Monday, October 17, 2011

1,000 Gifts

Last June I embarked on a journey. Counting my gifts. 1-1,000

When I began counting I was a new, mama, and completely and utterly overwhelmed.

I cried every day as Brad left for work.
I begged God to bring rain to cancel his baseball games, so that he would be home in the evenings.
I pleaded with God that my girls would sleep.

In short, I had no idea what I was doing. Every moment I felt like I was drowning.

Anxiety. Fear. Resentment. Doubt. Depression.

They flooded my soul. I sat in a pit with all those dark friends swirling around my head.

I would combat them with prayer. On my knees, weeping, begging, pleading with God to help me kind of prayer.

I desperately longed for just one day to feel manageable. 

A blogger friend of mine had joined Ann counting her gifts.

I was intrigued, and decided to give it a try.

I had no idea how much it would change my life.

You see, when you seek joy; when you seek God in everyday (even in the hard stuff). Fear, anxiety, resentment, doubt, sadness? They can't co-exist with joy. So, my heart changed. I changed.

Do you see how my perspective was totally altered? Instead of looking at things, and feeling helpless, I just looked at things, and said:

Okay. This sucks. Where is God here? What can I find joy in in this place?
I intentionally sought Jesus.

Sometimes it was really hard. But you know? God always showed up. Even if it was just to give thanks that my precious babies had breath to cry.
_________________________________________________________________________________
It seems so fitting that this would be the week that I'd reach 1,000.

My girls have been sick with the croup for a week now.

Lots of snot.
Lots of coughing.
Lots of crying.
Lots of clinging.
Lots of watching (and listening to) my sweet daughters fight to breathe.

I step away. To seek my Father. To seek joy.

Breathe in.
Lord...
Breathe out.
...Jesus Christ...
 Breathe in.
...have mercy...
Breathe out.
...on me.
(Thank you, Mandy)

Then, I list my gifts.

Mercy.
Grace.
Joy.
Eucharisteo.

Everything's a miracle.

Eucharisteo precedes the miracle.

So I give thanks. And look for miracles.

988. Hair bands, from when the girls were infants (that still fit), and hold their hair away from snotty noses.


989. Rain boots.



990. Craft night at Heather's

991. Chatting with Laura and Heather late into the night.

992. Meeting Lori at craft night.

993. Waving at Lori on Sunday at church.

994. Chatting and connecting with Kelly and Gabby at Artisan.

995. Seeing both Kelly and Gabby at church the next morning.

996. Having friends at church!

997. Going to a church full of people that are full of grace.

998. Meeting Beth and praying for her during chruch.

999. Olbas oil. Seriously. Check it out!

1000. Listening to Brynne and Hadley coughing. Knowing they are breathing.

1001. Honey that quells the coughing.

1002. A husband that helps me with the girls in the middle of the night.


1004. Brynne calling for her papa in the middle of the night.

1005. Playdate scheduled with Shelly and Max.

1006. Texts from Affton and Sara checking in on us and praying for us.

1007. Getting to 1,000 gifts.

1008. Intentionally doing hard things, and finding God in the hard stuff.




holy experience



16 comments:

Melissa Ann said...

Keeping counting, friend. Keep seeking joy. Love you!

Liz said...

Julia,

You are such an inspiration! Thank you for creating this blog. Thank you for teaching me to be thankful (even when I don't feel there is much to be thankful for).

THANK YOU!

B. said...

Julia
I love your honesty about the hard times. I find great comfort in knowing that I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed at times taking care of our children...and hoping my husbands hockey game is cancelled!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I love reading your posts every week. I consider my Fab 5 Friday posts on a similar note (although yours are always so poetic...I love the simplicity). However it's phrased, though, I love the reminder that, despite the CrAzY, there's so much "fabulous" stuff to be thankful for.

Congrats on reaching 1,000 gifts...and on keeping up the count! Still thinking of you, Brad, and the girls, and hoping this is a much healthier week for you!!!

Amy said...

Congrats on getting to 1000. What an amazing accomplishment. Thanks for sharing.

Stefanie said...

Thanks for sharing! I want to learn to be more thankful, to find more joy in what the Lord has given me - so I want to start a list too.
Stefanie

Jenn said...

congrats.. and what precious daughters you have. i am an identical twin and my twin sis is my best friend in whole world.. i loved reading your gifts. Praying for your daughters wiht the croup!

Connie@raise your eyes said...

Ann's book has blessed so many, simply by pointing us to what GOD has created us to do...give thanks for everything. It all comes from His Hand.

championm2000 said...

Just beautiful...in so many ways.

PS_ I thought I was the only one who secretly wished for rain so hubby couldn't play ball and could stay home :-)

HopeUnbroken said...

what a beautiful, rich list! congrats on your journey--may you continue on. and praying for your girls to continue getting well.
thanks for your sharing!

Jen said...

Just so you know, your comment that you left me at SDG left me in tears. Good, happy, joyful tears. Thank you for touching my heart...your joy spills over.

Pamela said...

God with us in the hard times. How do people without God make it through the everyday life. Your post brought me joy and tears for the presence I felt reading your words today.

Blessings,
Pamela

Cyndi said...

I needed this today. You are so inspirational. Thank you!

Kelli Williams Wommack said...

Beautiful, authentic post. Cutest little girls ever (except for my 12 year old. :)
They grow up so fast.

Thankful that God led you to have a grateful perspective. It changes everything.

Everything is a gift from God! Everything!

Julia said...

Liz, thank you so much for your words. I am humbled, really. Putting myself out there, I have no idea what sort of effect my words have sometimes. Such a blessing to hear from you--I am thankful for YOU!

I want you to know that I just prayed for you.


Those "desert times" when it seems there isn't much to be thankful about---those are tough. I pray oases of joy and grace find you often.

Many blessings!

Heather Ablondi said...

Congrats on getting to 1,000 gifts. I too am in the midst of dealing with a croupy baby. I love the idea of being thankful that she has breathe to cough. Will pray for your little ones quick recovery. Many blessings to you.