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Looking Through Lent Toward Easter

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

4. The completely snowy Mt Baker seen clearly today 14. The sound of geese outside, from my porch 16. Watching Gilmore Girls with Alison – a show about a mother and daughter; watching as mother and daughter

Our Wednesday night women’s Bible study has recently started reading and discussing Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, and have been inspired to make our own gratitude journals, our own lists, ways of counting little and big “gifts” or graces from God throughout the day. I have only just started, but I have talked with others who do this daily, and it has changed their lives! I am looking forward to seeing how my perspective changes, how my world changes, how it affects me and those whom I impact, as I look through God’s eyes, noticing beauty as well as hard things – things that God works through.

18. Hearing a couple’s story of how they met – and sharing our own story; God guides, orchestrates and really cares for us 23. Custom orthotics! 26. My mom’s calendar gift to me (full of her drawings, plus one each from Alison, Leah and myself)

Lent starts next week and sometimes, on the road to Easter, I give up something in order to enter into discomfort, to somehow identify with Jesus’ road to the cross. But this time, I want to enter in more fully to being thankful, to paying attention to God. I want to have the first 1,000 gifts I notice to be listed by the time Easter comes (so far, I am on #65).

I wrote something about thankfulness right before Thanksgiving, talking about being thankful in all circumstances, not necessarily for all circumstances. And I believe that’s right. But with God’s help, I am going to lay all these good and bad things straight in God’s lap; I want to accept the good and bad, the beautiful and ugly in life, and trust God to work through them and in them. I want to be his instrument for change where he wants me, but to also come alongside those who are in need – to trust him no matter what.

44. Seahawks Super Bowl – everyone rooting for (and unfortunately, everyone commiserating) 46. The joy of overcoming anxiety at a to-be-done task 54. Tears and intercession on my walk in the woods 57. Grieving with a family (but full of hope because of Jesus)

Ann Voskamp talks about looking through the lens of the fact that “God is always good and I am always loved,” that the only way to “pray without ceasing” is to pray with our eyes wide open. I can see and experience things so sad – things in the world and around me – and yet know God is always good, and we are always loved.

50. Doug and I – comfortable companionship 55. Seeing Seattle’s beauty through Matt’s eyes – a great day together 56. Blue herons nesting in trees at the dog park 59. Friends at Capernaum life group – full of love and acceptance

I am so looking forward to our Lent for Everyone Wednesdays at Creekside starting next week. How great it will be to get together as a church to worship and be together, walking the road through Lent to Easter. (That’s a grace from God right there, walking toward Easter together.) I’m hoping more people will start doing gratitude journals during Lent – let’s pay attention and see the world around us through God’s eyes!

Kelly can be reached via email.

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