Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Family Project

When I started this blog years ago it was dedicated to two things: getting my physical body healthy and growing spiritually.  I don't think that goal has changed, but I no longer felt the need to check in on the physical stuff in this forum.  I'm healthier than I have been since high school.  I've maintained that for over a year.  Sure, I tend to fluctuate a bit throughout the year.  I'm not immune to the holidays or to end of year (defined as post spring break-end of school) stress eating. But it stays in check.  And it stays in check because exercise and being mindful of what I put in my body has become a way of life, not a project.  So, I may still make an occasional post related to the physical part (I have one on body image already brewing in my brain), but for the most part the focus of this blog going forward will be on trying to process, articulate, and share what God is teaching me.

A couple of Sundays ago, on my birthday, I had one of those amazing moments when I knew God was telling me to do something.  I love those moments.  We were having family prayer time during our morning service at church and I was praying over Paris.  In particular, I was praying that God would help me teach her how to trust in Him to meet her needs.  Paris is, well, a fairly negative person.  Her first inclination in any situation that is slightly out of her control or contrary to the plan she had in her head is to freak out, meltdown, and get angry (usually at me).  Part of that is due to her Asperger's.  I realize and accept that God made her brain and body to work differently than mine.  I can't change that.  What I can do, and should do, is not accept the idea that she can't grow and change in how she views the world she lives in.  Paris doesn't believe the way she thinks can change.  I know better.  God has changed the way I think, and he can certainly do that for her too.  So, I sat there on that Sunday praying that God would help me teach her that if she is relying on Him, she doesn't have to be in control - a concept that I know from experience will greatly reduce the amount of anxiety she feels on a daily basis. I wasn't even expecting an answer really since I was asking for assistance in the journey and not for a specific need to be met. What I got was an image in my mind of a project for our entire family to do this summer.

We are going to make a family eucharisteo board.  I love that word. Eucharisteo.  It's like a sigh in my mind.  If you aren't familiar with eucharisteo I recommend reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  Here are a few quotes from the book (p.32-33) to give you the idea:

Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning "joy."
Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks.
Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the euCHARisteo - the table of thanksgiving.
We are making a giant chalk board to document our daily thanks for the many gifts God gives us.  Each of us in the family will get a different colored chalk and we will write on our board daily.  At the end of the summer I will seal it and we will hang it in our breakfast nook above the window to the back porch.
Not the best pic, but you can see the empty spot we are going to fill with God's provision.
I don't think I would ever have dreamed up this project on my own.  What God reminded me of as this plan rolled through my mind is that trusting Him fully is dependent on understanding that He has already given us everything.  If He takes care of the little things, He can take care of the big things. I think my little people (and probably the big ones in our house too) need a visual reminder of the gifts God gives us every single day. 
When I laid this plan out to the family everyone was on board. Easy started figuring out how to build the chalkboard and how he would hang it.  Vivi gave an excited clap.  Tripp gave a big thumbs up with an accompanying happy sound effect. Mom and Dad wanted to know if they could write on the board (which of course they can any time they want to). Paris asked," But what if we don't have anything that day.". Well Sweet P, that is exactly why we are doing it.  So we can be reminded that even on what feels like the worst day ever God still provides for us.
Today I received affirmation that this indeed is what God wants us as a family to do. The following scripture was part of the reading for my Bible study:
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. - Ephesians 3:16
Imagine my surprise when my exact sentiment is right there, already in scripture.  Join me as I pray for my family that as we make a physical list of the limitless gifts God provides to sustain our joy, that we will all be empowered with inner strength through the Spirit; casting aside fear and anxiety for the gift of peace and joy.

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