These gifts are full of Grace

I have time for a more detailed post today, so you guys are in for a real treat ūüėČ

#19. Diversity 

I walked through down town Newark yesterday, and was in awe of how diverse the culture here is. There are people from varying races, ethnicities, and social class’. It’s interesting to observe but also gives me a little glimpse of heaven…and a desire to pray even ¬†harder for this city to be redeemed!

#22. Good Coffee, Good Planning

Part of my responsibilities here this summer is to teach the bible time for kids camp they have in the afternoons. I’m teaching on the parables, and I was able to sit in this awesome coffee shop and work on my lesson plans yesterday. I haven’t really studied the parables in-depth on my own before, and it’s been really cool. I love how every story points to the good news of the gospel and gives us a picture of God’s character. So cool!

#28. Fans!

These fans are¬†literally¬†a blessing from the Lord. We don’t have AC, so it gets pretty hot. I’ve been just camping out here at the end of my days!

#35.¬†Scripture that meets me right where I’m at.¬†

I discovered Isaiah 58:10 yesterday morning, and it was so sweet to my heart.

“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desires of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness, and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your desires in¬†scorched¬†places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”

#40. seeking hard to find the gift in the moment, even when it’s hard.¬†

Last night there was quite the commotion outside my apartment. People were fighting and yelling and making all kinds of noises until the early hours of the morning. I lay in bed wide awake, wondering¬†how do I take joy and find a gift here? Now?¬†¬†I began praying for the men who were yelling at each other outside…that their threats made out of anger intended for malice would only be empty threats. That the Lord would soften their hearts to His grace and love for them. That they wouldn’t do anything rash in their anger. That God would protect and watch over their wives and children, and stir within these men desires to be faithful husbands, fathers, and most importantly – followers of Christ. In that moment, something Ann Voskamp said in her book really sank in… “You cannot count gifts when you are living in fear and you cannot live in fear while you are counting gifts.” ¬†(paraphrased) It is a battle to choose to redeem and find joy in every moment, even the most inglorious and obnoxious ones. But I’m so glad that the Lord is faithful, and I’m learning to trust him day by day!

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Counting Gifts

I leave for Newark in 4 days. I am excited for the adventure, anxious for the unknown, and rejoicing in the way God has provided so far.

Throughout my time in Newark, I plan to maintain this blog by counting gifts. This idea was inspired by Ann Voskamp‘s book¬†One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.¬†My heart was inspired by this book to learn to live in the moment. She says that we can learn to give thanks in every moment, as Jesus did, and in return we enjoy the fullness of life and joy. I’m so excited about learning to see the joy and beauty in the mundane, unpleasant, and challenging. I know that through this process of giving thanks in¬†every circumstance, God will show me more of who He is and how He is working.

I am counting gifts because I want to see God in whole new ways, but I’m also counting gifts because of the gospel. Ann Voskamp says in her book: “when I realize that it is not God who is in my debt, but I who am in His great debt, then doesn’t all become a gift?” Christ took my punishment and gave me His righteousness…every breath I take is a sweet gift from His gracious hand. Hopefully through this process of giving thanks, His grace will transform me and sustain me as I see Him in whole new ways.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:9