Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

newyearsOur minds can get consumed with the negative in this world to the point where we completely fail to see the grace in front of us.

I was thinking about this last night and this morning. It’s funny how rejection, hatred, slander, grudge-holding and hurt by others can carry more of an impact than kindness, generosity, mercy and grace. As 2014 shudders to an end, that’s worth thinking about.

In the last nearly four years of spiritual, emotional and financial stress in our family’s life, there has been an ongoing sense of loss, or at least what appears to be loss. But there has also been tremendous gain, and those are the things I was thinking about this morning.

We have back and forth conversations in our own minds, at least I do. I’m not talking about mental illness, I mean the wrestling for dominance of either good or the not good in our thinking. The conversation can run something like this.

Negative thought: “Isn’t it sad that person X and Y are no longer in our lives? I really valued them and I can’t understand how they could throw us under the bus and walk away without a second look.”

Positive comeback: “Yes, but isn’t it good to be free of false friends and those who never really valued you in the first place? If they were true friends or loving family, they would never have dumped us by the side of the road. God had a house-cleaning in our lives. Appreciate that. Be grateful.”

Negative thought: “Yes, but there’s a hole there now.”

Positive comeback: “What hole? God not only removed the false and untrue, he replaced those people with new friends and family who are a constant reminder of His grace and love. How is that loss? Sounds like gain to me.”

Negative thought: “How is this need going to be met? This is a mountain we have been forced to climb unjustly by false Christians with no sense of decency or compassion.

Positive comeback: “God has met the needs. He will meet the needs. Demonstrate otherwise.”

And on the conversation goes.

I put the positive comeback in bold to demonstrate the need for those words to dominate and win out. It’s difficult to do in life. That’s the struggle we are always in. For some reason, evil tends to strut on the stage of our minds while good sits in the corner unnoticed and ignored. At times like this, we need to kick evil and its perpetrators off the stage and slam the door. Grace needs to step forward in our minds and take the stage, love needs to have the spotlight, and the God who shows his amazing mercy should get the applause.

There’s life in gratitude. There’s death in the circular thinking of negativity.

It’s good to begin a fresh year with this in mind. It’s crucial to find the good and praise it, and to teach our children to do the same.

A blessed New Year to all of you who stop by the blog!

A special thank-you to those who read this who have been a personal and material blessing to our family. You know who you are. We are grateful.
A psalm of thanksgiving:

Shout for joy to Adonai, all the earth!
Serve Adonai with gladness.
Enter his presence with joyful songs.
Be aware that Adonai is God;
it is he who made us; and we are his,
his people, the flock in his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
enter his courtyards with praise;
give thanks to him, and bless his name.
For Adonai is good, his grace continues forever,
and his faithfulness lasts through all generations.

~ Psalm 100

 

Little Things Done Well

“Becoming aware of little things that need attention, and doing them exceedingly well for the love of God, is daily living lifted up into the heart of Christ. It means we arise in the morning, aware that this day is given to us that we may grow in love, grace and wisdom before the Lord. It means we realize that we have one more day to spend in the school of God’s love.”

– Catherine Doherty

 

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Thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving Day! We’re thankful here at the Schlueter house for a multitude of things. Ten weeks ago, one of our sons had a catastrophic fall from a truck at work, breaking his hip and femur in 2 places. They later discovered 2 additional fractures in the hip area, complicating the healing. He was in the hospital for 2 weeks and has been in a nursing home for 8 weeks for rehabilitation. He isn’t going to be able to go back to work for six months. What we are thankful for today is that he is able to leave the nursing home to have Thanksgiving with us and that he is up and using a walker now. It’s wonderful to see his improvement.

Emily woke up this morning and her first words to me were, “Happy Thanksgiving, Mama!” Yes, happy thanks to the Lord for so many, many things. For every meal, every friend, for every hug, for every laugh, and yes, for every tear and trial he sends, we can still be thankful, as God works all things out for our good and ultimately, for His glory.

I haven’t been able to write much here at the Hope Blog lately, but will hopefully have more to add soon!

Psalms 116:17 – I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.

 

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