Back when I was in boarding school in Venezuela, my dorm mother gathered all of us girls one night for a meeting in the dorm parents’ apartment, which was a very normal part of our week. This particular night, however, was not normal, but stands out to this very day as one of the most extraordinary times of my life. As we sat around in a circle, she explained to us that she had been praying that God would show her a verse to pray over each of our lives…individually. She brought us together to share what God had specifically spoken to her. As I read my verse, I was brought to tears because for me, someone who struggled so much inwardly with believing in herself, the verse God gave her spoke not only of the hope and belief He has in us, but also represented the belief in me that SHE had, too!
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6
And, I also love it in The Message translation….
There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
Ever have one of those times something very significant in your life just pops back up just when you need it most? Whether it be a song, a visit from someone of great impact in your life, or like for me…a verse, I’m always blown away by how God is so on time with just what we need. If I’m being honest, I’m probably at one of those standstill times of life, looking at the left and the right, trying to decide which Amy I want to be. On the left, I see the reality that my circumstances are not what I want them to be, but I can just go with it and let God show me again that I can finish “flourishing,” or I can head toward the right and be angry, get caught up in thinking with my flesh instead of my heart and head toward an ending of gloom and doom. You wanna know where I really want to head? You might think I’d say toward the left, but I really want to head to Gloom Street! Why in the world would I want to go there? Well, sometimes just feeling sorry for myself takes less work and doing what is right and looking…really looking…for His promises in yucky circumstances is hard work – and frankly, I’m tired. Thankfully (and after all, it is Gratitude Month), I pulled out my trusty magnifying glass and started really looking for truth this morning! AND, just like God is, He brought me back to where He’s taken me so many times at significant junctures of my life…He has, indeed, from the time I asked Him to be the Lord of my life, started a very good work in me. He never said that it would be an easy work, or an enjoyable journey, but I can say it’s been a good work! So, though my story right now probably has me a little less than enthusiastic about life, I’m writing today to tell you that sometimes you just have to really, REALLY look for what’s so good about the good work He began in us. As we enter into a time where we are encouraged to focus on gratitude, make it worth your while to take time to listen, to look and to hear. I heard someone say once they were looking to live life with Jesus in the ebbs and flows of life. I always picture me just breathing Jesus in, and breathing Him out…no matter what. Life sucks sometimes, but Jesus doesn’t suck. He promised to take that good work He began in us and FINISH it…never giving up and making it flourish! It’s just like my dorm mom taking the time to believe in me more than I believe in myself…a long term investment with lasting effects!
Want some great resources for kicking off your Gratitude Month? Start today by reading Ann Voskamp’s blog, or run to the bookstore on your lunch break and start reading her book, “One Thousand Gifts”. Whether you read the whole book, or just some nuggets, you’ll find a shift in looking for gratitude in the smallest of things…with your magnifying glass!