I’ve just returned home from dropping off my youngest daughter at the airport. She just texted that her flight back to New York is about to take off and I’m so sad to see her go, but grateful for the days we had together this Thanksgiving. I’m smiling now as I write through the tears. We spent the last few hours together packing up her treasury of Christmas tree ornaments that she has collected through the years. My mom started the tradition with me as a child, a new ornament for my tree each year growing up so that I would have a collection to start off with in my own home one day. I did the same with my girls and now my youngest, Mary Elizabeth, is bringing her ornament box home for her own tree in her little apartment in NYC. It was quite a feat to squeeze the box into her suitcase, and then of course she had to bring home some turkey gumbo, too! I tucked the last ornament that wouldn’t fit in her tennis shoe:) Somehow the Lenox crystal manger scene ornament had to go with her and hopefully arrive unbroken, so we made a way!
In her text she said security thought her frozen gumbo package was funny, but let her through. I made sure to write “Mom’s Gumbo” on the container just in case they were feeling grumpy. It’s nice when your children want to bring a little piece of the traditions of home with them wherever they live.
After we finished packing she sang through her songs for upcoming auditions. She’s a fortunate girl to have a daddy who can play anything on the piano and loves playing for her. I’m a blessed momma to hear her sing so beautifully as she faithfully prepares and pursues her dreams. I can tell the city is hard on her. It was for my oldest daughter as well. Living there is a bit of a jolt to the southern senses and pursuing your dreams can mean taking risks and really hard work. I can tell she’s struggling a little with the mad pace and rush of it.
As I sit in the living room writing, I picture her and remember her words when she sang her last piece for me, “Mom, did you get the story in the way I sang the song?” What she loves most about theater is the power of the story. And I’m grateful. Grateful to be part of the story God is writing in the lives of my children. Grateful for the gift of today and the abundance that each day can bring when we choose to look for it.
,This past week of Thanksgiving, I have thought a lot about the abundance in my life this year. I think what brings us to a place of abundance is not so much about what we have, but what we give. Abundance is about discovering the beauty and heavenly messages in the little moments of our lives. Abundance is finding God’s gifts to us in the everyday. Abundance is learning to let go of so many expectations for my life and instead enjoy the moments I have to give. Our days are full of abundance, if we will simply take the time to savor the scents, sights and sounds, the tastes and textures of our lives.
What is it that brings you pleasure?
What brings a smile to your face?
What restores your spirit?
What is one thing that you have to give away today?
(It could be a kind word, a plate of cookies for someone hurting, a note of thanks, a hug....)
It’s easy to get bogged down in survival mode. It’s easy to loose sight that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, part of God’s love story that He is writing with our lives to this very desperate world. The mundane, the routine, the mad rush of life can overtake us if we don’t learn to discover how to live in the art of abundance. Let His whispers of love and provision speak to your heart about beauty, longing and eternity. His messages of hope are everywhere. Seek to spend your time offering your gifts. Nurture your relationships. Make time for rest and new adventures!
When I look back at this year, I think one of the reasons it feels like a year of abundance for me is that I have spent so much time through Restore and personal ministry preparing to teach the Word. All spring I led a Bible study with women from several different churches in my home, and we had a Restore Reunion in our home. I love it when the body of Christ comes together for the Word and worship. The summer brought a beautiful "Own Your Life" Mother/Daughter Retreat, Restore's “Come Unto Me” prayer journey, Night of Worship and Tea, and this fall I had the privilege of teaching an eight week Sunday School class that I wrote and the “Awaken” Day away Retreat. All of these commitments to teach and lead required countless hours of preparation and work and yes, there were times when I was pretty tired! However, the hours in the Word gave me His perspective on life and strength for each day. The events opened up opportunities to share His truth and provide an oasis for so many women to pour into one another and soak in God’s beauty. I'm so grateful that Sherry and I can share the load of preparation and leadership for Restore events.
