capturing our blessings :: 30 :: precious gifts of different kinds

{left to right :: Rachel :: Jenny :: Rebekah :: Kristen}

A special thank you to my sweet sisters-in-law, Rachel, Jenny and Kristen for joining me this month in capturing our blessings. It was an honor to share in this daily project with you guys and you are all gifts to me - I am so thankful I get to share life with you as family!

 Below is a beautiful reflection from Kristen - I know you will be so blessed by her words and heart! Thank you for letting us share this project with you here! xo

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Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; 
his love endures forever.
-Psalm 118:1


Thank you.  Thank you, Lord, for what you have given.  The beauty of yellow leaves on the deepest green grass, the wild waves of the sea, sparkling in the sun. Thank you for the baby's yawn, and the joy of three-year-old arms wrapped around the neck.  Thank you for a five-year-old who asks countless questions and loves stories. Thank you for a warm house with a dog who snores and toots, and makes us giggle all the time. Thank you for the job you have given to my husband, and the journey you led him on to find himself in that job--a job he loves and is equipped to do well.  Thank you for bringing us home to our old, tiny little house. Thank you for the friends and family who have held us up so many times this past year.  Thank you for hope, for truth, for love, for grace, for growth. Thank you for hard times.  Oh, the hard times!  Heart-wrenching times, filled with stress, anxiety, depression, and clinging to one another and to you.  We do reach for you, so needy, so helpless, trying to be faithful.  You meet us there.  Thank you. And in times when all feels so right and settled, let us not take you or your gifts for granted.  Give us the grace and vision to be brave in new ways, emboldened by your great love and provision!  May we be brave in the ways we serve and love others and give our lives away for your glory, Lord.
~~~

It is such a gift to be posting to Rebekah's blog today--this blog that I love, created by a friend and sister-in-law that I love and admire and who loves me so well.  Thank you, Rebekah.  Did you know that Rebekah and I have known each other for over twelve years?  That we met at church and became friends over a shared love of singing and playing guitar and pouring our hearts out in worship of Jesus?  That we began hanging out before either one of us began dating our husbands?  There is a beautiful history of a true friendship forged between us, with truth-telling and confrontation, with heartaches and reconciliation, and being with each other as the tears roll down and deep comfort is given, and so much laughter, too.  Rebekah has one amazing sense of humor, and I don't think anyone can make me laugh quite like she can.  Rebekah and I both have sons born very close in age, and I have been pregnant alongside her twice; she can empathize with me and I with her, as we navigate the challenges and the joys of motherhood, and that is such a gift.  We connect on so much, and yet, we have our own unique stories and journeys.  We have some similar giftings, but God  has used and will use us to fulfill utterly unique purposes for his glory.  Rebekah, I will always  be full of gladness and gratitude that God had it in mind to make us sisters for life's journey!

~~~

So, we have been "capturing our blessings" this month, and I've been thinking about the beautiful gifts sprinkled throughout our days--there truly are so many.  Once the habit has been cultivated, it is increasingly easy to note these, to snap a photo of the beauty I've discovered around me in a moment, or make a little statement of a blessing that's been poured over my heart. But this year I've also been considering the gift of my struggles. How my messes and mistakes and failures and unresolved anxieties are also amazing blessings.


But they are also more deeply hidden.  I am quick to cover my failures, and often silent about my struggles. But Jesus has been faithfully leading me into a life of greater transparency, and given me the courage more often than not to bring my nervous and awkward heart into the light more often.  I am seeing more clearly and experiencing the value of my own risk-taking in regards to vulnerability and exposing what I think is ugly in me.  How strange it is to be weak in the presence of others, but to experience the most amazing surge of strength as my heart is met with understanding, empathy, love, and curiosity.  My heart is not always met with these things in the moment, but I still believe the transparency and the risk is worth it--because how else can God reveal his transforming work in me over time to others, unless I open my heart and expose who I am and who I hope to become?

~~~

As you have watched us four sisters-in-law share our blessings through photos this month, and many of you participating with us with beautiful and honest photos of your own, I hope that you would know that even as we celebrate the beauty in our lives, the challenges are there too, even our friendships with each other, precious and treasured as they are, are works-in-progress!  We are definitely still growing with each other, failing at times, blind to our mistakes at times, needing to confront in love at times, but all of that is a part of life, adding to its richness, and we know that grace abides.  Rachel, Jenny, Rebekah, and I all have our own stories, and I cannot tell my sisters' stories, but I sure do love to hear them, read them, and see the hand of God moving in all of them.  We also have our collective story as four sisters who love Jesus and are committed to walk the journey he has for us--as we raise our children, grow with our husbands, love our friends, serve with our gifts, and embrace the healing ministry of Christ, too.  I love you three dear beautiful women so very, very much!


I am grateful for the gift of the "Capturing Our Blessings" project this month because not only was I given the space to consider the joy-filled and beautiful moments and answers to prayer in my life, I was also reminded of the length ahead of me I still have to go...and how many answers to prayer are yet to come...and how much more beauty I will see cultivated as I continue to put my life in Jesus' hands, one day at a time.  In having my photos put up alongside my sisters' I also got to reflect each day on their journeys, their longings, and their blessings--on many days, seeing answers to my own prayers for their lives captured in their lovely photos!

