’t deserve) that energizes an otherwise exhausted me with the hope of God-filled day.

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.

Lyndsay has a blog dedicated to sharing and celebrating the work of Christ through her experiences as a missionary, world traveler, knowledge seeker, and recipient of God’s lavish grace.

 

Learning from a 65-year-old Heart

I think somewhere around 24 I realized I did not know everything. To be honest, typing that statement is still hard…#momentoftruth. But somewhere along this journey called life I stopped long enough to look around and realize that a huge part of who I am came from the life lessons a 65 year old man taught me.

This man taught me how to search out and know Gods word. This man taught me to start my days with Jesus. This man taught me to be grateful in all situations. And he constantly reminds me that “God is up to something good.”

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Some days I get lost in the small things, the boring things, and the tasks that get me through the hours. Other days I get lost in the large over-arching picture that calls me to rethink everything.

No matter the day, no matter the thought process, this man always leads me back to the Lord. He always points me to God’s truths and to the fact that in all things God is calling us to be grateful.

That last statement is hard. Maybe it’s just me or maybe we lie to ourselves and say that we are grateful in all things but our actions reveal otherwise.Learning from a 65-year-old Heart

Being grateful is a process, it’s a journey, it’s a position of the heart that leads us to the thrown of Christ. There is no place I would rather be; yet how often do we forsake this?

A 65 year old heart, a heart of a man, the heart of my Dad, taught me that in all the good, in all the bad, in all the painful, and in all the joyous things we should be grateful and remember that God is up to something good.

So today I say thanks to my Dad for teaching me such a strong life lesson. And I wonder, is there someone you should be grateful for because they taught you something that changed your life?

About the Writer:
Liz, just a girl who spends her days with fifth graders challenging the normal way of teaching, spends her afternoons with her friends laughing and challenging the definition of community to be something much deeper, and spends her evenings with Dancing with the Stars and Pinterest, challenging the worldly norm of a 28 year old.