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Thankful for Perspective

I'm thankful for perspective.

I’m thankful for perspective.

I don’t know how to explain it, but I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach 2016 was going to be a long haul.

Some things I knew were happening—a wedding in the same time frame as a graduation. A child’s genetic testing. Another child transitioning from high school to college.

But, as the year unfolded, there were plenty of surprises.

  • I felt a stirring I attribute to God that I was to my own ministry/business as an author and speaker. By February, I was moving forward with Surrendered Scribe Media. By March, ENTRUSTED was re released and ENTANGLED was released.

 

  • My husband changed his job. I had a feeling this was coming, but what I didn’t anticipate was his working from home much of the time.

 

  • My father-in-law passed away in July. The kindest man, talk about a huge void.

 

  • Grief from loved one’s choices I couldn’t control (and still can’t!)

 

  • A complete flip in health that was hormone/menopause related. It hit me HARD.

 

It was rough, and I honestly wanted to define the year that way. However, the word for my year is perspective, and I’ve really tried to apply that. I see why it is the word for me, because I learned a lot.

 

The absolute fear and anger I had over my husband being home on “my” schedule also offered a lunch partner at times, and help when I wasn’t able to get our child from school.

 

Watching God grow our loved ones closer through as they listened to us share with transparency regarding choices. Had I stayed grief-stricken, I don’t think God could have used us. Seeing it in time as an opportunity instead of devastation changed everything.

 

I’m sure there is more I’m not seeing yet, but perspective definitely helps me move forward and not dwell on the negative. As we wind the year down, we also had a very thankful Thanksgiving. Not only are we surviving all these things, but we learned Tom’s oldest daughter is expecting. It’s the first grandchild for us, and we are thrilled for her and her husband.

What are you thankful for this year? Do you think of perspective at all? How?

 

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Thank God for Memory by Patti Shene

THANK GOD FOR MEMORY

Two deaths in the space of four months—first my mom in February, then my husband in June—labels 2016 a tough year in my history book.

Death of a loved one is never easy, but to experience two losses in such a short period of time is like having the ambulance transporting you after a car wreck you just survived T-boned on the way to the hospital.

You’ve barely had time to catch your breath from the first gaping wound when another is inflicted.

Grief is nebulous, yet poignant; crippling, yet cleansing; personal, yet universal.

The last word that comes to mind when hearing the word “grief” is “thankfulness.”

Yet, would grief exist if joy, happiness, and love had not precluded it?

When I struggle to put grief in perspective with the goodness of God, I am drawn to the book of Job. We all know of the misery he suffered, the unspeakable sorrow he bore, the devastating despair that enveloped him. Yet, how did he respond?

His wife said to him, “You are still as faithful as ever, aren’t you? Why don’t you curse God and die?”

10 Job answered, “You are talking nonsense! When God sends us something good, we welcome it. How can we complain when he sends us trouble?” Even in all this suffering Job said nothing against God – Job 2:9-10

dorothy-k-shene_editedIt was harder to accept my mom’s death than I thought it would be. I was so sure I was “ready” when Mom passed. Although mentally keen as a knife drawn across a sharpening stone, physical maladies, pain, and exhaustion warned us her days on earth were nearing their end. To be honest, my sister and I prayed for her relief from suffering.

Since her death, too many moments have come and gone that I wish I could share with her. The fact that I can’t produces a dull ache, kind of like the nag of an arthritic joint on a cold, cloudy day.

Although we had been forewarned of the gravity of his condition, my husband’s passing was much more difficult to bear. Reports from the surgical suite were optimistic, so much so that I went to the hospital chapel and thanked God for his mercy in bringing Manuel successfully through yet another surgery. It was upon my return to the waiting room that I was informed he had suffered cardiac arrest and was unable to be revived, despite heroic efforts by the surgical team.

Kind of reminds me of Job in a remote way. I’m sure that iconic Biblical character asked more than once how life could be so good one moment and so bleak the next.

The loss of my husband has inflicted a more acute, more frequent pain that throbs like a knife slash to the gut. His death has forced me to examine myself as a widow, a self-sufficient woman, and a child of God.manuel-pat_edited

The drug that renders my pain bearable through both of these losses is memory. Sure, photographs, videos, greeting cards, and conversations with others whose lives they also touched trigger vivid recall of the part these loved ones played on my life stage.

Yet, it is the intimate moments of laughter and tears, triumphs and failures, dreams realized and hopes dashed, shared within those relationships that bind me to Mom and Manuel across the span of time. Without that treasure trove of deep seated memories that allows me to drink my fill, the pain would be so raw that it would surely crush my spirit under its weight.