~~~

My prayer for you as you read this is that you would know the precious gift of both your joys and your struggles, and that hope would be sparked in your heart--a hope that would turn into a blazing fire this holiday season.  As you consider the days before you, may you be filled with excitement, courage, and wonder--You are so deeply loved, and your life in Jesus' hands is and will ever become something immensely beautiful!  The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. -Psalm 145:13 


Merry Christmas!  With love, Kristen Gough

8 comments:

  1. Wow, I'm blown away by this thoughtful and thorough reflection...but that is so you Kristen, so I shouldn't be.

    I agree with your words of truth and beauty and feel honored to have been apart of this "capturing our blessings" exercise this year alongside the three of you!

    Love you all and love the work The Lord is doing in our lives.

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  2. Thanks to all four of you for carrying us all along on this journey. Its amazing how through just a small image we can see the beauty and depth of all of your lives. Its truly a gift.

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  3. I love so many lines in your post, Kristen, but this one is my favorite: "[H]ow else can God reveal his transforming work in me over time to others, unless I open my heart and expose who I am and who I hope to become?" Such a wonderful question. I am thankful for all four of you Gough ladies! xoxo

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  4. Dearest Kristin,

    I found myself in tears as I read these beautiful words that you wrote, nodding my head over and over again at how much I can relate to what you said.

    This paragraph especially spoke to me...
    " I am quick to cover my failures, and often silent about my struggles. But Jesus has been faithfully leading me into a life of greater transparency, and given me the courage more often than not to bring my nervous and awkward heart into the light more often. I am seeing more clearly and experiencing the value of my own risk-taking in regards to vulnerability and exposing what I think is ugly in me. How strange it is to be weak in the presence of others, but to experience the most amazing surge of strength as my heart is met with understanding, empathy, love, and curiosity. My heart is not always met with these things in the moment, but I still believe the transparency and the risk is worth it--because how else can God reveal his transforming work in me over time to others, unless I open my heart and expose who I am and who I hope to become?"

    Lately the Lord has been revealing to me more and more every day how my perfectionism keeps me from knowing Him and the people in my life in an intimate way. The day after my 34th birthday (last week), I told Erik that this is going to be the year that I let myself be messy + real. This is the year that I want to say goodbye to perfectionism for real. Reading your words inspires me, encourages me, and gives me strength as I embark on my own journey of being vulnerable + taking risks.

    Thank you thank you for sharing your heart here, sweet friend. It is so beautiful! I am praying for you...
    Love love love, Andi xo

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    Replies
    1. Andi,

      As I read this today, I thought of you and was hoping you read it as well. I'm not surprised to see that you were moved by the same words. I love how God works on hearts in the same way to bring us closer together.

      Kristin,

      I don't know you, but I've loved following the photos of capturing your blessings and have been reminded to really treasure all the beautiful moments in each day, even the ones that are hard. Your words really encouraged me. Thank you for sharing such deep truths.

      Nancy

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  5. Thank you ladies for sharing with us this journey of reflection, beauty and blessings. Its amazing how inspiring a set of sisters and their images can be xoxo

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  6. Hello, new follower here and I’d like to invite you to join me at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/12/Clever-Chicks-Blog-Hop-12.html



    I hope you can make it!

    Cheers,

    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

    ReplyDelete

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