What does it mean to be free? What does it mean to simply be?
When I am asked to describe myself, I often reply that I am PWLawyerMom - I am a pastor's wife ("PW"), lawyer, and mom of three amazing kids. PWLawyerMom is an accurate description of my roles in society, but this is not who I am. I've been so consumed with "doing", that I have forgotten what it means to "be". This blog explores my journey as I find the freedom to simply be.
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GIving Thanks That Leaves Room For God
Giving Thanks That Leaves Room For God
By Beth Mabe Gianopulos
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:1-5 ESV
Have you ever had a bad year?
For me, 2014 was that year. It was the year I suffered a trauma that left me in shock and completely devastated.
When 2015 rolled around, I was attempting to live life again. In some ways, that was more painful because without the shock to protect me, I had no choice but to feel all the intense grief and pain.
As Thanksgiving approached, I felt anything but thankful. My heart was shattered, and I didn't know if I would ever feel joy or hope again. I was trapped in a pit of darkness and despair.
Despite my sadness, I knew that I wanted Thanksgiving to be special for my kids.
I bought a wooden tree, and the kids helped paint it green. We cut leaves out of construction paper, and placed them near the tree. We decided that in November, we would write what we were thankful for on the leaves and hang them on the tree.
My kids filled the tree with their thankfulness - they were thankful for bugs, family, friends, a favorite food, a beloved stuffed animal, and our cat.
As I watched the tree burst forth with fall colors and thanksgiving, I chose to be thankful in my heart. If my kids could be thankful for the smallest things, I could choose to be thankful for the blessings that had been showered upon me, even if my heart still felt empty and broken.
In the Psalms, you can follow David as he rages, grieves, praises and loves God. In Psalm 100, David instructs us to make a joyful noise to the Lord, to serve the Lord with gladness, and to come into his presence with singing.
We may not always
feel like thanking God, but if we
choose to be intentional in giving thanks, our hearts will open to God's healing.
Sometimes, we have to act our way into a new way of feeling.
Thankfulness is as much a choice as it is a feeling or emotion. In 2015, our family chose thanks. I hope that you will choose thanks this year.
It is so hard to be thankful when your heart is shattered. However, thankfulness is a choice, not a feeling.
I encourage you to find a visible reminder of the blessings you are thankful for. With time, the disciplined act of thanking God daily will help you act your way into a new way of feeling.
Jesus, thank you for the blessings you have poured upon us. Open our eyes and our hearts to all that we have to be thankful for. Give us strength to continue to thank you, even as our hearts are breaking. Bring healing to us as we thank you and praise your name. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
July 3, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “For I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:19-21 (NIV) Pain is something I would prefer to avoid. It doesn’t matter if the pain is physical, emotional, or spiritual – I do not want to feel pain. Despite my best efforts to avoid pain and to flee from it, I have endured a lifetime of pain in the past two years. When the pain is most intense, the feelings overwhelm me. I do not know what I want and I cannot think of anything that will ease the intensity of the emotions. My chest constricts and a heavy weight is on my heart. I want to curl into a ball and be alone, yet I want to be held and …
October 10, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” John 4:29 NIV We live in a world of labels. You may be known as "the pastor's wife," or perhaps you are known as "Jacob's mom". Some of you may be described by your profession, such as, “she is my doctor" or "my lawyer." You may also be known by the roles you serve in church, "she is the Sunday School teacher." Others that are reading this may be known by less flattering labels. You may walk around with the label that you are "a doormat" or "a flake." Perhaps you are labeled as "moody," "unpredictable," or as having "no morals." In John 4, Jesus met a woman at a well. When Jesus spoke to the woman, he knew her deepest, darkest secrets. He knew the labels that weighed her down, yet he talked to her. Jesus knew that she didn't have one hu…
September 19, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV A few weeks ago, I had one of those mornings. From the moment my alarm clock buzzed, I knew that it was going to be a bad day. I had tossed and turned all night because I was stressed about how to handle an issue at work. When my alarm went off, I hit snooze a few too many times. When I finally jumped out of bed, I realized that my three kids were also not ready. Because we were already behind schedule, I started yelling for everyone to hurry. I rushed into the kitchen to grab a coffee, but in my rush, I spilled coffee all over my shirt. I had to run back to my room to change clothes. When we got into the car, I told the kids that we were going to be late. As we drove to school, I looked down at my legs and realized that I had on a black skirt, navy blue tights and black shoes. I looked like a mismatched rainbow, and I had a presentation to give that mo…