I’ve experienced His abundance in the giving of the gifts with which He has blessed my life. Each week young teenagers come through the doors of my home and I get to teach them voice lessons. What abundance to have the privilege of investing in their young lives and talents as I watch them develop into amazing young men and women! Throughout the year I spent much time traveling to visit my children and grand daughter and have been blessed with precious trips with friends to nurture our relationships. There have been celebrations and music and laughter and tears. The wonders of God’s creation in the majesty of His mountains and the vastness of His oceans always refreshes my spirit.
Of course, there have been difficult times, too this year...the death of a dear friend and a beautiful young student, the loss of the homes of so many we love, having to move my mom to a secured Alzheimer care area because she no longer knows where she lives and has started wandering during the night, watching my dear friend battle stage 4 cancer.
The hard seasons can make you lose your sense of abundance if you let it, but I’m learning to look for the treasure in those times too. I was able to share and invest in both of the lives we lost this year, my friend in her 80’s and my 16 year old student. I’ll always treasure the weeks we got to spend with our friends as they lived in our home while theirs was flooded. My mom is safe, and even though she no longer knows where she is, at least for now she knows who I am. We had Thanksgiving dinner together at my house this year! I get to pray for my friend and walk through this cancer battle with her. God is writing a beautiful story with her life.
As I reflected on the abundance of this year, I began looking at pictures of some of the treasures from it. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and so I’ll end this little musing with some more pictures of the beauty of His abundance.
Perhaps this week, if you give yourself a little time to reflect, you too will see that you have also experienced moments of abundance in your life.
There’s an art to abundance that we all can learn. It’s all about asking for His perspective and what you can give.
What a great way to approach the Christmas holidays this year.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.
It has been a beautiful year of feasting on His Abundance!
Grateful to be part of the story God is writing in our lives,
Sherry and I are so thankful for you who give so much to the on-going work of Restore Ministries. God continues to richly bless us by your prayers, financial support, hands-on contributions and encouraging correspondence. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we maintain our blogging bi-monthly and prepare for up-coming events.
We are also available to present and minister to your churches Women's Ministry. See our "Book Us!" tab in the Menu for retreat topics. The latest "Awaken" Retreat information will be added to the website soon!
Saturday was a glorious day! Women came from all over to join us in our day-away event on the beautiful grounds and chapel of the Solomon Episcopal Conference Center.
Our theme: Awaken to the Pursuit of the Bridegroom! Kathy and I had a rich time of study and time with the Lord as we prepared for months to teach a theme that is not heard very often. Christ is our bridegroom and we, the church, are His beloved bride. As we studied the Jewish customs of betrothal and the wedding celebration, our hearts rejoiced as we discovered the glorious thread that runs through scripture and our preparation as we wait for the returning of our Bridegroom, Jesus.
There was so much material to cover, and the women had to listen fast! We have decided to repeat this theme and offer it as a weekend overnight retreat next fall. So if you missed it this time around, you will have a chance to join us for what I believe is our best retreat topic yet! The teaching is rich, the fellowship is sweet, and the alone time with the Lord is fulfilling. I'll not say much more about it in this blog because I'm sure Kathy will want to share. All I can say is that, my heart is still full from the day away! Remember this was just a sneak peek...
With a heart of gratitude unto the Lord, Sherry
The 3rd part in our series, A Feast for Your Soul, is scheduled for March 11, 2017 at Community Bible Church in Baton Rouge. It is an evening of worship open to men and women as our husbands join us in planning, preparing and presenting a beautiful time together in worship of our Almighty King! Keep watch for details but go ahead and put the date on your calendar!
We are so thankful for you who give so much to the on-going work of Restore Ministries. God continues to richly bless us by your prayers, financial support, hands-on contributions and encouraging correspondence. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we maintain our blogging bi-monthly and prepare for up-coming events.
We are also available to present and minister to your churches Women's Ministry. See our "Book Us!" tab in the Menu for retreat topics. This theme will be added to our collection as soon as the website is updated!
For His Kingdom Purposes,
Sherry & Kathy
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