There is much in my current circumstance that I have to be thankful for, but the one gift from God that stands out most prominently for me during this stretch of my life journey is memory.

My sentiments about this blessing are reflected in the following poem, recited by me at my mom’s funeral service and printed on my husband’s memorial card.

God gave us memory,

A dear and precious gift,

That on our darkest day

We could receive a lift.

 

He knew we’d suffer pain

Along life’s rocky fall,

And so He gave our brain

The power to recall

 

Our loved one’s tender smile

Or kind, devoted touch,

The guidance thru each trial

That fueled our love so much.

 

Though gone from here below

And where we cannot see,

Love leaves our heart aglow

Thanks to our memory.

 

So when your day is long

And sadness in you burns,

Your loneliness is strong

And there seems nowhere to turn

 

Take a moment from the day

To get down on your knees,

Bow your head to pray

“Thank you, Lord, for memories.”

Patti Shene

Can you find thankfulness in any grief you may have experienced this year?

Patti Shene is thankful for memories.

Patti Shene is thankful for memories.

BIO: Patti has had short work published in two anthologies and local publications. She has three novels in progress. She has conducted workshops at Christian Writers conferences and served as an editor with a small publishing company. Patti loves to promote writers, both published and unpublished, on her two blogs, Patti’s Porch and The Over 50 Writer. She shares stories through personal interviews of those who have found their way from a dark place back to light or those who help others back to light on her weekly Blog Talk Radio show, Step Into the Light.

Patti lives in Southeastern Colorado and is fortunate to reside in the same town as her daughter and fifteen year old granddaughter, her only grandchild. Still, her heart brims with memories of the Adirondack North Country of New York, where she spent many childhood vacations and still returns periodically to visit family.

Website-www.pattishene.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/PattiShene

Facebook – http://ow.ly/QN1u306koqf

Facebook (Step Into the Light page) –  http://ow.ly/CRNS306koSJ

Blog talk radio show http://www.blogtalkradio.com/stepintothelight

 

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My Thankful List by Jean Ann Williams

 

My Thankful List by Jean Ann Williams

I’m thankful for my Lord and Savior Who drew me from the pit of suicide loss and remolded me to need Him for everything.

I love my husband of forty-six years, and who I’ve known since I was eleven when he took me on motorcycle rides with me sitting on the tank of the bike. And, yes, after we married, we rode together on his motorcycle for over thirty years.

I adore my thirteen grandchildren of age’s twenty-two to three, and my three children, of which two are still here on Earth.

The friends who did not leave after my son, Joshua’s, death by suicide, I’m so very grateful to them. And to the acquaintances who drew closer because of my loss.

Does being thankful for God’s beauty on Earth count? Yes, I love the mountains surrounding our tiny valley. The fox sparrows when they sing. They seem to sing at the perfect moments when I’m struggling with difficult people and or with my own sins. Fox sparrows in our part of the country are rare, and I don’t take them for granted.

My health is something I’m thankful for, since I’ve been ill for over five years. Two years ago, I even prayed for the Lord to take away some of my old injuries pain. He did. Right away. And I’m grateful. I had struggled with intense pain in both shoulders and my neck from a long ago car accident. After I began praying for God to heal me from some of my pain, I fell one evening outside with palms down and my neck jolted forward and backward. Even though I was extra sore the following morning, by the evening my neck and shoulder pain disappeared and has never returned as a constant pain.

God’s free adjustment and it cost me to only trust Him and to understand it had to come as His perfect will.

I’m thankful my two remaining children are in good health and they are still here and not gone to the Great Beyond like their brother. But, God taught me to not place anyone, including my children, above Him. This is a gift of extreme relief and abiding in Him.

My thankful list would not be complete without my acknowledgement of God’s Word. I’m grateful for the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for my sins, and I look forward to Heaven with Him.

 

bookfunmagazinephoto_edited

Jean Ann Williams

Bio: Jean Ann Williams is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She writes regularly on Putting on the New blog and her own Love Truth blog. Jean Ann and her husband of forty-six years have thirteen grandchildren from their other two children. They live on one acre in Southern Oregon where they raise a garden, fruit orchard, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are practicing archery, hiking through the woods, and big game hunting with her bow.

