Life is good.  I am blessed.  Oh, yes, I am.

However, sometimes we hit a bump in the road, a patch of black ice, that surprises us and in turn, frustrates us because we weren’t expecting it to strike our wheels.  We weren’t prepared and so we are even angrier than if we had been.

As if this made any sense at all.  I don’t claim to be logical.

I like to think that I am prepared; that I have access to the truth, that I will know how to react to hardship, conflict, sadness.

Yet when those three amigos arrive, there are times in which I feel like I am learning braille – feeling my way as I go along.

I’m learning braille right now.

I know I’m not alone as I feel my way.  I know He is there guiding me; I feel His presence.  He’s holding me tightly in His right hand.  I often feel His grip on my shoulder, leading me where I need to go as I do with my own children when I’m behind them and they don’t know where to go.  I am their shephard; those little lambs are in my care.  I am leading them to the right path.

So is He.

Our family was off-kilter today as I left the house for a few hours of writing time.  Words were spoken that should not have been.  Tempers flared.  Anger persisted. No one was listening.  I gave a spanking in anger and not to teach.  Tears were shed.  Guilt was felt.  I left feeling worried that my children were going to be on the therapist’s couch for most of their adult life.  Extreme, yes, but absolutely where my mind flew.

It was a hot mess. So was I.

So here I sit, contemplating how I will shift this sad, angry, guilty heart to one that can write about gratitude.

Each time I write a single word on this blog or anywhere else, I pray to God that He will guide my words and I trust that He will tell me what to write on His behalf.  Truth be told, I don’t always know what I’m going to write about when I sit down at the computer.  I so very much believe I am merely His messenger.

I prayed for Him to soften my heart, to speak through me.

He did.

“Tell them that gratitude is a state of being.  It won’t matter if you are experiencing hardship, conflict, or sadness.  I want you to be real.  Not rosy.  Real.  Tell them that there are times when you feel defeated, broken, and hopeless yet you still choose to thank me for even the smallest of provisions.  Tell them,” I heard.

So I’m telling you just that – gratitude is a choice.  Though I am hurt and certainly wouldn’t classify myself as Pollyanna at the moment, I am still ever-grateful.  Ever grateful.

My list of 1,000 things of gratitude continues, despite the fact that I am currently residing in the “Refiner’s Fire”…I’m so grateful for:

161.  That “Refiner’s Fire” –  there isn’t one time that I haven’t emerged with more clarity, courage, and faith in Him.  It’s not fun to feel that heat, no.  But He’s doing something in me right now and I know His plan is good.

162.  Despite the fact that they will be in therapy for much of their adult life (see above), my children are having a ball together these days.  There’s good playtime and giggles.  We even had a train rolling through our living room last night.

163.  Good coffee – K Dees, I love you. (They are local and they are heavenly but they SHIP.  Click here to order. And no, I’m not paid to endorse.)

164.  People who God chooses to speak to me through – our new associate pastor, my dear friend, Karri, a few others who have reached out to me this week to share what God has placed on their hearts for me.

165.  On a similar note, two girlfriends who don’t know each other wrote to me saying “I suddenly felt the overwhelming need to pray for you.”  God is so good.  I need those prayers and He provided.

166.  Long fall sweaters, leggings, and Uggs.  Like wearing sweats but I feel not as frumpy.

167.  A great sale at Kohl’s that allowed me to clothe my children abundantly for this new season.  Now we are working on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

168.  Good books.  Good books.  Good books. (Currently reading Little Bee – love it.)

169.  Baths, while listening to

170.  Good music, good music, good music (Hillsong, Coldplay, Van Morrison, Keb Mo, Jack Johnson, Chris Tomlin, Jars of Clay – and SO much more.)

May you choose to see His provisions this week – even if you don’t want to do so.

holy experience

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