That happens when you are the pastor’s family.
It was a long day, as most Sundays are, and I didn’t even have time for my Sunday afternoon nap.
After a great sermon by The Hubs this morning, focused on John 3:16-21 and The Gift of Grace, our Abundant Life Small Group provided a spaghetti and lasagna lunch for the congregation, taking up donations to help fund various mission work in the conference. It was delicious and I am incredibly thankful to share life with this amazing group of individuals.
We were able to have a brief respite at home after lunch, even though I had to run back up to the church to decorate and tidy up for the Community-wide Thanksgiving Service our church was hosting that evening. I think The Hubs and the boys got a little bit of an afternoon nap, and I did manage 30 minutes to relax on the couch!
We headed back up to the church a bit before 5 and I corralled the kids while The Hubs prepared to welcome a few hundred people into our church. After our wonderful nursery volunteer arrived, I was free to find my seat in the growing crowd. Thankfully, my bestie, Michelle, and fellow pastor’s wife was saving me a seat.
As I searched for her, I recalled how I felt at the last community service before Easter. You can read about that here. The day of that Easter service I longed for a friend and so much more. It’s almost ironic because at that time as the flowers were beginning to bloom and life was sprouting and being born, my soul was in the midst of winter; dull, barren, shattered by loneliness and feeling left in the cold. Now six months later as the seasons are once again shifting and the blazing Fall colors are beginning to fall and wither, ready to hide away for winter, my soul is springing to life with the grace and goodness God has been working in me.
I now have that friend in my life. I’m getting healthier inside and out. I’m trying new things and facing new challenges, not with trepidation and bitterness, but with motivation and encouragement. I feel supported and purposed. God heard my cries and answered my prayers, in His time and His ways, and oh how good they are.
As I sat, by my friend, and listened to glorious worship music and unbelievable, rock your socks off, poetic preaching (thank you Mr. Thomas James of St. James Baptist Church in Fort Smith), I was moved to the verge of tears. They were tears of joy at the incredible recognition of how much God had been at work in my life just over the past six months.
The sermon was all about giving thanks. It didn’t have a title, but it had a tagline: “You’ve only got to think to thank.”
I only have to pause, think about what God has done for me, and my thanks should overflow.
Not only has He answered my prayers and heard my cries, but he has bound up my broken heart, given me strength to make it through, and grace to do so beautifully.
But it is so much deeper, yet so amazingly simple. His gifts of love, grace, provision, wisdom, and so many other things are more than I deserve and more than enough. He is enough, yet He still gives. He still hears. He still answers with abundantly more than and greater than I can conceive.
I could go on and on. I wish I could share the message from tonight’s service. I cannot put in words how moving and amazing it was! But even more amazing was the glory of God in that place, and His working in my life, every day, moment by moment, breath to breath.
I challenge you to stop and think. Think about God. Think about His gift of grace through His son, Jesus. Think and then give thanks for the free gift that is given to all who will accept it.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite songs that sums up how I feel beautifully. The Shane and Shane version is one of my favorites. Enjoy, and spend some time thinking, thanking, and worshipping God.
This is one of my favorite songs, and I love the version performed by Shane and Shane.
Artist: Hillsongs Australia
Song: When I think about the Lord
When I Think about the Lord,
How He saved me, how He raised me,
how He filled me, with the Holy Ghost.
How He healed me, to the uttermost.
When I Think about the Lord,
how He picked me up and turned me around,
how He placed my feet on solid ground
It makes me wanna shout,
Thank you JESUS,
LORD, your worthy, of all the glory, and all the honor,
and all the praise…