God has truly blessed our family in so many big and small ways. When I stop and think about the amazing ways that he has provided for our family, I can't help but feel joyful.
However, sometimes when I'm having a rough day and my head is full of "don't have" thoughts, it's not so easy to feel joyful or thankful. You know the kind of thoughts I'm talking about. The ones that start with "But we don't have......" or "We can't even afford to....." or "But God why didn't you....".
I can get so focused on what I don't have that I miss everything that God has already given me. I can get upset by a flat tire or leaky radiator and I forget to be thankful for the blessing of having two vehicles. Or what about the hot water heater that keeps giving us grief? When I focus on the hot water heater, I can overlook the blessing of the house that God provided for my family when we didn't have a home.
It can be easy to let the circumstances of life dictate whether we feel thankful or not. Financial issues, car problems, job losses, illnesses, parenting issues and home repairs can cause us to not "feel thankful". But according to the Bible, we're not suppose to give thanks just when we feel like it. I Thessalonians 5:18 commands us to "give thanks in all circumstances". We must choose to give thanks in ALL things.....the good, the bad and the downright ugly things of life.
How is that possible? Because like Ann Voskamp wrote "We will give thanks to God not because of how we feel, but because of who He is." Yes, that's it. We can give thanks no matter the circumstances because God is in ultimate control of those circumstances. He has a purpose and a plan that we don't understand.
We have two choices: thanking God or rejecting God. When we whine and complain about our circumstances we are basically telling God that he doesn't know what he's doing. We're rejecting His authority over our lives and showing Him the door.
Who do we think we are? We have no business trying to tell God how our lives should go. We must surrender to His plan and walk through each valley and mountaintop choosing to give thanks. We cannot let the "things" of this world steal our thanksgiving. "If you let something steal your thanksgiving, you let something steal your joy, and if you let something steal your joy, you let something steal your strength" Ann Voskamp.
If we have no joy and no strength then we are in no position to make a kingdom impact. And isn't that why we're here in the first place? Don't get focused on the things in your life that aren't going the way you want. Instead CHOOSE to give thanks to your King, the Great I AM and choose to see all of the circumstances of life as tools that God is using to complete His work in you.
It's the day of the big game. Your team has worked hard all season and has made history. You've spent so many hours with your teammates, that many of them are like brothers to you now. Over the past few years, you've experienced amazing victories and some crushing losses. You've cried tears of joy and tears of sadness together.
I can't believe we've arrived at this moment already. As I think about this possibly being your last game of high school football, I want to roll back time. I want to go back and savor just a little bit longer each and every moment of watching you play the game that you love. But more importantly I want you to know that no matter the outcome, this game does not define you.
Winning this game will not make you a better person and losing this game will not make you less of a person. Your personal stats in this game do not define you. No matter what happens on that field tonight, I want you to remember something very important.... Christ is the one who defines you.
God has created you for an amazing purpose. A purpose that goes beyond the final score of tonight's game. He has blessed you with talent to bring glory to him. That's what defines you. The way you bring glory to Him in the wins and the losses on the field, in the classroom and in all areas of life. That's what defines you. The way you proclaim His name in the hallways of your school and in the end zone after the game. That's what defines you. The passion you have for being unashamed of the gospel is what defines you.
Enjoy every moment of tonight's game. No matter the score, take it all in. Play with all of your heart and passion to the very last tic of the clock. Be humble in victory and gracious in defeat.Walk off of that field knowing that you played every minute for the glory of God.
God has blessed me with 4 amazing children. Four amazing children who are all very different. Each one of them adds a different flair and personality to our family. I really couldn't imagine what our family would be like without each one of them.
Today we celebrate the life of the youngest Carlson. Tyler Levi Carlson came into this world 11 years ago, 5 days before he was scheduled to arrive. He bears the namesake of my great-grandfather but he is definitely one of a kind.
He is too smart for his own good and loves to make us laugh. There is definitely never a dull moment when he is around. Sometimes it can be a little scary because you don't know what he might say. He's rambunctious and always full of energy.
He's loved football all of his life. At a very young age he began learning sports facts and now he knows more about college and professional sports than most adults. He amazes us by how much he knows. You can ask him about most any college or pro football team and he will know the player's names, the coach's names, the team stats and records. If we are trying to think of a player's name or position we just ask Tyler.
I'm so glad that God brought this crazy, funny, hyper, loving little boy into our family. He definitely brings his own kind of crazy to the "Crazy Carlson's". I'm not sure what God has planned for him, but I know it's going to be something BIG and Extraordinary, just like him!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TYLER!!! WE LOVE YOU!!
Each November we try to make a point to focus on being thankful for the many blessings in our lives. God does so much for us each and every day. We want to make sure that we remember those things and not become discontent with our current circumstances. So this November in addition to our family "Thankful Tree", I'm participating in Ann Voskamp's "1000 Gifts".
I'm excited to expand my gratefulness and write down more blessings that God has given to me.
So here goes:
1st : pizza, cheese, chocolate
2nd: jeans, fleece pj's, shoes
3rd: Noah, nose, nails
4th: blankets after a football game, football for my son's birthday, God is good
5th: my wedding ring, a broach from my grandma,
As we walked across the field last night before the game, I was happy and excited. I wasn't emotional like I thought I would be. As they announced our family and as we shook hands with the principal & superintendent, the reality of the night didn't really sink in. I was so nervous about the outcome of the game that my brain couldn't go "there".
It couldn't go to that place of "this is the end, he's all grown up". It couldn't think about his days of playing high school football coming to an end. It just couldn't go "there". Not just yet. It's like a wall was put up around my emotions and all I could feel was excitement and pride for my son. As the principal shook my hand and told me "You have a fine young man", that pride grew a little bigger. As I heard the superintendent congratulate Christian and honor him, that pride grew even bigger. As I looked out at the stands and saw so many friends & family who love and support my son, I felt like my heart would burst with pride.
But a funny thing happened in the fourth quarter of the game. The wall around my emotions began to come down. The reality of "Senior Night" hit me and I felt this wave of emotion come flooding in. As I watched my son play one of the toughest games of his life with so much heart and passion, I felt the tears of joy and tears of sadness begin to roll down my cheeks. I thought my heart would literally burst with love and pride for this young man that I'm so privileged to call my son.
As the game ended, I watched him fall to his knees, raise both his hands in the air and let out a victory yell. He had given everything he had through that entire game...EVERYTHING.....physically and emotionally. He left everything out on that field. When he came up to his dad after the game, he hugged him so tightly and through his tears he said "We did it Dad. We won."
That win was a very sweet victory for Christian and the entire city of Tipp.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.