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My Thankful Project

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My heart is overjoyed at the goodness of the Lord! He has opened my understanding in so many ways this past month!


If you read my last blog post, A Simple, Beautiful Life, you may recall my expressed desire to be more thankful, and to live a simple, beautiful life, in the upcoming month of June.


After a crazy, busy month of May, my body was calling for rest and simplicity.


A desire to be more mindful of expressing thanks to the Lord was growing in my heart, versus always asking the Lord for things.


When I embarked on this journey of simplifying life with a focus on thankfulness, I never imagined it would change my outlook forever.


As I began my new focus, the Lord was faithful to meet and bless not only me, but our family unit of three.


He gave us much needed rest, which came by ways of long, slow weekends, easy meals, low-key days, book-reading weather, and a beautiful backyard to enjoy lazy afternoons.


To top everything off, my boss gave me Fridays off indefinitely, and that started the first Friday in June! Yippee! Who does not LOVE three-day weekends!? No doubt, this added to my goal of attaining rest.


As I slowed down, the days seemed to get longer, and this amazed me.


My thoughts deepened, and I was able to comprehend and retain material I read.


This surprised me one day, when I retold a story I had just read in a book.

When I finished retelling the story to someone, I thought to myself, wow, did I just recount every detail of that story? When was the last time that happened!? Slowing down the pace of life is really paying off!


Yes, I found that moving slower physically helped my mind to slow down as well. Thoughts were less jumbled and came in a more cohesive flow.


I felt like I was always in a hurry before, rushing here and rushing there, feeling frazzled and tired. That is why, in my last blog post, I used the phrase, “I need to hurry up, and slow down,” because I needed to do just that: to slow down as soon as I could.


These long days are not coming to an end, either! In fact, I am using this motto: “Slow down, the whole summer long.” (Big smile!)


There will be no more pushing, shoving, prodding, galloping or striving for any project all summer. So, what will happen with all my projects? They will wait for me.


One thing that aided in my restful, thankful state, is the fact I finished one project, my memoir, at the end of May. Which allowed me to flow into June with abandonment.


This was a personal project I started in February 2019, and I pressed hard to finish it.

Having the manuscript printed, and in the editor’s hands, brought a sense of euphoria.

After I handed my daughter the manuscript, I exclaimed, “I am so relieved to have this done!”


She laughed, and said, “You know Mom, there was no deadline or rush to get this done. It is your own personal project.”


Then I laughed hard because that is not the way I looked at it! For whatever reason, there was a press in me to get this manuscript finished ASAP!


All completed projects bring a sense of accomplishment, but this one was a biggie for me.


I woke up early most mornings, and devoted an hour or so to drafting, writing and editing this manuscript.


What propelled me? The Lord.


He prompted me every morning to rise, meet with Him, and write my story.


It was a year-and-a-half long project, and it still is not done.


The editor has many suggestions and revisions, and I have yet to design a cover.


But, for now, I take a rest from the project. Ahhhhhh…


As much as I am thankful for a simple lifestyle and rest this past month, I have to say, one thing out shined itself more than anything, and that was my focus on being thankful.


When the month of June began, I was not expecting this focus to take off as much as it did, but, like I said earlier, I am forever changed by this project.


Initially, my goal was to live in a mental state with no doubt, no questioning, and no waiver of faith in my heart – just complete rest and trust in the Lord.


For the most part, I stayed true to this focus, which I called “My Thankful Project.”


But I have to say, right off the bat, this thankful project got hard after a couple of weeks.


My heart wanted to give into bad attitudes, pouting, and unbelief, but I found, if I kept my mouth shut, and worked things out internally, the Lord was faithful to meet and help me get back on track.


As my body began to restore itself with rest, my heart found room to breathe.


Unfinished projects were put away, and that clutter left my mind.


Thoughts turned towards the Lord, and I recalled verses I have heard and read a hundred times before.


Consider these anew as you read this blog post:


“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22.


“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High.” Psalm 92:1.


“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.


Let me recount to you the miracles that started to happen, as I expressed thanks to the Lord FOR ALL THINGS, throughout the whole day.


1. The first thing I noticed was a renewed heart attitude of gratitude.


This flow of gratitude would start first thing in the morning! No joke! My first waking thought would be: Thank you Jesus! Thank you for today! Thank you for another day you have added to my life! Thank you for giving me rest throughout the night and thank you for keeping our family safe! Thank you for your mercies which are new each morning and thank you for giving me this fresh, clean start to a new day!


Now, all my mornings start this way, with an attitude of gratitude – which brings me to the second miracle!


