This past month has been absolutely amazing for Garrett and I! I have so many things to be thankful for right now that I cant seem to stop praising God for them. So when I realized that I should sit down and do a blog for this week, I thought, what better to blog about than God's amazing blessings in my life :)
1) God's Grace- The weekend before Christmas '08, my Grandpa passed away. This was actually a huge wake up call for me... God used my Grandpa's passing to remind me of His saving grace. My grandpa was never a believer up until the summer before he passed away. I never knew that the man that always silently looked away as I mentioned that I would be praying for him, would eventually be telling me that HE was praying for ME! After many years of saying prayers for him, that he would come to a saving faith in Christ, God was faithful and worked in many ways to draw my Grandpa to him in the end. I am thankful that his passing was not just sad but joyful too! I am thankful for God's everlasting grace and mercy that He has on our souls... that He loves us even when we choose to live for ourselves instead of for Him. The song 'Amazing Grace' now has a new meaning for me and I love it!
2) Open Doors- For awhile now, Garrett and I have been struggling in our walks with God - not going to Church, not reading our Bibles, praying or really doing anything for God. However, through that we grew a hunger and desire for Him more and more. We were weak without Him and quite unhappy. After begging God for direction and help to renew our minds and hearts for Him, God started opening doors last summer that have grown into life changing experiences. Our Church started doing 'community groups' in order to better spread the gospel to our neighbors, as well as to get to know and fellowship with our neighbors that go to Church with us. (This can be a difficult task when you have around 5,000 people in attendance at your Church!) The pastor of our area invited us to join them for a gathering and we have been attending every Thursday since last Fall! Through this we have built some amazing relationships with other strong believers and have gotten more involved in serving those that go to our Church. We are now working to reach others from the Church in our area, as well as our unbelieving neighbors. Garrett and I both have been very challenged through all of this and it has really changed our marriage and lives!
3) My Parents- I know that it may be hard to believe that sweet little Amy was not the perfect daughter in the world, but it is true! I was a pretty strong-willed (and selfish/spoiled) little teenager. Amazingly enough, I can honestly tell you that my parents have always stuck by me and supported me 100% even despite all that I put them through. More than ever I can see God working in both my mom and dad's lives and I am excited to be able to say that I have a godly example directly from my parents, which is not something that everyone has. I am so proud of my dad for making it to his 2 year anniversary of being sober this year and I know that plays a huge role in what God is doing through him and my mom. He finally gave it all over to God to help him conquer his addiction and allow God to use him. It is great to see them both be active in their Church and in the lives of their family and friends. I am thankful that they are not only that example but also have an unconditional love for both Garrett and I-- it feels good.
4) My husband's desire - I have seen Garrett's desire grow, as well as my own, to read the Bible and to grow in our love for God. He has gone out of his way to help keep the house tidy, to help with my household stuff, to share what he is learning from his studies and to spend time listening to me. I believe this is a direct result of consistent prayer and lifting him up to God daily. I strongly encourage any wife to do this for their husband and trust that God is faithful to make him the best provider, lover, leader and godly example that he can be for you. (Love the book The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian, that I have read through countless times since we have been married for the last 2 1/2 years!) I praise God for his power and faithfulness :)
5. My Nephews- This weekend, Owen (3) and Seth (18 mos) spent the night in our tiny apartment! It was so much fun but tough at the same time. I have to say that I do not know how Tim and Kate do it! Especially Kate, since she is home with them all day! They are wonderful children and great listeners.... just a lot of work :) There are so many wonderful things about all three of them that I cant even begin to explain how much I love them. I just love them and thank God so much for the joy they bring into our lives!
Thanks for listening to my praises! I hope that these can also be an encouragement to you. Remember that God is in control, that He has your best interests in mind and that He loves you unconditionally with all grace and mercy. Have a great week!