See the Trailer: https://youtu.be/yvNDlNHEyok

God’s Mercies After Suicide:

What if your child shot himself while you were in the next room? What if you held him as his heart beat for the last time? What if Satan whispered in your ear, “Now where is your God?” Find out how Jean Ann Williams reached out with her spirit and mind to the one true Father. Discover how the Lord God answered her, and walked alongside her in the most difficult grieving journey of her life.

My Thankful List by Jean Ann Williams

My Thankful List by Jean Ann Williams

Purchase links for God’s Mercies After Suicide

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Mercies-after-Suicide-Blessings/dp/0997701609/

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/6569595

Jean’s Blog: http://Joshua-mom.blogspot.com/

Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Ann-Williams-848295125269670/?ref=hl

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Win Spiritual Warfare with Giving Thanks by Ada Brownell

Win Spiritual Warfare with Giving Thanks

 By Ada Brownell

Gratitude changes my attitude.

Sometimes I forget when I pray, seeking God for specific needs, that I should be thankful first. The Apostle Paul instructed us “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

He precedes that statement in verse 4 with “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice.”

I am amazed sometimes at how many things I have to be thankful for. There is no way I can name them all, but at the top of the list is God’s mercy, love and caring. I’m so thankful Jesus came to give abundant life here and eternity.

Then I am thankful for my husband and family and that they have the Word of God planted in their hearts. We’re not a perfect bunch, but we are so blessed with children and grandchildren who love and serve Jesus.

I’m thankful for America and freedom.

I’m thankful for friends, those I know personally and those I’ve interacted with online. I pray for friends I see often who have needs, but also pray for others I seldom see and those I haven’t seen who check out my blog from the United States and about a dozen other countries.

In these perilous times when there are so many refugees around the world, I’m thankful for food, a home, and all our needs supplied. I pray for the suffering church.

I’m thankful most of all for a loving Heavenly Father who gave His only son so that I can have forgiveness of sins and live forever. I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit’s comfort, peace and joy.

Here are a few scriptures on gratitude:

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8).

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).

“But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

“Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever” (Revelation 7:12).

Although Thanksgiving might not be a holiday in your nation, may God grant every one of you no matter where you live, a grateful heart. In his instructions in Philippians Paul said when we enter the gates to speak to God and are thankful, “The peace of God, which passes understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

 
ADA BROWNELL BIO
ada-brownell_editedAda Brownell, a devoted Bible student, has written for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colo. She also is a veteran youth Christian education teacher. After moving to Missouri in her retirement, she continues to write books, free lance for Sunday school papers, Christian magazines, write op-ed pieces for newspapers, and blogs with stick-to-your-soul encouragement. She is the author of four non-fiction books, three novels and more than 350 articles and stories published in Christian magazines. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers. She and her husband have five children, one in heaven, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Her books: Read sample chapters on Amazon. Her Amazon author page is https://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownell

Connect with Ada at:
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon Ada Brownell author page
Google
Goodreads
Blog

Free book days info   
rancher-cover-1_editedAda Brownell’s book, Peach Blossom Rancher, an Inspirational Historical Romance, will be free 11/20 to 11/24 on Amazon: A handsome young man inherits a ranch in ruin and hopes to bring it back to its former glory and also marry a beautiful young widow who is an attorney. But she takes up the case of a brilliant doctor committed to an asylum because of one seizure. Will the rancher, the attorney, and the asylum patient achieve their dreams?
Suspense, romance, humor, murder, insanity, hope, fun, wrapped in a Western you won’t forget.
http://amzn.to/2arRVgG
https://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownell

 

 

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Why Be Thankful? By Sue A. Fairchild

WHY BE THANKFUL?

By Sue A. Fairchild

Ten years ago, if you would have asked me what I was thankful for, I would have provided you with the basics most people list:  Family, health, job…I may have even included God at that time, but He probably would have been my last thought. (And only because I would have been pressured, as a Christian, to say so.)

Since then, I met and married a devoted Christian man and began to dig deeper into my own faith. I searched my heart for the things that I was truly thankful for—not just the mundane, everyday things—but the things that Christ has asked me to be thankful for. That’s when I finally began to discover just how much I have to be thankful for.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

We should be giving thanks in all circumstances. Do we know what that word all means? Everything. Every minute of our day, every second of our lives, and for every single thing that happens…even the bad stuff. “In” means during all these circumstances. Some people have also stated that this verse also means to be thankful for all circumstances. Think about the differences. “In” is in the midst of it all, the hardships, the heartaches, we need to thank God for all the good things He is providing during those times. But we can also be thankful “for” the circumstances. This means we appreciate those hard times, when they come, because they cause us to grow, learn and lean on the Lord more strongly.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: It’s not that easy. That was my immediate thought, too. How could we possibly be thankful for everything? How can we be thankful when we lose a much-needed job or suffer the loss of a loved one? Who could be thankful when faced with illness? How can we be thankful that those types of times may be headed our way? (That seems really crazy to me.) It’s not an easy task.

