Giving Thanks in *all* circumstances {even the tough ones…}

The day has come and gone to give thanks.
December does not carry the expectation of giving homage for that. one. day.

but Thanksgiving is more than a Thursday, it is a lifestyle.

The scent of turkey and stuffing has dwindled.
Full of goodness, the pounds have been gained.
The dishes are washed up and put away after holding the delightful meal.
Loved ones have gone back to work, school, or their own home, some miles away.
Murmurs echo… ‘Who were the Pilgrims?’

The flood of thankfulness on social media has all but vanished…
and we are left with a decision. 
To give thanks in *all* circumstances {even the tough ones…}
To give thanks *all* the time {even when it is no longer Thanksgiving…}

When the tingly thankful touchy turkey feelings have diminished, and we are left with the reality of going back to work, school, chores, appliances breaking down, car trouble, stressing about money, caught up in Christmas drama, kids screaming, spouses arguing, sickness, depression, loneliness, losing loved ones, missing family far away … we are left with a decision.

When the voices shout ‘You are entitled! 
There is a whisper … Give Thanks. 
When the stores scream ‘Buy this!’
There is a pull … Give Thanks.
When the culture displays ‘It’s all about YOU!’
There is a draw … Give Thanks.
We live as if we are entitled to everything.
We glorify selfishness and call it success. 
We expect good things because we are ‘good people’.
The truth is – we do not deserve anything. I pray we will be content.
The truth is – selflessness is honorable. I pray we will be humble.
The truth is – ‘good people’ do not exist. I pray we will be grateful people. 

Give Thanks in *all* circumstances {even the tough ones…} 
When you are angry.
When you are full of hope.
When you are worrying.
When you are full of worship.
When you are weeping.
When you are full of joy.
When you are drowning.
When you are walking.  
When you are empty.
When you are fulfilled.
When you are sowing.
When you are reaping.
When you are in bondage.
When you are fully free.
When you are existing.
When you are fully living.
When you are scraping.
When you are fully thriving.
When you are dying.
When you are fully renewed. 
When you are lost.
When you are fully found. 

Give Thanks Always.
and this is tough to truly live, but. we. can.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in *all* circumstances {for this is the *will of God* in Christ Jesus for you}.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18

In Him, Leslie 

7 chicks. 11 kids. 1 God.

on Tuesday’s i host a silly little Bible study…

it’s no big deal. it’s just a handful of chicks and their kiddos.
we just get together to drink…
a lot of coffee, and talk about God.

when we get together i fully expect
large amounts of coffee to be consumed.
meaningful conversations to carry throughout my entire house.
the kiddos to play, bicker, get over it, eat a snack, make a mess. repeat.
and…
silly little Bible study to *magically* happen among the chaos of crazy kiddos and ourselves ~ distracted chicks who, if given a *moment* of silence, will easily bunny trail, interrupt each other and bounce back and forth around several subjects, while remaining a part of various conversations…
a silly little Bible study where we read a few Bible verses. have some discussion. say a little prayer. repeat.

really?! *magic*?! is that all there is to it? 
no. freaking. way.
it is so much more than a silly little Bible study.

the truth is
when we get together i fully expect
coffee consumed.
kid chaos.
shared faith.
prayers said.
hope found.
deeper love.
lives changed.
i fully expect God’s presence to show up. 

last Tuesday, God’s amazing presence poured over us.
a glimpse of *Heaven* came down to earth. in. my. house.

sure. i was prepared for these 7 chicks and 11 kiddos {6 and under} to come busting through my door.
i changed out of my stretchy pants, and briefly tapped into my inner ‘Martha’, while preparing to sit as a ‘Mary’ {their story is referenced in Luke 10:38-42} i cleaned up the living room, meanwhile shoving everything else into the bedrooms.
{out of sight, out of mind is my motto}.

i was ready for this silly little Bible study.
i was ready to drink coffee, share in conversation and read the Bible with the kiddos playing and laughing {sometimes screaming and crying} making their beautiful {and sometimes painful} sounds in the background.

i was fully expectant, hoping for God’s presence to show up. and it did.
prayers were shared.
truth was spoken.
bondages were broken.
God’s love overwhelmed us.

the truth is
if we are not expecting God’s presence to show up, it is just a silly little Bible study.
without God’s presence it is meaningless to get together, share faith, offer pray and gather hope.
it’s all about Jesus.
we fully expect God to do His thing. to love us. change us. renew us. and lead us to go out into the world. guiding us to love the ones in front of us. and for Heaven to touch earth thru us.

I’m a lover of God’s presence.
i can’t wait to see what God will next with these chicks and these kiddos.
i fully expect His presence to overwhelm us, as we enter it with Thanksgiving {Psalm 95:2}.
***
how are you expecting God’s presence to move?