Grateful {#Tuesday@Ten}

Grateful, the word always reminds me of Thanksgiving, only a more common, everyday kind of thanks.  I have so many things in my life to give thanks.  However, the thing that I am most deeply appreciative and thankful for is being raised in a home where I was given a solid foundation in the God despite my family’s dysfunction.  I was in Sunday school when I was two years old. Most of my early memories center on God, and truth be told, I just don’t have a lot of early memories.

gratefulI remember my imperfect father, reading to me out of the blue books you see at the doctor’s office “The Bible Story.”   I would sit on his lap and we would read a story.  I am grateful for those stories about the hero’s of faith. They remind me ordinary people did extraordinary things for God.  I am grateful that my father tried to teach me about the Father, even if he didn’t always live like the Father wanted him too.

Deuteronomy 11:19  Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.

 I remember backyard vacation bible study.  I really don’t remember a lot about it.  I don’t remember what we did or why we gathered.  What I remembered is that God’s people came to my imperfect house for fellowship.  I am grateful that even though we didn’t open our house often, I was taught the importance of fellowship.

Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)   And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

 I remember in the darkest moments in my family, and we had a few, that we sought help through the church.  Granted many days that meant I was sitting outside the pastor’s office while other family members were talking with him, but I knew that is where you went  – to the man of God when you had problems.  I also remember that when I lost my best friend, that even though the preacher didn’t know that day, he preached about dying. I am grateful I was taught to seek Godly counsel and that He knows what is going on even when we haven’t shared.
Colossians 3:16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
I remember attending church as a family.  Even when we were broken on the inside, we still went to church when I was a young child.  Every time the doors were open, we were there.  Not just to fill a pew, but active participants.  I was taught from age two, and my mother was the Sunday school teacher.  We sang in the choirs and children’s programs.  When my parents were working, we went on the church bus.  I would lead the kids in worship songs, those songs were ones I would sing to my kids when they were growing up and I would teach to other kids I taught.   I learned to sign the alphabet from Mendi and Jennifer – they later became my daughter’s stepmother and aunt.  I learned God doesn’t make junk from Jimmie.  I learned to serve.  I am grateful that I was taught the value of service, faithfulness, and my value.

Matthew 25:21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

 John 12:26  Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

I remember being in Sunday school, children’s church and Awanas and being challenged to spread the gospel (By inviting my friends to church), to give (By bringing offering), to meditate on the Word (By memorizing scriptures), the importance of the Bible (By bringing the Bible) until it became a habit.  Whether it was to earn a badge for Awanas, to earn stars in Sunday School – where I was rewarded with Godly things like books about God, or earning Love Bucks in Children’s Church to buy presents for my family members for the holidays.  I am grateful that I was taught the importance of sharing the Word, reading the Word, and giving from an early age.

Psalm 119:11 (NLT) I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

I remember the lives that touched mine.  People who today may not remember me, but then meant the world to me.  Some have went on to be with the Lord, like Ms. Linda.  Others God has allowed to cross my path even recently like Ms. Cunningham, Mr. Drewry, Ms. Rosie, Mr. Earl, Mr. Bryant, Mr. Boozman, Mr. Nolan.  I am grateful that I was in a place where people truly poured in to the lives of others.  Where correction came with love, but obedience was still expected.  I am grateful that even though I didn’t appreciate it at the time, the lessons they were trying to teach me stuck with me.

Hebrews 12:6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

Hebrews 12:11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

 I am grateful that my mother shared with me a lesson in forgiveness and unconditional love.  I never understood why she stayed, even after the abuse came out.  Why when faced with the atrocities of what was done, she still stayed.  I admit forgiveness was never in my mind and unconditional love was not what I called it.   I admit, I always struggled with why she would choose a man over her daughter.  It wasn’t until recently that I found the courage to ask.  When I asked, it was a story of forgiveness and God’s love, the gift that God had given to her, she freely extended to my father.

Matthew 5:44  But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

Matthew 6:15  But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

And so today I am grateful for my imperfect family, that ministered Christ in so many ways.  The family that pointed me to Christ and to Godly counsel.  That in their imperfections, modeled God’s love and forgiveness.  The family that through their faults, taught me the value of service and faithfulness.  The family that introduced me to amazing examples of faith and fellowship, that loved enough to let others correct me and love me.  I am grateful for the opportunity to learn of sharing Christ with others, giving, and reading and memorizing the Word.  God is amazing.  I know a lot of families that this is just taken for granted, but I am thankful for the imperfect family that allowed me to appreciate the amazing God I serve.

This blog is 10827942_911504698881269_1165998114180095331_oprompted from  Tuesday at Ten! The Tuesday blog Link up where you have 1 full week to use the prompt word to your liking!  Whether it be just writing a story behind the prompt word, or being as creative as you wish using photos, poems, art, or graphics – whichever creative way you choose. You have 1 week to write and link up your blog at the bottom of the page so that others can link up with you. Be sure to visit your “link up” neighbor and spread the joy of connection!

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