2. My heart not only woke up every morning being thankful, but my spirit prompted me to keep on thanking Him all day long.


While shopping, while working, while vacuuming, you could hear me say: “Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus, thank you…”


Sometimes, I would mention specific things, like, thank you for my job, thank you for this provision, thank you for looking after our family’s needs…etc.


You would be amazed at how well the mind adapts to this change! It is like your mind craves this flow of positive, thankful thoughts of gratitude!


As I thanked the Lord, my spirit was built up and strengthened, and my heart was being renewed.


My dear husband noticed a difference in my attitude right away – and he liked it!


In fact, when I started to struggle with some emotional battles in my mind, my thankful heart started to waiver, and my husband picked up on it right away!


He turned to me and said, “Hey, what about your thankful project?”


This makes me laugh! Because my husband REALLY DID notice a big difference when my heart started to waiver from being thankful to being ungrateful. Husbands can be so perceptive sometimes, can’t they?


This soon became apparent to me: Our husbands LOVE having thankful wives. Why? Because they want to see us happy, and this brings them rest. We should want our husbands to find rest in our relationship, shouldn’t we?


I appreciated my husband reminding me of my thankful project, because it helped me get back on track. His comment also made me realize how much my attitude affects the atmosphere of our home.


3. Another amazing thing began to happen in my spirit as I gave thanks, and this came by way of warnings.


For instance, while at work, I would be at my desk, typing away, when suddenly, a negative thought would come out of nowhere and hit me hard. Before my thankful project started, these nasty little thoughts would find a resting place in my mind, causing me to lose focus, question my purpose, and even cast shadows over the rest of my day.


Now, there is a built-in warning system that goes off and alerts me of a negative thought: CAUTION, THIS IS A BAD THOUGHT! DO NOT GIVE INTO THIS THOUGHT! THIS IS A LIE!


Somehow, being in a state of constant thankfulness strengthens the walls of protection around our minds! This was amazing to me, because never in all my years of following the Lord have I ever experienced anything quite like it.


These warnings went off in my mind AS SOON as there was an inkling of a negative thought.


I tell you what, those negative thoughts can be so tempting to give in to!


It is just ridiculous how many negative things my mind starts to think about! SO many imaginations, lies, and misperceptions come at me left and right unawares.


Now, when this happens, a warning goes off in my spirit, CAUTION! YOU ARE HEADING INTO DECEPTIVE THINKING! And I completely change what I am thinking about. Then, I thank the Lord for His ways, and ask Him to help me overcome this tendency.


4. A rewarding product of thankfulness is: I am happier at home, and at work. I laugh more, and I have a lightness to my spirit which was not there before.


Why am I so happy? Because I am abounding in contentment. I have accepted my lot in life – my job, my home, and my position as a pastor’s wife.


My husband has noticed this change about me, and I think that is significant, since he sees me every day.


We bought a home back in 2018 and have been making it our own here and there, buying new furniture, painting rooms, installing new appliances, etc.


Moving from 1.5 acres in the country to a 50’ x 100’ lot in the city was a hard adjustment at first. It was even harder for my husband who grew up on a farm.


Over the past year and a half, I have grown accustomed to this little home and its surrounding areas, accepting its challenges and confinements.


But it was not until just recently that my heart has been overjoyed with our little home, our small patch of land and city sidewalk. In fact, I am so happy and content with it, my joy has spilled over to my husband.


I have gone up to him many times this past month, wrapped my arms around him, and told him I am SO happy to be his wife, SO happy to have this home, and SO happy to live in the city.


He has been affected by this outpouring of contentment from me, I believe, and he himself has begun to find purpose and fulfillment in his garage, tinkering with tools, fixing machines, etc. Whereas before, he missed his 1.5 acres immensely.


I have settled into my job, in a way, that has brought about a tremendous amount of peace. For there is no striving in my heart for a raise, for days off, for this, or for that.


And how did the Lord bless me? By giving me Friday’s off.


Through all of this, I have been changed. Something has happened not only to my heart, but to my outlook.


5. I gained a new perspective as I thanked the Lord for issues that popped up, instead of complaining about them, or even asking the Lord to change them.


Before my thankful project started, I looked at matters through foggy lenses, and interpreted circumstances as being against me, instead of for me.


Now the eyes of my heart see how the Lord works; he has been protecting me from things, versus preventing me from things.


The next story I’m about to share involves Facebook, and please note, I am not at all against Facebook, but the Lord has made it clear to me that He does not want me to use that platform for promotion of my website, blog, or shop.


