Joy Unexpected

I stare blankly at the empty lines.
Lines I had intended to fill throughout the day.

It seems distractions got the better of me and are still trying to prevail as exhaustion starts to take over. Stress burdens down, trying to cause worry in my soul. The thought of turning on mindless television sounds like sweet relief.

But where’s the intention in that? No. I will choose to be intentional.

This I can do.

I pick up the familiar pen. The one I’ve used since last April to write my gifts down. Signs of wear are starting to show where my fingers instinctively find their place. I’m ready.

And there I stay. In the ready position. Pen not yet in motion.

For me, the greatest challenge is beginning. Of shifting my perspective to clearly see all that God has blessed me with this day. One would think after 9 months of practice, it would come naturally. Not so. And I wonder how long it will remain a conscious effort.

My mind begins to oblige as I reflect on the day I’ve had. Early morning, not being able to sleep after the toddler was up in the night. Four loads of laundry done and put away, floors vacuumed, toys picked up, preparing my home for an enjoyable weekend. Preschool activities, train track assembly, and how many games of hide-and-seek later find me here? My eyes travel down to the pen and I notice the cracks on my hand. How long has it been? A week since the dishwasher broke? I can’t remember. And then it hits me.

I can’t remember because I’m enjoying it.
Can that be right?!?

Yes. It’s true.
For God has been faithfully meeting me at that kitchen sink.
Every day.
And I’ve been enjoying our chats.

So much so that I suggested we hold off on replacing that frustration of a dishwasher. We can wait for the best deal. No hurry. I can wash dishes.

This I can do.

For God has met with me among the grease, the grime, the suds, the squeaks of glass rubbing clean.

And my pen flows freely on the page.

  • Dishwasher breaking. An unexpected blessing to a tiring day.
  • Quiet time while washing dishes. Filling my joy tank as I fill up the sink.
  • God clearly speaking to me in those moments of actively scrubbing. Every day He’s been faithful.
  • Toddler’s willingness to help clean today. Keeping me accountable to vacuum up every crumb, swiffer every speck of dust.
  • Husband’s willingness to participate in the added cleaning responsibilities. Yet, not forcing himself in my new-found quiet place.
  • Burt’s Bees lotion (note to self, use it when I’m done)

And I smile wide as a handful more fill the remainder of the page. Those once empty lines now saturated with joy. Gifts given by my Redeemer.

Gifts given just to me.

My heart swells while realizing, I get to do this again tomorrow. How ’bout it, Lord, same time same place tomorrow? Deal. I’ll see You then.

And if that’s the only gift I receive, that will be enough.

Maybe making a conscious effort every day isn’t so bad after all. If it were natural, I might take it for granted.

And where’s the intention in that? No. I will strive to remain intentional.

This I can do.

How about you? What gifts were given just to you this day? How have you been intentional? I’d love to hear. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

(DISCLAIMER: Please know I am not Wonder Woman. I do not have it bad. There are only three of us. If there were more, this post would be completely different I’m sure.)

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29 thoughts on “Joy Unexpected

  1. Being intentional on using the gifts God has given us. what great thought! I was blessed with an oppurtunity, this past weekend, to share at a different church, other than my own. The pastors wife recieved a phone call friday late afternoon that her mother just had, what they thought was a heart attack. The pastor called me, to see if I could handle their church service. From lining up the worship music, to doing the preaching. ( he knew that I was a volunter in our local town program of “Celebrate Recovery”) They wanted to jump into their car and head to Iowa, where her folks live. knowing that I already had a sermon (on power point ), and understanding their concern, not only for their family, but their church family, I said yes, I can do that for them. The pastor did a few more phone calls and they were set to go.

    Mean while I was thinking how am I going to do all of this. Knowing that this is kingdom work, not Steve’s work, is a big relief. I prayed for the next day as I refreshed myself with the material on “forgiveness”. That is after,I helped at “Celebrate Recovery” friday evening, working in the store for 6- 1/2 hours on saturday. Plowed 3 parking lots for my church, and 2 driveways, after shop hours. Making contacts for the worship music, ect. For the worship leader, I just kept knocking on doors, till one opened up. Which was a possable on Friday evening, still possable on saturday evening and firmed up on sunday morning.

    the church is small, somewhere between 30 to 40 people were in attendance that morning. The worship music was great, setting the tone for sharing on “forgiveness”. I shared on the forgiveness that we recieve when we accept JESUS as our personal Savoir. Then the forgiveness that we are to give to people that have hurt us, the forgiveness that we are to ask of others that we have hurt, and finally the forgiveness that we are to give ourselfs. I closed in prayer, asking if any would want to recieve Jesus as their personnal Savoir, 1 raised their hand, and we prayed. After the service, I had othes come and talk about what to do for their needs. People hugging me, and things like that.
    Through the entire time of planning and then doing, I was very nervous, it was only after, that I reflected and saw how the Lord had used me.

