My Fab Fam

My Fab Fam
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Monday, January 14, 2013


I have a mug that was given to me in high school by my unsuspecting math teacher and FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) leader.

It was packed away in a box and stored in the loft of our garage for a long time.  And I almost gave it away, not once but many times.  As a teenager and even as a young adult, I felt it was too matronly with it's dark green floral print and cursive script.  I preferred a modern style.  But somehow it survived moves, yard sales, and donations...for such a time as this.

Mrs. Ryan had no idea that my life would one day need the constant reminder, held in my hand each morning.  I open the cabinet to grab a coffee mug and, if it's clean, I always grab it.

The script reads:

"In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18."

The Amplified version reads thus:

"Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]."

No matter the circumstances.  No matter if you find yourself a thousand miles from where you thought you'd be.  No matter if you find yourself in pain.  No matter if you find yourself in a stressful job.  No matter if you find yourself in difficult relationships.  No matter if you can't make sense of the world around you.  No matter if you find yourself being persecuted or falsely accused.  No matter...[fill in the blank with your undesirable situation].

Now thank God for it.  Look up, and say, "Thank you."

Why?  Because He commands it.  Because He knows it will get us through the tough days.  Because He knows the plans He has for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  Because He can use all things for His glory and our good (Romans 8:28).  Because what others intend for evil, God can use for good (remember Joseph?).  Because He loves us and He would never give us anything except what He knows we can handle with His help (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Because He loves us and He longs for us to be whole, and wholly transformed into the image of Christ.  Because His ways are higher than our ways and He sees the whole picture.

Thank Him!  If the tears of a bleeding heart fall, thank Him.  If the pain threatens to break your heart into, dear sister, thank Him!  And before you know it, those tears will turn into an out-pouring of gratitude, the over-flow of a heart filled with thanks.

As Ann Voskamp says, the darkness is obvious.  We have to look for the light.

My sweet, sick girl sang this song last night,

Oh, what should we think about?
Oh, what should we think about?
Oh, what should we think about?
Things so great!
Found in Philippians 4:8!

When the darkness is pressing in, push it back with thanksgiving for "whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable; if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things!"  That is Philippians 4:8.  (Little memorization tip for those of you who have a brain like me:  if you want to memorize the order of these words, think, "Tenor, play!"  T N R (tenor), P L A (play).  I know, it's weird for some of you, but for others, you are smiling b/c you do little memory tricks like this.  I memorized this verse years ago, and this is still how I remember the order of the words.  Excellent and praiseworthy--well, you just have to remember those.)

And this morning I found myself thinking about such things.  My precious princess is sick.  She wanted to snuggle and watch TV all morning.  My kitchen is up-side-down and the laundry beckons.  But I found a snuggle spot between two of the most precious things on this earth and drank in the coffee and my little blessings.

And I was overwhelmed with gratitude for my friends.  One offered to cover my responsibility for MOPS tomorrow, two others offered to pick up medicine or anything we needed, one offered to bring supper, and another bought suckers and gummies for the girls and a home-made cappuccino kept doubly warm on this cold day with an insulated coffee thermos placed inside an insulated lunch sack!  Their thoughtfulness warmed our day.

All these warm thoughts were still swimming in my head when I read this post by Ann Voskamp.  And I knew I had to share it with you.  Please read it; it's short and powerful.

Then give thanks!  For this is God's will for you.

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