One evening in May, the Lord began to quicken me with the thought of removing my website page from Facebook. What? Why? Seriously?


I cannot recall what initiated this thought, but nonetheless, it was there, and I took note of it… but did not act upon it.


A few days later, I wrote my blog post, A Simple Beautiful Life, and committed to starting “My Thankful Project.”


When I tried to share my new blog post on Facebook, it notified me that my website URL was blocked from Facebook.


A little shocked, but not thwarted, I tried to post it again.


Nope. Banned.


Why is my website URL blocked from Facebook?! This confused me at first, because there was nothing harmful, threatening, or offensive in my blog posts that would qualify my URL to get banned by Facebook.


The next morning, I tried to share my new blog post on Facebook again, thinking the night before was a fluke.


Nope. Banned.


My website was banned from Facebook! All my blog posts and any other post with my website URL on it was removed.


This stupefied me.


I spent some time looking into the reason behind this, but I could not find any answers, nor could I get any response from Facebook.


Over the next few days, I had started “My Thankful Project,” and began to thank the Lord for this situation, and asked Him for wisdom.


I came to understand full well that, for whatever reason, the Lord did not want me to promote my website on Facebook.


The reason why I started this blog came back to me, and it was to encourage the hearts of Christian women, not for the purpose of flaunting my website on Facebook.


Just because other people put their businesses, shops, and blog posts on Facebook does not mean I need to do that as well.


As I began to thank the Lord for removing me off Facebook, a huge burden lifted from me.


It was truly amazing. I had no idea having a page on Facebook was such a burden, but it was!


When I recognized this shift, it became clear to me, the Lord was protecting me, not preventing me from doing something.


Then I wondered what other areas of my life were being affected in this same way.


Were there areas that were overburdening me unnecessarily because I believed the Lord was preventing me from doing something instead of protecting me?


There is a prayer that goes up from time to time in our church and it goes like this, “Lord, please put your hedge of protection around them, protect them from harm, keep them safe…”


When you first hear this prayer, you interpret it is a prayer of protection from outside influences, but, as you consider yourself the person within the hedge of protection, you realize this prayer goes both ways.


The hedge of protection that surrounds us is the Lord Himself, and He protects us from things trying to gain access and come inside the hedge, such as harm, negativity, evil influences, etc.


But the Lord also protects us from going outside his hedge of protection, and this is where I was missing it.


My poor guardian angel must be working overtime, keeping me safe inside my hedge of protection, because I am a busy little girl! Who knows what else I have been protected from, and I misinterpreted it as Him preventing me!


I am SO thankful for the Lord’s protection on my life, over my website, and over my blog posts! For I see that His hedge of protection is surrounding these projects of mine.


There is nowhere else I would rather be but safely hid inside His hedge of protection!


Oh Lord, build that hedge about me and keep me safely tucked inside!


“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7.


The prayer that follows is one I wrote soon after starting “My Thankful Project.”

(Our church gathered in service for the first time the Sunday before, after being in quarantine for several months.)


Written on Monday, June 8, 2020


Father in Heaven,


I give You thanks on this new day, this precious gift You have given me. May I walk in the light of Your goodness all day long, a living testimony of Your ways and Your righteousness.


Thank You for giving me rest last night and waking me with a song of thankfulness. My weekend was simply beautiful and slow paced, giving me much time to read, think, and ponder upon Your Word.


Thank You for the songs that filled my heart this weekend. They brightened my days.


Thank You for meeting with our congregation yesterday morning. It has been a long time since we gathered for service. It was truly wonderful.


As I turn my attention towards You on this Monday, I want to thank You for my job, and thank You for the ways You will meet with me this week.


You are good and true, and Your gracious love is amazing. The mercy You show to people is astounding and incredible. We are constantly falling short, but You forgive us, and love us, despite our weaknesses.


May I glorify You in all I do.


Thank you, Lord, I bless Your name on this new day.


Amen.


Hopefully, you have been inspired to start your own thankful project!


My suggestion to you is, be ready, be rested, and prepare yourself, because it is an amazing journey!


“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Side Note: My Sun & Shade has been added to the Top 100 Christian Women Blogs, Websites & Influencers in 2020.


My Sun & Shade is #140 on the list!


 

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Thank you!


Blessings ~


My Sun & Shade




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Angie is a pastor's wife, grammie, office administrator, pianist, artist, and blogger. She is currently editing her 1st book to be released sometime this year. Follow her spiritual journey to attain God's highest purpose for her life, as she follows God's Biblical guide for Christian women.