Shift your focus to faith

To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.
– Walt Whitman

To fully experience the joy a life of faith can offer, we must cultivate a spirit of gratitude. Life can be hard, but the truth is: God is walking with us through it all, whether our hearts are open enough to appreciate His works and wonders or not.

Personally, I’ve been blessed to witness the mind blowing, faith-enhancing miraculous healing of my middle child from kidney disease, which doctor’s thought he’d have for his whole life.

Daniel 4:2-3: “It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which the Most High God has done for me. “How great are His signs And how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom And His dominion is from generation to generation.”

I’ve also struggled through seasons of sorrow, where my heartfelt prayers seemed powerless to change a harsh reality I was facing.

John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Through it all, my faith has grown into a deep appreciation not only for the awe-inspiring ways God blesses us with the desires of our hearts but also for the ways God purifies our souls through trials and tribulation.

James 1:2-4: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

I have questioned deeply what the most powerful way to share faith is. How can I share the joy of my spirituality and belief in miracles, while also being real about struggles? Let’s face it, many parts of our faith journey involve waiting on the Lord, which can feel excruciating.

We know “all things work for the good of those, who love God and are called according to His purposes,” but how do we experience this in our daily lives when we’re struggling?

This is a big question with many answers I hope to blog about over time. One thing I think helps tremendously is to cultivate a miraculous mindset.

A miraculous mindset is just a choice to intentionally focus on all the serendipitous encounters, moments of grace and mini miracles of daily life.  They’re there if we look for them, but all to often we fail to notice. 

The more we focus on God’s actions in our lives, the more we witness them and appreciate His steadfast presence in good times and bad. This increases our faith and naturally motivates us to praise Him and pray, which starts a ripple effect of receiving increasingly more grace and miracles over time. It’s that simple!

Prayer works, but we have to wait sometimes. And one way to keep our spirits up is to focus on the good and miraculous things God is doing for us in daily life.

So, the question is: what wonders is God working in your life lately? Has He given you perfect weather and sweet words from a toddler you love or arranged a chance meeting with an old friend that meant a lot to you? Has He given you a sense of His loving spiritual presence or performed a dramatic miraculous healing in your life? (I can vouch that they happen!)

To get you thinking, here are some miniature miracles I’ve experienced in recent weeks. These are actually what I consider big ones, praise God for having an amazing couple of weeks!

On a recent trip to the ocean, on our first night there we saw whales spouting from our living room window in the distance and were able to cuddle up as a family and watch them for hours. This was a total dream come true and a magical memory our whole family will always treasure. I had prayed that God show us the wonders of nature, and I believe He orchestrated that to razzle dazzle us on night one, which he proceeded to do for the entire trip. I actually think even just getting away for a vacation to such a beautiful place was a miracle with our busy lives. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for the priceless experiences we shared.

Just yesterday, I received a snail mail letter of love, appreciation and encouragement from a dear friend, as if her consistent loving presence in my life isn’t enough of a gift from God. This letter melted my heart in a big way. I’m someone, who has walked through seasons of  loneliness and experienced extreme lack of supportive community. Though I now see how God used those times to forge a deeper relationship directly with Him, they were very hard at the time. So now after all these years to be nourished with so much support from faith-filled friends is truly a miracle to me, I am so grateful!

These are just a few personal examples! I could go on about all the sweet miraculous moments of everyday life as a mother, even though my kids truly drive me crazy very often. I’ll save the grit and grace of praying through motherhood for another blog post!

But I write this to help YOU get thinking about the miniature miracles in your own life.

Prayer
God bless anyone reading this to receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and to be filled with the grace to realize Your Powerful Presence in every aspect of their lives. Bless them immeasurably and help them to appreciate all the gifts you are constantly pouring into them.

Reflection Questions
What beautiful thing happened to you lately that you couldn’t have orchestrated yourself? How does God work through the people and experiences of your life to bless you through good times and bad? 

Action Step
Start a gratitude journal! Write three loving things God did for you every single day before you go to bed, and watch your perception of life shift. Miracles truly are a mindset you can cultivate with a little intentionality, and you will be so glad you did. 

Share a mini miracle you’ve experienced in the comments below. We’ll praise God for all the ways He’s blessing your life and pray for you to receive ever-more grace from Him.

Prayer of Gratitude (for when times are tough)

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Phil 4 11-13

‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.
-Alice Walker

God, You know it’s not easy down here!

There is much going on in the world that is gravely concerning.

On the news, we see increasing violence, disease and poverty.

In our personal lives, we have struggles too.

Elie Wiesel said “When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.”

We want to be fully human and trusting in Your Divine Providence, rather than being absorbed into the negativity all around us.

We want to be defined by Your Love above all else.

So today we choose to lift our hearts up to You in gratitude.

Thank You God

Thank You for the peace in our hearts, in spite of these difficult circumstances. We know it can only come from You.

Thank You for all the wonderful people, who spend their lives trying to bring Your Love to others in their families, professions and communities.

Thank You for the beauty of nature, which is jaw dropping even as we pollute the earth in so many ways.

Thank You for the family and friends, who we can depend on in good times and bad. We know You have put them in our lives for a reason.

Thank you for our beloved children, who bring so much joy into lives and point us to Your purity and grace.

Thank You for our homes and the wonderful food we eat each day, we know how fortunate we are to live such comfortable lives.

Thank You for the hope, meaning and sense of purpose that we find in You, especially through Jesus.

What are you grateful for today? Comment below, and we’ll lift You up in prayer! 

 

 

kitchen table blessing

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live. The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.
– Joy Harjo

Give us this day our daily bread
– Matthew 6:11

Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the Father’s mouth
-Matthew 4:4

God, we cannot thank you enough for the gift of our family and our home.

You know the kitchen table is  where we spend most of our time together; it is an important place to us, even sacred in our hearts.

I want to take a moment to ask if You will bless it in a special way today.

Nourish our bodies at this table. Fill our food with Your Grace, so it can give us what we need to thrive in every way.

Guide our choices to be healthy and forgive us when we don’t. Help us to remember that it’s You who sustains us, even more than the food we eat.

Infuse Your Life into our the smells, tastes and sense of togetherness we enjoy here. Make ordinary moments an extraordinary foundation for our family, Lord. Create an unshakable bond between us.

Infuse us with laughter, peace and memories to last a lifetime here, Lord.

Give us a sense of Your Presence with us and guide our conversations, so they can reflect Your Love and Goodness always.

Give us the grace to see and hear each other in an essential way, that each member of our family can feel deeply loved and appreciated for the unique spirit You created in each of us.

Fill us with gratitude, Lord for this time we share here, which is so easy to take for granted in the rush of our daily lives.

Give us patience at this table, Lord. When we drive each other crazy in the daily grind, give us the Grace for a deep breath, a kind word and forgiveness, always forgiveness.

Help us to be kind to one another Lord, give us the strength to lean into each other’s pain with compassion and empathy, no matter how we are feeling in that moment.

Make our family a blessing to others here, Lord. Open our hearts, and inspire us welcome others into this circle of trust You’re building in our family. Give us the courage to include friends and families, and help everyone here to feel blessed by Your love in a special way.

Help us to remember those who are gone here, to include family members past present and future in our conversations, to appreciate the legacy that lives on in us, that everything can be created new through Your love of us, nothing is lost, all is good.

In Jesus Name we Pray, Amen

What are your family prayer rituals around the kitchen table? We’re all in this together.

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