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.
October 25, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: DevotionThen Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!” Ruth 1:8-13 NIV Naomi is a woman that is filled with loss and grief. She has l…
October 26, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: DevotionSo the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” Ruth 1:19-21 NIV When Naomi returned to Bethlehem, people were surprised to see her because she had been away so long. When people greeted her by name, Naomi replied that they should not call her Naomi. Instead, she told them to call her Mara because God had made her life very bitter. She had once been full, but now she was empty. Naomi’s pain was raw and her emotions were deep. In that moment, Naomi no longer knew who she was. She knew that she had once been Naomi – a woman blessed with a family. Now, she…
March 21, 2018by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion“After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.” Mark 1:14-18 NIV When I was a teenager, I read this passage in awe. I could not comprehend why the disciples would just walk away from everything they knew to follow Jesus. Of course I understood that Jesus was the Son of God, but when I read the passage literally, it sounded like Jesus just walked up to Simon and Andrew and said, “Hi. Nice to meet you. I am the Savior of the World. Follow me.” I couldn’t understand walking away from the life that I knew because I still thought that I was in …