    I say all of this to make a point, That I do not think that God has called me to be a preacher, but I know that He has given me a testamony, and a reason to share His love for all kinds of people. If we are reading His word, praying for His will in our life, then we need to have the attitude that I will be willing to do What He calls me to do, when He calls me to do it. I know that the world calls us to be succesfull, but God has only called us to be obedent, the success is up to the Holy Spirit. It is what we feel are are weakness’s, that we know His strength is being used, that we did not do it on our own.
    Praise the Lord.

    • Praise the Lord, indeed, Dad. You’re right. We each have a testimony. God has equipped all of us with our own unique gifts to share His story with those around us. We just need to be willing. He’ll do the rest.

      Thanks for being that example to me.

      To God be the glory!

  2. Sweet Nikki, I love this! Especially since I’ve just begun One Thousand Gifts. I’m listening to her read it, and her voice makes it that much more real. I’m finding myself seeking Him in the little things, intentionally searching for these gifts. They’re all around us, aren’t they? I, too, find my times at the sink sweet. It’s the perfect time for chatting and hearing. And for counting graces.

    • Oh, I’m so excited you’ve begun One Thousand Gifts, Katie! May you benefit from it as much as I have.

      And you’re right. It’s in the little things that His grace shows big. Let’s enjoy the adventure of discovering them!

    • haha — I just had to throw that in there, Dolly! I felt like I was making it seem like washing dishes was a huge inconvenience when there are so many wonderful homemakers that do this year after year! 🙂

      Don’t you just love the ways God creatively brings to reach out to us — draw us more near…..

    • You’re right Janelle. It is a great thing that God meets us right where we are. He is always available. He’s always there. We simply need to seek…. What a blessing! (and you’re a blessing, too. Thanks for stopping by today!)

  3. Stopping by from iFellowship. Enjoyed reading this. I’ve often thought that there is something therapeutic about washing dishes. But I only have that thought AFTER I begin washing them…not when I’m looking at the pile of dirty ones. You can kinda get in the zone, once you begin. Using it as a time of intentional reflection and prayer is a great thought.

  4. I definitely can relate to needing God time alone; AND I can relate to growing closer to Him because of a seeming pain (your dishwasher broke, you grew closer to God; I received three rejection letters at once, and completely trusted in Him and grew closer to Him). Thanks for your perspective and joy!

    • Oh my, I am so sorry to hear about your rejection letters. at once. But am thrilled to hear you chose to lean on Him! What joy to draw near to Him. Thank you so much for sharing with me, Alexandra Anne!

  5. You have such a beautiful writing style! You could easily write a book.

    I love how you turn what some may consider a chore into a blessing…washing dishes, cleaning, etc. I think that may be the secret of life–be happy with what you have and where you are at.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  6. Coming to visit from “Thankful Thursday.” So nice to “meet” you. 🙂 What a beautiful and heartfelt post. It is so touching and heartwarming how you have made a mundane and burdensome task a lovely one– by giving it to the Lord! What an inspiration you are!

    Many blessings,
    Lisa

    • What a joy it is to “meet” you, too, Lisa! Thank you so much for stopping by! Your blog is absolutely lovely. So nice of Theresa to let us link up so I can get to know more striving mothers like you 🙂

      Blessings to you as well,
      Nikki

  7. You are such a sweetheart. I love reading your posts and how God speaks to you. Your transparency is refreshing and I am happy that I have you as my bloggy neighbor. Big hugs to you!

  8. Oh what precious thoughts! Love that your toddler can hold you accountable….love that the training we do pays off when we least expect it to! It’s like God saying Well done, here is your reward, your diligent example is paying off, keep at it! Thanks for sharing this, visiting from Thankful Thursday!

  9. God speaks to me when I do the dishes but your attitude about it is so much better than mine and my hands hurt!! And your so right, starting is always the hardest part of any discipline. Pushing through the will is never easy. Enjoyed your thankful heart!

  10. “For me, the greatest challenge is beginning.”

    I find this to be very true. Sometimes I sit in front of a blank computer screen, not knowing what words, if any, will come. But like a slow-starting steam engine, the words eventually come. The hardest part, for me, of any writing task, is the beginning.

  11. Pingback: Life to the Full « simplystriving

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