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I started listening to Ann Voskamp’s book ONE THOUSAND GIFTS again tonight. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone over it in the past, and yet it still speaks to me.

With her words rolling once again on my mind I sit in bed tonight thinking of goals, life, how I have struggled a lot recently. And I hear this voice, “struggling is a choice”.

Now I know there can be various circumstances, physical, mental, and external, causes for personal struggle. And I don’t want to condemn or judge anyone. But there comes a time when we choose to continue to struggle instead of pursuing a better way.

It was as if a load was lifted.

I can choose to say, “I’m struggling” and that is why I can’t or don’t do those things I want to do. Those habits I want to create. Those goals I want to crush. And by doing so I am hindering my progress when I hide behind my struggle. Or I can make the choice to stop struggling.

It’s all a choice.

I can choose joy, gratitude, victory. I can choose to live a fuller life, better than I was yesterday and still reaching for a greater version of myself.

I take my notebook in hand, one that is filled with thanks, goals, wishes from a friend, memories and yet, has blank pages left to fill. With pen in hand I start to list my goals. I break them down in to categories, spiritual, physical, financial and relational.

In her book Ann casually mentions her “prayer bench”. And everytime I have heard this, I want one. Not a bench specific, but a special place for prayer. I have never created this place. This place of medition, of prayer, of quiet. A place where God and I meet. This is a goal I am going to actively seek. I will find a place, a chair, a corner of my home that is my “bench”.

I have a goal to be fit. To me, this is toned muscles, not big, but toned. To have physical endurance and the strength to handle what is necessary. (Not sure how to quantify that)

Debt free is my financial goal. A new vehicle with cash? Add ons to the house. Paying off overdue school lunch cards and random monetary acts of kindness with out thought of my bank account.

And relationally, I want to be an exceptional wife, a friend that listens, is aware of needs and makes the load a little lighter. Not too busy and caught up in my own life.

Big goals that are possible. They create responsibility, especially since they are now spoken. Goals that can become reality starting with one choice. The choice to stop struggling. To stop using that excuse to remain unfulfilled. And instead, to choose to live, to conquer, to acheive, to have joy, to worship, to learn, to grow, to give thanks for each step of the way, to give myself grace, to accept God’s help. For it is only with his help, these choices can be made.

And then it hits you… As you are surrounded by people. That thing you thought was committed. That deep desire of your heart that you have prayed and prayed for. That one that was their desire too. The one that they have received and you still wait for.

That one. You know the one I am talking about?

And so you look for a chance to escape because you don’t know how ugly it’s going to get. The hole that is gaping. It feels like the scab has been ripped off and it leaves you gasping for breath. Heaving with sobs. Why? Oh why?

It’s not that you don’t wish they didn’t receive the answer to their prayer. It’s not that you aren’t happy for them. You just can’t understand why you haven’t received your answer. Why you are still waiting.

It is in that moment of gaping heart, of breaking, on the edge of collapse when the still small voice comes to you and whispers,

Remember what I said, I’ve got this. Don’t worry about it.

And you take a couple more shuttering breathes, you blow your nose and wash your face with a cool cloth to gather yourself to face the world.

Because he has never failed to fulfill any promise.

Because his way is perfect.

Because he makes the broken heart whole.

The promise of “don’t worry, I’ve got this” doesn’t say that the desire will be grated. It means that no matter what, there will be grace.

And he promised that his grace would be sufficient.

The Matron of Honor said,

I’m asking the ladies to write a letter to the bride, can you write one on self worth? You have had a lot of good thoughts on that lately.

To be honest, it threw me. When was I talking about self worth. Then it hit me, I have been working on me, my health, mental and physical. I am far from perfect and I haven’t made the progress I would hope, but every day I get up and plan to be a better me than yesterday. Yes, I sometimes post a lot on Facebook, but that is what comes to me first, I take that lesson first and if I need it, maybe someone else can find a little help in it also. Also, her comment shows that people are watching even when you don’t know it. Be the example.

So back to self worth. A little over a year ago I was playing the audio Bible app in Psalms 139 and it came to this popular scripture and realized that we often look over the middle of the scripture.

We often recall the “I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” we bring this up when babies are born. We put it on their nursery walls. But do we read those words for ourselves as grown women and men? But that isn’t the phrase I want.

Marvellous are thy works

This! Did you know, that you new bride, busy mom, single working woman, empty nester, grandma, are marvellous? This declaration is not dependent on how you feel or what you do or your opinion of worth. Do you believe that God’s works are marvelous? Do you consider yourself a creation of his? Then you are marvellous. And God thinks you are worth it.

Are we worthy of his love and sacrifice? Can we earn it by our works or efforts? No.

But we are worth it, because God’s works are marvellous.

Marvellous means: causing great wonder; extraordinary, extremely good or pleasing; splendid

This is us, all because God created us and HIS WORKS are marvelous.

In our inadequacy we are extraordinary. LIVE LIKE IT.

  • Stop comparing.
  • Stop trying to be like anyone else.
  • Don’t stop dreaming because someone doesn’t have the same vision.
  • Dream big, push for your dream.
  • Stop breaking promises to your self.
  • Be the change you want to see in others.
  • You are worth the effort.
  • You have value. You bring value.

You are marvellous.

5 minute thoughts

Finally – after all I have told you, this too is important.

Be STRONG – steadfast, sure, stable, resisting, determined

In the Lord – not in our own minds, but in God.

In the POWER of HIS might – it’s through his stregth, his power that we can be strong. Take advantage of this storehouse of never failing strength.

The why is found in the next verse:

that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11 KJV

Be strong, utilizing his power and might, so you can stand against the enemy.

The enemy is not our neighbor, our friend, our family, even the stranger on the street. The enemy is the devil. He seeks where he can destroy.

We need to be strong, wise, watchful of his devices so he doesn’t take advantage in our daily interactions with those around us.

The song PRESS THE BATTLE ON comes to mind:

Strengthened by the mighty power of Heaven, we shall conquer, we shall conquer. Till the raging foe afar is driven, press the battle on.

5 minute thoughts

Seek – search, look for, always have your eye on, find him in the crowd

And his stregth – we dont just need the Lord, but we are given permission to take advantage of, to use, to hold on to, to employ his stregth. We don’t have to do this thing called life on our own.

Continually- all the time, when you are sick, seek his face, well, seek his face, discouraged, seek his face, full of joy, seek his face, frustrated, seek his face, all the time. There are no qualifiers to when it is not an appropriate time to seek his face.

When you seek him, he will be found.

His strength will come when you seek his face continually.

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