Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thankful: Day 2

I have been truly blessed for an opportunity to grow and learn to love others better. Life Skills International has a course called Learning to Live, Learning to Love. This six month course has shown me how I have hurt myself and others for many years because of things I falsely believed to be true. For many years I have hidden from people I love because I have been afraid they wouldn't like the real me. This is a battle I continue to fight, but I now have tools and knowledge to fight a winning battle instead of losing again and again. I am thankful for the opportunity to take this class, to become healthier emotionally, to be freed to live and love. I am thankful for Living Waters Counselling, Dr. Randy Young, and Pastor Jay Milojevich for bringing this class to Medford, Oregon and being positive, encouraging influences in my life.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Thankful: Day 1

In light of this being Thanksgiving week, I thought I would take this opportunity to express publicly what I am thankful for. I would love to hear your thanks, too. Please use the feedback button and add your thoughts. Anonymous posts will not be rejected, so if you're shy no one will have to know who you are. Today's subject: God.

God, I would like to thank You for being a real part of my life. I'm thankful that You're not an impersonal force, but an individual Who takes an interest in me as a unique individual. Thank You for Your promise to never leave me. So far You've kept that promise and I believe You always will. Lord, I've been hurt, disappointed and defeated this year. You didn't save me from it, but You were with me through it. Thank You. You can take anything meant for evil and use it for good. That is awesome and I love You for that. Not only are You the source of my life, You are the reason for living life. I admire that You are creative, humorous and passionate. I publicly embrace You as my God, my King and my Savior.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Broken Praise

At church this weekend, I had the opportunity to hear one of the most beautiful offerings of praise I have ever heard. Andrew sang Give Thanks accompanied by piano and flute. Nothing extraordinary. A simple solo with simple accompaniment. Still, this offering is one I will not soon forget.

You see, Andrew is handicapped. At 11 or 12 years old, his body has not developed the way it was supposed to. He cannot walk. He cannot use a wheelchair. He cannot even keep himself from drooling. He is completely dependant for his every need.

So as I listened to Andrew singing with his broken voice, unable to stay with the melody, I was moved to tears. It wasn't his talent that made his offering beautiful. It was his heart and his desire to express his heart publicly, regardless of what people thought. I was ashamed for every time I have played for the people's praise instead of from my desire to express my love for God. These thoughts had barely sunk in when Andrew sang, "Now let the weak say I am strong ... because of what the Lord has done ... Give thanks with a grateful heart. Give thanks."

Seeing, hearing someone so broken, so weak singing these words brought a whole new understanding for me. I may not be handicapped the way Andrew is, but I am handicapped. Perhaps my handicap was more crippling because I was so blind to it. I have been handicapped by sin, pride, and my selfish desires. I was so busy feeling sorry for myself, I couldn't honestly sing that song. I didn't have a grateful heart.

I believe it is broken praise that God most desires. In the Old Testament, God told His people that their offerings were offensive to Him because they hearts weren't in it. He knows who and what we are. He isn't impressed by how practiced or professional we sound. He isn't Simon from American Idol looking for how our praise isn't good enough. No, His favorite offerings are broken praises that come from hearts that love Him.