Before the New Year Begins: Gratitude

Patches make up a quilt and people make up a life.  The love you have inside and from above needs a place to run free.   Potential love is just that.  The beauty of love is in the giving and receiving.  The beauty of the quilt is in the many patches.

So much beauty and goodness took place in 2016.  My marriage made progress.  I wrote 2/3 of a book.  I learned a lot about myself and made peace with my “weaknesses.”  One of my kids broke free from anger and food addiction.   Good friends became even closer friends.  I even hiked a mountain for a good cause.

All of this came to a crashing halt in November.  While tucked in the top bunk in a cabin at my daughter’s spiritual retreat, I started to feel shooting pain in a few of my teeth.  My first thought was, Darn, I should have gotten those two cavities filled.  The pain progressed to incapacitating over the next few days.  The kind of pain where you don’t move, don’t eat and barely sleep.  It turned out to be a malfunctioning nerve on the left side of my face.

My life slowed down of course.  I had days home from work.  I made it a point to sleep eight hours.  I covered up in warm clothes and blankets and asked God to come meet me in deep places.  He did and I began to feel closeness and togetherness and covering in a cheek to cheek way.  The pain eventually subsided and I am much better.

More came crashing down in early December.  I reached to turn off the alarm clock and noticed my body was shaking – – whether it was on the inside or the outside, I could not tell.  I self assessed as I walked to the laundry room in the dark.  On my second pass, I asked my husband to take the kids to school and barely made the walk back to bed.

I didn’t move or think for the next five hours.  The long term push of my everyday life finally put me out.  Three hours into my trance of exhaustion, I received this text (in part) from my friend Debbie and found the strength to cry.

But you beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.  Jude 1:20-21

About a year ago, my best friend Nathalie suffered from burn out.  After reading a few articles on the signs of burn out, I sent a text to Nat asking her about her experience.  Despite our six hour time difference, she stopped everything and called me.  I hadn’t cried out loud like that in a long, long time.  Like the good sister and mother she is, she let me cry until quiet fell.  And, then, like the good sister and mother she is, she got down to business.

She did the leading while I wrote a list.  The list comprised of five things I would give up or delegate for my well-being.  She challenged me to focus on the essentials for a few months.  Eating, drinking, sleeping and exercise.  If something doesn’t actually need to be done, don’t do it.  She pointed out that the fantasy super woman is actually a made up wonder.  The fantasy is not attainable even when you have the best of intentions.

I started by saying that quilts are made of patches and lives are made of people.  In November and December, my life was held together by the patches that were passed to me.  Here are my patches of gratitude.

You are the most exceptional individual I know on the face of this earth.  Stop all this crazy #$%* you are doing, NOW.  –Nathalie

Your body and mind can’t keep up with your heart.  Realize that the small things are mighty in His eyes. – Christina

I have been thinking about you and praying for you.  I know you are going through so much right now.  I am hoping you are feeling a little better and I know you are holding onto Jesus.  Is there anything I can do for you? A meal?   Coffee somewhere?  Let me know.   –Lynn

Praying and hoping that things are better for you.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 – Susie

Stay strong.  -Jenny

The notifications on my phone have been off for exactly one month.  My friend Suzanne has covered for me at work almost as many times as I can count on my fingers.  Isaiah has given me a gift that continues to lead me to wholeness.

There will be no limits to the wholeness He brings.  Isaiah 9

There has been another sister who let me into her deep.  She let me into her own wounds so that I could bleed myself.  She heard me, stayed with me and let me know it is okay to be in the grey.

The patches kept coming . . .

The hearts of the old testament Israel looked like my sad, scattered desktop.  Truth be told, we all have hearts so easily distracted and forgetful . . . We need constant reminders of who God is and who we are.  –She Reads Truth, Advent Bible Study, 2016

After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High.  The sacrifice was done.  It was – and still is – finished.  Meanwhile, we just can’t seem to sit still.  We think there is more to do.  –She Reads Truth, Advent Bible Study, 2016

The last two months have hurt as badly as the time in which I grieved for the loss of my dad.  As Christmas approached, an unexpected gift came.  Seven years to the month after my dad’s passing, my aunt delivered my dad’s bible to me after a long trip from north to south.  I sat with my kids in bed looking at my dad’s handwriting and highlights, putting back in pages that slid out as we turned them.  The unexpected gift reminded me that He does not forget and He is never late to deliver.  His peace worked in me to bring wholeness before and His peace is working in me to bring wholeness now.

The beauty of the quilt is in the many patches.

When you don’t know where to begin and you’re at the end of yourself, you get to be where all of God begins.  What you always need most is need.  -Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way

The love you have inside and from above needs a place to run free.   Potential love is just that.  The beauty of love is in the giving and receiving.  This is the foundation of my end of the year Gratitude.

As always, there are a few patches that are too personal to tell.  The first patch is for my mother who I say a thousand thank yous – -although she would never ask for a single one.  The second patch is for you who said you are sorry for the last two months.  I remain confident of this: We will see the goodness of God in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13

The beauty of love is in the giving and receiving.  I was gifted silent prayers of brothers and sisters.  There were times over the last two months that I had no strength to lift my head.  But it was lifted anyway.  I account this to the prayers of my friends and family.  This the foundation of my end of the year Gratitude.

Prayer is essential in ongoing warfare.  Pray hard and long.  Pray for your brothers and sisters.  Keep your eyes open.  Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.  Ephesians 6:13-18

Patches make up a quilt and people make up a life.  It is the people that make up my life.  I learn good lessons from their gifts of love.  It is okay to be in the grey.  It’s not okay to run my body into the ground.  It’s good to ask for help.  It’s even better to give and receive in your need.  His peace worked in me to bring wholeness before and His peace is working in me to bring wholeness now.  There is no limit to the wholeness He will bring.

Sometimes- some things have to break all apart so better things can be built.  I nod. Never be afraid of broken things.  It’s the beginning of better things.  The best yields always start as broken fields.  -Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way

4 thoughts on “Before the New Year Begins: Gratitude

  1. So proud of your accomplishments within the past year! You have much to celebrate, and we celebrate with you. And it’s no accident as you were enjoying those answered prayers that you were hit with another challenge in your life. But what I’ve come to know and believe is that if God allowed it, there is a purpose. And He will use it for good! And I’m so happy to hear that while you could have easily been bitter and angry, you saw the silver lining and continue to have gratitude. Will be praying for your strength, energy, and health to be restored.

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  2. Cindy Read

    Dear Sasha… what beautiful words from such a beautiful soul! Thank you for your transparency and for your gift of blending God’s goodness, purpose & hope in all of your experiences this year… it encourages my heart and blesses my soul! … “THERE IS NO LIMIT TO THE WHOLENESS HE WILL BRING”… thank you my dear, talented, beautiful, smart and amazing friend 💙

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