25 November, 2010

El Día de Gracias

Happy Thanksgiving!
Five things I am thankful for: (starting where we left off...)
1) Harry Potter.
It sounds trivial, but seriously though, there is nothing like getting lost in a good book-especially Harry Potter.  Entering into the fantasy world of wizards always seems to be my escape away from the chaos of this world. I could (and have) literally sit in my room for three days straight with no communication with the outside world and be totally fine if I had a HP book in front of me. J.K. Rowling writes in a way that makes you feel like you yourself are a student at Hogwarts.  I swear I would leave behind everything in my life now if I could actually transfer to Hogwarts. (I was gonna say just kidding after that, but honestly I'm not sure that I am.) Anyway, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1-amazing. Obviously not as good as the book, and they missed some great details that I was really looking forward to seeing, but I thought they did an incredible job at portraying the main scenes.
2) Family.
I am thankful that I have been raised with the freedom to make my own decisions in life.  I can't remember a time where I was forced to do something or told I wasn't allowed to do something.  I know for a fact that I wouldn't be the person I am today if I didn't have the chance to choose for myself what I wanted to do, and I have learned so much from each decision I have personally made.  Also, I am grateful for the humor of my family.  Each of them has such a unique sense of humor from most people I know, and I am just glad we can laugh at the most ridiculous things ever. (Although I seriously believe Joe may be borderline mentally insane with some of the things he does.) I am glad that I am able to take a joke and laugh at myself because of them.
3) Friends.
Each and every one of them. I am so incredibly thankful that I have people who genuinely care about me and love me. I am thankful that I have friends who listen to me and rejoice with me and who I can listen to and rejoice with as well.  And I am SO thankful that I have relationships where we share in each other's sufferings, because that is what is rare.  I don't think I would be able to think clearly if I didn't have people in my life to process things with.  It is so encouraging and comforting to be able to simply observe the lives of my friends and know that I am learning from their example.
"Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."
-Philippians 1:3-6
4) My Teammates.
Yes, my teammates (Young Life team that is) are of course my friends too, but when you do ministry alongside of people, your relationships deepen tremendously.  They are the ones that know why your heart is so broken for that one kid.  They celebrate with you over the smallest victories that others can't understand.  And most importantly, they are the ones that have the same exact purpose and mission as you do, to go after lost kids no matter how hard it gets.  I am so fortunate to be on a team where grace and love flow abundantly and unconditionally.  My teammates know my heart better than anyone else does, and not only because we spend crazy amounts of time together, but because we take up our crosses together and encourage each other along the way.  It is so amazing to truly know someone's heart and to see how much each of them has to offer to God.  I am blessed to know someone with the most passion I've ever seen, someone so dedicated and giving, someone who lives expectantly and dreams big, and someone whose strength comes completely from the joy of the Lord.
Philippians 1:7-8 says, "So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus."
This perfectly reflects my heart for my team.
5) The Cross.
I am thankful (that is an understatement) that God our Father sent his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for me and the rest of this world so that he could literally become our sin and so that we could live freely and innocently.  I am thankful that Jesus was obedient to his Father's will so that I could be forgiven of EVERYTHING and live in perfect relationship with my Lord.  I am thankful that we have the Bible to tell us all of this, and that we have the example of Jesus to follow.
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature, God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even death on a cross!"
-Philippians 2:5-8 (I am aware that everything in my blog posts is from Philippians-this is not intentional.)
I think this relates back to what I mentioned before about Simple Spirituality and the five simple stones of WMF. Those things are based on the example of Jesus and what lead him to carry the cross for us. At church a couple of weeks ago, the pastor said, "Be careful of a Christianity without a cross." Because that is what it all comes down to. And if I give thanks for anything at all, it is the cross. Because through it, I am cleansed and perfectly loved.

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