This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every moring: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3: 21-26

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Grains of Gratitude

I am grateful for:

Children who are patient with me, who teach me daily about the forgiving love of God.

Being a parent has been a continual lesson in hearing God's voice. Sometimes I hear Him when he corrects me as I correct my children. Sometimes I hear Him when I tell my boys how much I love them, realizing God loves them and me more deeply than I can ever fathom.

Sometimes the lesson is in seeing young and fresh hearts offer forgiveness to me or to someone else who I might not be so charitable with.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21-22

How hard my heart has become the older I get. Forgiveness and mercy don't come easily. Extending charity to someone I feel has hurt me or my family isn't something I want to do. Setting aside my feelings of entitlement is difficult. What about what I want and need? Who takes care of me?

Somehow along the path, the whispers of the world seem to settle in and sound like truth: "You deserve to be angry." "You need time to yourself." "You should take care of yourself first--no one else will do it."

And then I remember that God takes care of me.

I am also grateful for the sermon of our visiting priest today. He reminded us of the power that is within us. He reminded us that we will always be tempted. During Lent, many of us may be tempted even more than usual if we are trying harder than usual to keep our focus on God.

He reminded us of the power of the word, "No!"

"No, I won't yell at my children." "No, I won't gossip about someone who I'm not fond of." "No, I won't allow that thought to be in my mind." "I will not allow myself to do that action which I know is unpleasing to God."

We have a choice, a free will, and we have power through Jesus to claim that good choice. We cannot fall back on the excuses that we were "tempted" or "not strong enough." We have a helper in the Holy Spirit. We can choose the pleasing choice.

But when we sin, and we will, we can refuse to repeat our sins. We can return to the LORD who is waiting for us.

I am so grateful for a merciful Father, waiting for our return.

by Gregory Norbert

Come back to me - with all your heart
Don't let fear keep us apart.
Trees do bend - though straight and tall
So must we to others call.

Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.

The wilderness will lead you
to your heart where I will speak.
Integrity and justice
with tenderness you shall know.

Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life

You shall sleep secure with peace
faithfulness will be your joy.

Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.

Christine at Brady's Bunch got me started on Grains of Gratitude. I am grateful.