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July 3: A gift in faith, family, freedom

  • #113: My gift in faith was when God helped me to believe that He would sustain me through 8 counseling sessions over 12 hours. This is the first time that I have ever seen that many clients in one day since I started working at GWC. Not only did God enable me to persevere, but He blessed me with some incredible counseling moments. Thank you God for how you are using my work to grow my faith and for how you have graciously and generously invited me to join you in this beautiful, transformation work that You do in our lives. I love this work and I love sharing it with You even more!
  • #114: My gift in family was encouraging and loving words at the start of my day and relaxed conversation and sharing at the end of my day. It's such a blessing to have my family as roommates this second time around. I appreciate their company and perspective so much more than I ever did when I was growing up.
  • #115: My gift in freedom happened when I got to share my faith with someone who had just visited church for the first time. I am thankful that I can practice my faith openly in this country and even incorporate it into my work.

July 4: A gift in red, white and blue

  • #116: My red gifts came in the form of freshly cut tomatoes on my sandwich and juicy watermelon after dinner.
  • #117: My white gift was whipped cream atop my cafĂ© vanilla Frappuccino.
  • #118: Sunscreen was another white gift that protected my skin as I floated down the river in a tube yet again.
  • #119: My blue and white tube is another great gift that I enjoyed today.

July 5: 3 gifts of persistence

  • #120: When I wanted to give up right after I started thinking about estimating my 2012 taxes and my mom encouraged me to call a tax accountant and get some advice. These parts of being self-employed often provoke me to feel incapable, insecure and worried. Getting help is a gift that helps me to persist when I feel this way.
  • #121: My parents. Come what may, they keep loving God wholeheartedly and seeking Him first in their lives. It's inspiring to see how faithful they are and have been.
  • #122: Serving the LORD by night. Even though our Nightwatch only goes until 1 AM and only once a week, I know that this chunk of time on Thursday nights is precious to God. He is so good to share Himself with us as we persist in prayer.

#123: A new book: Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis and Beth Clark. This is the incredible story of a woman who quit her life to love orphans in Uganda. Here is an excerpt from her book that really caught my attention today:

"Every day I have spent in Uganda has been beautifully overwhelming; everywhere I have looked, raw, filthy, human need and brokenness have been on display, begging for someone to meet them, fix them. And even though I realize I cannot always mend or meet, I can enter in. I can enter into someone's pain and sit with them and know. This is Jesus. Not that He apologizes for the hard and the hurt, but that He enters in, he comes with us to the hard places. And so I continue to enter."

This is exactly what makes for good counseling: when I can enter into my client's pain and sit with them and know. But, even more profound for me is the realization that this is what makes for a joy-filled life because, as Katie says, "This is Jesus." This is how I can be assured of joy regardless of my circumstances. I can count on Jesus to take my hand and come right with me into my hard and my hurt. And even if He does not instantly mend my wound or meet my needs, I can be confident that He will quiet me with His love and give me joy in His presence.

This is when I like to picture how Ann Voskamp describes Jesus in these moments of our lives:

"Only the Word is the answer to rightly reading the world, because the Word has nail-scarred hands that cup our face close, wipe away the tears running down, has eyes to look deep into our brimming ache, and whisper, 'I know. I know.' The passion on the page is a Person, and the lens I wear of the Word is not abstract idea but the eyes of the God-Man who came and knows the pain." One Thousand Gifts

Don't you want to know this One and be known by Him? I do. Especially, in the hard places of my life.


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