I think about gratitude, and I wonder what I can share that we haven't heard before. Probably nothing. But the knowing doesn't make the living it out any easier. Does it, girls? It's a matter of the heart, which is all God. It's work we cannot do on our own.
Whenever God's walking me through something, I tend to notice that it's not quite going how I expected it to. Can you relate? When I begin down the new path He's leading me into, I usually start out thinking I'm already further along than I actually am. That is until, very quickly, I begin bumping into myself. Everywhere I turn. Is that true for you too?
In this latest journey through gratitude afresh, I find myself learning mostly from the children. They're such good teachers! And without even realizing it. It's frustrating to me because as I try to make things simple for them, I discover how overly complicated I make just about everything.
In my heart, if I'm honest, I think I want there to be all these excuses that make it acceptable for me to miss the mark when I do. "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9 But that doesn't fly with God. He makes truth simple, so children can get it.
In His bigger than me, infinite grace, God allows that I get to teach these precious children He's placed in my life - my nieces - to see for myself how little I know. Have you ever been there?
As I've just begun my digging into this treasury found hidden in simple thankfulness, these nieces of mine already have set out to teach me my first and foundational lesson. Please allow for this quick confession first. Sometimes, I have a hard time receiving truth in love from a person other than the Holy Spirit. My built-in defenses are very protective over my wounded pride when it comes to receiving correction. I say this to point out how clever God is to use this technique with me, to achieve His end game. His purpose isn't that I feel bad. It's getting through to me. And He's quite good at it.
Anyway, the nieces are driving me crazy one day. They want this. They want that. Well, they can't have everything, and they shouldn't. It's foundational that they learn that it's what we allow for them that's best. Now how do you explain that to a seven-year old? Hey Moms, you tell me. Because I'm an aunt with no kids of my own, and I'm lost!
I sit my seven-year old niece on the counter and tell her that I'm going to teach her a lesson about gratitude, one that I'm learning to. I give her the thing that she was asking for and tell her to ask me for a new thing. A thing I don't give her. I try to explain that she still has the thing that she actually wanted. And that not getting the second thing shouldn't take away from the first. She honestly doesn't seem to care. She still has what she wanted. I don't think she gets it, but I do. What disturbs me is that in my grown-up world filled with petition in prayer and its reflection in praise, I see myself even still being upset over the things I don't get... when I've always had the things that matter.
Sometimes it doesn't feel that way. Recently, my dad went to be with Jesus. Still God has found ways to show up for me here, in this place. In this not having. He is still faithful, even here. I don't grieve like the rest of the world. I have hope. I'm learning to trust that God will always show up. It may not be the way that I thought that He would, or how I think He should. But He is unchanging, and true to His promise. Always.
Now I have my niece on the counter, and I say to her with these words, "If someone does something nice for you, and you don't say thank you, how do they know that you like what they did?" And my very own words strike me right between the eyes.
This is what it is to praise Him, to offer up "the calves of our lips." This is what He craves from us the most. It's not our service and tithes. Even though, He's so very worthy of all that. And more. But sacrifice of praise, that's what He wills from us most. That's what yields the very sweetest fruit on the inside of us.
If nothing else ever, I have everything I need in Him. Him alone. He is worthy of my honor and praise. And I get to bring it freely, from my heart.
Hallelujah King Jesus. Sweet Jesus! I bring You my offering of praise.
Nicki has a heart to help to people feel a little less alone in their real life struggles to connect. She's a passionate encourager who practices embracing the "whatever you are" of wherever God has you, on your way to what's next. "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1 You can come enjoy the adventures with Nicki and her super fun nieces and nephews at ComeWithMe.live
Connect Through Fellowship
Our next Hearts and Homes will be Monday, August 27, at 6:30pm at the home of Heather Waggoner, 3406 Southmeade Circle, 40214.
Hearts and Homes is a casual gathering of women each month in the cozy atmosphere of someone's home. Everyone brings a finger food, appetizer or dessert and we share a meal together. If you'd like to connect with other women for fellowship, devotion, and prayer, this is the place!
Connect to God in Prayer
We invite you to join our Women's Prayer Meeting on Saturday, August 11, from 10:00-11:30 am in Room 204.
Women of all ages and seasons are invited to join us Saturday, August 11, at 10 AM in the Chapel as the Valley View women's prayer meeting will be host to the Arise and Awake Women’s Prayer Gathering: An City-Wide Prayer Gathering. Each month it meets to pray for a city-wide women's revival coming in fall 2019. We are asking the Lord to move now in the hearts of women for unity and reconciliation. Come and bring a friend!
Connect Through Study
Living Life Together is so important because others help us fulfill our purpose, grow in our faith, and serve others every day.
Part of our faith@home strategy is to lead all generations in studying God’s Word together. On March 5, we began a Unified Bible Study using the Gospel Project. We invite you to join us on this journey through the Bible by starting or joining a group. Learn more at vvchurch.org/lifegroups/
Fit for My King
Fit for My King-Women’s Health and Wholeness Ministry promotes whole-person health and healing— body, mind and spirit within a faith community. Our God desires for His beloved daughters to experience good health, and for their souls to soar.
Let us come alongside one another and help each other get healthy - physically, mentally, and spiritually. We will nourish our souls and renew our minds while learning to care for our bodies (God’s temple). We can, and will, become the best versions of ourselves as we commit to our King.
Come join us weekly for exercise, encouragement and fellowship. Fit for My King-Women’s Health and Wholeness Ministry is ongoing and meets on Tuesdays at 10:00am in Room 206.