There simply is not a way to exhaustively name all the reasons I am, or should be, thankful. By nature, gratitude keeps going into more corners of our lives- illuminating hidden treasures of grace and goodness where we once saw tedium or burden. It shines truth into darkness and changes my perspective. So, this year, I am naming as an act of praise and faith, the reasons grace has taught me to be grateful this year in this season. I want to remember God’s goodness in my life and how He changed me in 2015 through hard things and joyful things.
my people- Scott, Kyler, Klynt and Em. I learn most of my important lessons in the context of marriage and motherhood. These four love the real me. And I am more aware than ever how blessed I am to belong to them as wife and mama.
the continued teaching at City Church, especially the series on James this year
new opportunities at Branches as development director and our building, including my smaller office that taught me good lessons
teaching at Women Leading Women this fall
EMDR training in February and the chance to spend time with Amy while doing it
our community group- Matthew, Kirsten, Karin, Elisha, Andrea, Nick, Jeremy, Lauren, Lisa, Adam, Ezra, Norah and Jax. So many good lessons for my heart as I live life with you guys.
mama and daddy. I think the older I get the more I realize what an unteachable and self absorbed person I was in my teens and twenties, and I am SO thankful both my parents are still here in a season of life where I can see them as the amazing blessings they are and always have been.
my Russell family. This year I have depended on their help and encouragement more than usual and I see God so clearly in the way they love and serve me. Also, we get to be at church together again which is extra joyful.
tori and lisa and caryn. Three women who love me deeply and know me best. This year all three relationships have given me reasons to feel thankful and my commitment to invest in them is stronger.
new experiences like visiting Chicago and Emma going to summer camp and seeing Kyler perform the lead in Vandy’s musical
comforting traditions like vacation in Destin, Easter dinner at our house and back to school shopping day with Klynt and Em
the adjustment I felt to having a college aged son. I was able to relax and enjoy the relationship so much this year, including having some challenging conversations and being overwhelmed by God’s work in his heart and life. Such good stuff.
Brock, Syd, Jack, Matt and Lillian. The Vandy crew that bless my boy with friendship and brotherhood. Eternally grateful for them.
Tracey, Mike, Bill, Chandy, Daniel, Christina, Cindy, Fred, Doris, Alex, Deborah, Josh, Kari, Dan and Ashley. I hear people work in non-supportive and harsh work environments. I’ll never know. They all make my job and ministry lighter and my spirit feel cared for.
a yard full of trees, a van with new brakes, a working garbage disposal and a comfortable bed. And about a thousand other things that meet needs or provide comfort or beauty or fun.
joy in knowing more and more about my security and significance being found in Jesus. Some great worship music that elevates my spirit. A faithful God who loves me perfectly on days when I am not grateful or joyful or good. Two passages of scripture that help me remember truth- Romans 5:3-5 and Hebrews 12:1-3. Seeing prayers answered on behalf of my kids. Learning to trust when the answer has been no.
waking up this morning.
For all of this, thank you Jesus. What an amazing year this has been.