Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

From my journal this morning: 
"Lord, as I awake, my mind goes right away to problems ... 
please lift my eyes to You.
May I not focus on my cross to bear,
but may I focus on who I am following - YOU ~
and on Your good gifts to me. Each day."

It is difficult for me (and maybe for you, as well?) to take my eyes off of trials.

These past days and weeks (even months) it seems that problems are attempting to cloud my perspective. There are many problems. Though not as severe as those of many in the world, they are difficult burdens to bear. It has been a rough road to travel in the care of my aging father. And it is a heart-breaking journey as our sweet granddaughter's kidneys are failing due to a rare kidney disease. Just on the horizon (13 days from now), our oldest daughter will selflessly and generously donate one of her kidneys to her sweet niece. My hubby and I will be traveling to be near and to help. And we will be so blessed to be there, and it will be painfully emotional to be there. It will be heart-breaking to see those we love go through surgery and recovery, and there will be concerns along the way. And we will be filled with thanks to be beside our dear family as we walk through these next weeks. 

And I am reminded often these days 
to lift my eyes and my heart ...
to keep my focus.

I will offer You
a sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the
Name of the Lord.
(Psalm 116:17) 

Is it really a sacrifice to offer thanksgiving? There are times when thanksgiving comes easy ... when it overflows from a full heart. And there are times when it feels more like a sacrifice. For it involves a focused, determined effort to lift our eyes from problems. It requires us to take our eyes off of our problems, concerns, and worries ... and humbly ask God for help. It is a sacrifice to leave our concerns ... to trust them to Him, to leave them in His care, to hold on to Him, and to be thankful. A denying of ourselves and our own sense of control, and instead, to release and to trust. To open up our hands and receive His many gifts to us. All by His grace and mercy, by strength that He gives.

      Loving Lord, by Your grace, may I turn ...

                             from focusing on my troubles and my pain
                                  to focusing on You ...

                             from gazing at my cross
                                  to gazing at You ...

                             from counting my burdens
                                  to counting my blessings ...

                             from being consumed by worry
                                  to being consumed with Your Love. 

* * * * * * *

And on a different note, with another type of sacrifice, I will need to let go of my presence in this place (for the most part) in the coming weeks. I have already had to let go of posting as often here in recent months, as I have needed to give my time to family, and also to the care of my father. 

It has not been easy to post less often, as writing is life-giving to me. My journals will continue to be full, but I will be even more limited in time to write here on my blog as we care for our family during transplant.

In the meantime, I'll be sharing on Instagram, and also will be sharing thoughts and perspective during the days/weeks of transplant and recovery on our family/ministry blog. You are also invited to visit our granddaughter's CaringBridge site. And the month of May will soon be here ... and I will be back (Lord willing). I have many posts that have just been waiting to be finished up and shared here ... devo thoughts, recipes, and more. Thanks for understanding my need to sacrifice this place for awhile ... and I will look forward to coming back in May - to celebrate five years of writing here at Pursuing Heart!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Catching Up ...

The weeks have been full, and sometimes it's hard to keep track of what happened each week! I'm thankful for digital scrapbooking as a way to preserve memories, and to celebrate God's good gifts to us. Here are a few of my most recent pages ...