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Reflections of Gratefulness

This time of year, many of us will sit and contemplate what we are thankful for... The trend is to just list items or people -- and there's nothing wrong with that. But I thought I would take a different approach and reflect back on things that have happened to me over these last two years.

I guess my first reflection would be back to the spring of 2012: when God helped get my life back on track. It had been over 6 years since I had attended church, and the lack of fellowship was beginning to wear thin (although I didn't realize that at the time). Like a frog in a slowly boiling pot of water, I was sinking deeper and deeper into a very dark, forboding place. My "little" pet sin -- which was neither little nor cute -- had really gotten a hold of me, and I reached a point where I actually scared myself, wondering if there was any coming back.

Luckily, God is not surprised by these situations, and He was waiting patiently for me to realize that I needed to turn back to spending more time with Him. I have often described this moment as God seeing me go down a railroad track, leading to darkness and despair, and picking me up off of that track, laying me on another He had waiting for me, then pushing me forward to start up again. This push came in many forms, and the track led to many new places that I was not expecting.

The first, most immediate, and apparent, desitination was a local church. After those 6 long years, and still prominent fears of not trusting "church leaders," I made a decision overnight that I wanted to visit a church two of my friends attended. After a few short weeks, that became my new church home.

I am very grateful for the new family this has presented to me. Many of the church members often forget that I have only been there for a year and a half or so -- it's very funny when they mention something from before my joining, and I have to remind them that I have no idea what they're talking about. God has blessed me by placing me with a group of people that truly are like family -- willing to listen, gracious and supportive, and loving.

My next destination was to finally embrace what I have wanted to do for many years since leaving my previous church -- to pursue media production with the intention of furthering God's Kingdom either directly or indirectly. That meant having the time and money to invest in equipment, software, graphics, and the like. God has been very gracious to provide resources for me to pursue these dreams -- as well as the energy to learn, grow, and work, despite a long-term illness that I still deal with to this day.

Almost simultaneously, He showed His sense of humor by having me get back in touch with a friend from my childhood that I had only seen briefly over the last 18 years. That would be my friend, Greg Joyce, and the sense of humor I speak of is that Greg was already doing something I wanted to pursue: podcasting. Through our reintroduction, I met Brian Nelms, who has become a dear friend, and also have been blessed to work with both of them on Still Ripples in the technology/logistics area.

For all of this, I am most grateful and thankful. Even when it seems like you are "down for the count," God is still there -- waiting. Waiting for you to turn your eyes upon Him and realize that He has never left you. Like He has done for me, He has people in your life with great purpose. Sometimes it might be people from your past, or people in your life right at this moment that you have ignored. Sometimes -- most times -- you won't even realize how God is shaping things for you until a great amount of time has passed, if ever. But He is still there, laying down the track He has for your life, preparing to set you back on the proper path should you wander.

I know that this post has meandered and wandered a great deal, but let me close with this: if all of that sounds strange to you, if you don't know God or understand how He could have any interest in loving you or planning things out for your life, if you don't know the Savior whose birth we celebrate this month, then please find a local church, pastor, or Christian friend to talk to. Ask them to tell you about Jesus Christ -- and listen. Really listen. It will make all the difference in your world.

God bless you.

If you'd like to share what God has done in your life, please comment below or post in this Discussion Forum (free registration required). We'd love to hear from you.

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