My heart was once broken badly and it took me many years to grow from the experience. It was not easy then to be thankful. In fact, I often yelled at God, begged and pleaded with Him, too, trying to figure out how I could ever be happy, and thankful, again. As I look back on that time, I still wish it were different, but I am thankful now. I wouldn’t be with my husband now if it hadn’t happened—a man who has helped me grow closer to the Lord. And I wouldn’t have had those moments with God—the begging and pleading and yelling—that drew me closer to Him. Only when I could say, “Okay, Lord. You tell me how,” was I able to finally find the path to the truth of our Lord. Part of that path includes being thankful for the time and part of it is knowing that if it ever comes again, I’ll know God is looking out for me and using that moment for His greater purposes.

I know it’s different for loss. We can never have those loved ones back. So how can we be thankful then? I look again to the Word.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Yes. This is how I try to see things in the most difficult of situations. As a Christian, I am never alone, especially when I can take things to Him in prayer. Christ is always here with me and ready to listen. When I’m facing situations that seem too incomprehensible to bear, I look to Him. Only Christ can give me peace about it. Only He can heal my wounds, cover my transgressions, patch up my broken heart and guard it as I move forward.

Now that I think about it, I’m thankful for really just one thing: God. Because it is through Him that all other goodness ebbs and flows through my life. Without Him, there would be nothing to be thankful for.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17 NIV)

*************************************************************************

Sue A. Fairchild

Sue A. Fairchild

Sue A. Fairchild is a freelance editor and writer who specializes in substantial edits and Christian writing. She has been published in The Secret Place and The Upper Room devotion magazines as well as numerous other publications. Her blog, Sue’s Simple Snippets, explores the everyday moments of her life in order to find happiness (which is sometimes addressed with snark first.)

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How Many Times Must I Forgive My Brother by Teresa Ives Lilly

How Many Times Must I Forgive My Brother

By Teresa Ives Lilly

 

As a child, you expect to have fun playing with your siblings, but for me that wasn’t always the case.

My brother was seven years older than me, and all I can say is, he was not a nice person.  I have no good Of him, including the fact that we shared a birthday and every year my parents took us to his favorite restaurant and got him a coconut cake (which I am allergic to and HATE).

Years later he became a Christian, met a wonderful young woman and the two of them became Missionaries in Russia and started about 6 of more churches there.

You would imagine, as a Christian I would have been happy and pleased, but I wasn’t.  For years, I was angry.  I didn’t believe my brother deserved such a sweet wife and I struggled believing he could be trusted.

Finally, after a few years from his salvation, I had to surrender it to God and ask God to heal my hurts because my brother never tried to.  Then, once God gave me the peace I needed to forgive, I contacted my brother and asked him why he never tried to make amends to me, etc.  He told me, he thought I had forgotten the things and he didn’t want to hurt me by bringing them up.

Once I understood this, I was able to totally surrender.

So, at this Thanksgiving Time, I pray that everyone finds something to surrender and get free from.

Since that time, God has blessed me with the gift of writing and although I don’t usually write about such deep issues as surrender, my novellas are all Christian and the characters all over come relationship issues and find love.

a1kflm6gtwl-_ux250_Teresa Ives Lilly lives in San Antonio. She has written over 20 novellas, several chapter books and two hundred unit studies. She loves to hear from her readers at teresaiveslilly@yahoo.com

See all her books at http://www.teresalilly.wordpress.com/  

The one book I wrote which really shows how a woman overcomes many issues is called

Orphan Train Bride.

orphan-train-bride_editedKelli is a nineteen-year-old orphan, who lives and teaches at a New York orphanage. She is sent west on the Orphan Train to oversee the children. When the train reaches Kansas, the end of the line, and Kelli realizes that she must return to New York, she makes a desperate plea to a golden bronzed cowboy; asking to fill the place as of a mail order bride, he advertised for to raise his little girl. Will God help them develop a loving relationship through the hardship of life on the Kansas prairie. Especially after the land is devastated by grasshoppers?

 

Purchase Orphan Train Bride on Amazon HERE.

 

 

 



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