Monday, December 20, 2010

Sacrifice of Praise

When I was a teenager we use to sing this song. I remember it being a song close to my heart because many weeks when we would come together for our Wed. night "Body Life" service it felt like a sacrifice to praise God. Those years were painful and I clung to Jesus. I remember singing that song and weeping. Jesus was the only one that truly knew how deep my struggle and torment was. Partly He knew because He knows me and because He listened to me every time I pleaded with Him that the pain was too much or that I just didn't understand. He also knew my heart because He had experienced all that I was and more when He hung up on the cross. He had those He loved turn away from Him, and He was broken and violated and ashamed. He also knew the dept of my pain because He was walking right through it along side of me. The One steady in my life was Jesus. It doesn't seem like a sacrifice of anything to sing praises and offer up my thanksgivings compared to the sacrifice God made for us through His Son. And oddly I am the one that is filled and strengthened by praising Him.
With Bipolar and especially the rapid-cycling sometimes I can't help but feel overcome, overwhelmed, and paralyzed by depression. My medicine is amazingly helpful but the struggle still remains. I'm learning though to choose to thank Him and praise Him anyways for Who He is and all He does in and for me. This is where I'm beginning to see a glimpse of light through that darkness. I'm starting to see glimmers of His grace shining through my feelings and speaking peace into my soul.

Knowing how to praise and thank and be grateful DURING an episode of depression has been something I have not understood how to do. But slowly through counting my gifts from Jesus that He's still giving regardless of how I feel I'm experiencing communion with Him that I normally don't have during depression.

I'm also finding that when I get overwhelmed and feel I can't fight it; that's when that sacrifice of praise comes in and that's where His grace pours out.

Though my flesh and heart my fail; God is the strength of my heart and my PORTION forever. Ps. 73:46

I’m finding through counting my gifts that my mind and heart is being set free in ways I haven't thought possible.
The beauty of His never ending grace and tender love is that in beginning to see the gifts He gives me and thanking Him He in turn is changing me!
Where I normally look at the bad and fear what's to be; I’m beginning to see Him as real and present in my life.

I’m grateful for God’s ability to walk along side of me through the storms. Slowly I am learning to listen and hear Him say “I’m with you, I’m cheering you on, I’m faithful, I'm loving you. He is who He says He is, and He is worthy of ALL my praise, whether it’s feels like a sacrifice of praise or a praise that comes easy. He loves it all!

I'm reminded again as I anticipate and prepare for Christmas that He is the gift and apart from Him we have and are nothing.

He made the sacrifices. He paid the cost. And He gives me the Gift.
He takes all of my brokenness for all of His goodness and grace.

My prayer is that the joy of Christmas and the awareness of His sacrifices will burn so hot in our heartz, that our flesh would burn away and His grace will blaze freely. Only He can fill us with His goodness and grace and only He can use us to extend that grace and love to the people He has put in our lives. He doesn't need us, but He wants us. He created us and He wants nothing more than to have ALL of us, that we would have ONE God, ONE love, ONE purpose. To Praise God for who He is, to give the sacrifice of praise, to receive all He is through a precious intimate relationship with Him, and to bring Glory to Himself and to become holy as He is holy. He is worthy of all our praise, all our days, through all our situations.

I praise Him that His grace and love for us is forever and always.

He gives us what we don't deserve so that we can have what only He deserves.

So with praise that no longer feels a sacrifice today I continue to count my gifts from Jesus... #138-154

That giving praise my heart becomes focused on Jesus instead of myself.

When I concentrate on His gifts for me the negative things seem to fade away.

He is beginning to show me what a truly amazing and precious gift His Grace is to me.

My 10 year old boy Caleb that made a scavenger hunt for me when I was sick this week, the ending place had a note that said. "Mama I love you and hope you get well soon"

John-Marc 2yrs running around the house saying "this is the best day ever"

My Man grilling steak out in the cold.

Christmas movies with my kids

Good time shopping with my mom yesterday for the few last minute gifts.

Thankful that we were able to pay for all our Christmas gifts with cash. In the past yrs we've used our credit card. NO MORE. God is so wise and He's using Dave Ramsey's Study to give us the direction we need.

We've payed off several thousand dollars of debt in the last couple months.

The gift of Marc being able to start over and discover what he loves and who he is. He starts school this next month. That is a huge gift!

Caleb 10 has asked me to put Christmas music on several times.

6 kids wrapping Christmas presents all at one time. John-Marc 2 had quite a fun time putting pieces of tape ALL over the packages.

The sweet reason that we get to celebrate Christmas, Jesus my Gift that keeps giving

Freedom from past

Medicine that helps my body and mind

Grace grace and more grace, did I say Grace!

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