What I’m Thankful For (2016 Edition)

First off, a lot of my friends and church family members are facing difficult and heartbreaking situations at this time. Is something going on or am I just more aware of it now? I don’t know. I know that we were never promised an easy life, but we are allowed to call out to God in our suffering and ask for his relief.

Today while listening to Pastor Eric’s message about the book of Acts, God spoke to me about my prayer life. Some people have been complaining about their situations but seem not to do anything within their power to change their circumstances, even the seemingly simple and obvious ones. After repeatedly hearing the same complaints its very difficult to be empathetic. I begin to feel as if the person is complaining about their situation for the sake of complaining rather than what they are truly doing: crying out in desperation. God’s words to me were to pray for the person, not judge the validity of their request. If the person’s problem is going to be solved or lessened by practical advice then God will give those words to be spoken but spoken out of love, and not irritation. If it is a supernatural act that God is going to perform in this persons life then God will do that.

My heart was truly moved in service today.

Pastor Eric was talking about authentic churches and authentic Christianity.

1.) Family

It can’t even begin to tell you how much God has blessed me through my family.

God gave me an amazing woman to be my wife. We’ve been married for 11-1/2 years. I’ve seen some friends and co-workers get married and then divorced in a time shorter than that. I’m not even going to sit here and pretend that our marriage has been easy. We’ve had our ups and downs. Some of the downs seemed very down, and I wondered if we were going to be walking down the road to divorce. At one point, I just broke down before God and pleaded, and he intervened in the situation in a dramatic and spectacular way.

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My wife and I dancing at my cousins wedding.

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Photobooth fun.

I have two amazing children. One is a pre-teen and the other a two year old so, yes we do have the occasional tantrum. In retrospect, our two children are very well behaved and trustworthy kids. We just have to make sure that our expectations of them are clear and that there are consequences related to actions of dishonesty or distrust. Some parents act as if they ultimately expect their children to disappoint them and fail. When these children fail, their parents are resolved to accepting the failure as inevitable rather than teaching their children why the behavior is wrong and what the expected behavior is. I’m not saying that I’m a perfect parent, or that my kids more well behaved than other, or that my kids are going to turn out super well behaved… I have no idea. I’m just doing the best that I can and relying so much on friends and family to help. They say it takes a village to raise a child, you know…

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Summer Fun.

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Serious driving.

2.) My church family

We made a difficult and wrong decision to start attending another church almost two years ago. Now there was nothing wrong with the church we started attending. The Pastor was an incredible Shepard. The congregation very warm and welcoming. However, we never felt like we were truly part of the church. We never just fit in with the church. The reasons that we had for leaving our other church that once seemed solid began to seem ridiculous and as more time passed the ridiculousness of the reasons only seemed to heighten. We started to have discussions about our old church and we made it a point to start visiting there, and soon we found ourselves desiring to be there and not at the new church. Did God lead me away from the church? Did God lead me back to the church? I don’t know. I’m glad to be back though.

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My son playing at church.

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My daughter plays trumpet.

3.) Friends

If you have a Facebook account take a moment and scroll through your friends list. How many of those friends would you stop and say “hi” to if you saw them in real life? If there is anyone on your list that you wouldn’t stop and talk to in real life then in all likelyhood they aren’t really your friend. A true friend rejoices when you rejoice, and grieves when you grieve. Friends take time out of their day to be concerned about you when concern is warranted. I have been blessed with some truly amazing friends.

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My best friends Nate and my son.

4.) Gainful Employment

Thankfully both my wife and I have full time employment. Unfortunately, our furnace (boiler) died late in the winter. Praise God it was during an unseasonably warm week. Praise God that my father-in-law helped us to get a good system at a good price. We didn’t have the money to replace the boiler on hand so we had to borrow it and our already tight budget was not going to be able to handle the additional payments as we were already faced with the additional payments of my daughters braces (without the braces there were going to be some teeth that couldn’t come in). Faced with this situation I told my wife that I was going to get a part time job. I’d have one for the previous three years. She didn’t like that idea so she decided to get on instead. She was able to find one quickly that worked into ours schedule and allowed us to bridge the gap in our budget.

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My son reading a dinosaur book at the local public library with Lightning McQueen right next to him.

We have not been very good with finances throughout the years. It’s something that I am constantly praying for wisdom regarding. I feel as if my wife and I came from two different planets in regards to finances. I am constantly praying that we can get on the same page.

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My wife had shoulder surgery a few months ago. Her labrum was torn and they basically “stitched” it back together. This picture was taken about five hours after surgery was done and we were sent home. She is doing well in her recovery (the sling was gone after four weeks) and hopefully her weight restriction will be removed soon.

 

I hope you have many things to be thankful for this year and I just pray that God will bless you and your loved ones.

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And here is my son reacting to a t-shirt with a picture of Yoda on it. (Priceless).

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