Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: December 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

25 Days of Christmas Kindness: Part 2

8: I haven't had this bad of a day since I first started treatment last winter.  I was on the verge of a panic attack, severely lacking in sleep and extremely discouraged.  I was able to talk with my dad though and he encouraged me to do something with my other gifts instead of lament that I cannot run right now.  So I texted a good friend a message about my gratitude and thankfulness for her.  I still felt like I was falling apart by the time my head hit the pillow, but my heart was more at ease that I at least made it through the day.

9: Unfortunately, stress took over and I didn't go out of my way to help anyone.  Bad Hannah! :(

10: God put something right in front of me that I could do for someone else.  It just happened to be extremely undesirable.  It was a great chance to get my heart focused in the right place, but I struggled with not being bitter about it afterwards.

11: I had a similar opportunity to yesterdays', only today: I totally blew it.  I got mad about it and voiced my disgust that I had to do said "chore" in the first place.....not a good representation of Christ.  Thankfully, I was able to make things right after the fact.

12: Today was another "cheat" day, where my act of kindness was a prearranged gathering.  However, it was still really neat to do and I enjoyed finding something that someone else would particularly like.

13: Sunday was hard.  I figured it would be easier after the pastor's sermon recapping our series in Romans; the message really resonated with me.  But, I found myself late into the evening without any deliberate act of kindness.  So, I chose to use the digital world for my kindness of the day. My heart wasn't in it though.  I think I kind of expected to get kindness back, and that was my main motivation.  I'm glad God showed me that, though.  Definitely something I need to work on.

14: This was a hard day for me.  A really hard day.  I tried to encourage other people, because that's my go-to when I feel extremely discouraged.  But it was a short trip to a record store, Christmas shopping with friends that cheered me up.  My friends were there when I received some really bad news, and I was amazed at the love and support they gave.  I felt so grateful for that kindness.  So, perhaps today was a receiving day...I'm learning that those are really necessary as well.  :)


If you're new to my blog or this particular series, check out Part 1, HERE.  Stay tuned for next week's post.  Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 12, 2015

25 Days of Christmas Kindness: Part 1

I'm starting a series of Christmas giving.  Each day I will go out of my way to help someone else.  The point isn't to talk about the "good things" I'm doing, so for most days, I will leave that out.  Rather, I'll focus on my heart attitude surrounding that day's act of kindness.  I think it's time I put less focus on the ABC Family "25 Days of Christmas" and more focus on sharing Christ's love this season.  So I'll be posting roughly every week and I hope you'll consider taking the challenge with me.  Get a notebook or start a Word doc. and see what God does in your heart this season.  Merry Christmas and enjoy reading about my 25 Days of Christmas Kindness:

1: Ok, I just made this commitment.  I should probably stick to it.  But I am so tired....Alright, I gave someone grace in a little thing they did that bothered me.  Does that count as a "good deed?"  Can it please count?  I'm so stressed.

2: Today, I gave someone permission to use something of mine and definitely had a hard time following through with it.  I keep wanted to rescind that offer and it's only been a few hours.  I definitely need to keep my mind fixed on Christ with this one-- my fleshly nature is screaming "be selfish!"

3: It's only the third day and I already failed my challenge.  I don't remember going out of my way to specifically help someone on this day.  It's a good wakeup call regarding my own intentions and how I spend my time.  It's easy to get stressed out about my final exams-- which was the case on this day, when I had miniscule "free" time all day-- and forget that if I'm that stressed, other people must be feeling that way too!  I need to get outside my own little world.

4:  Didn't do anything this day...I'm starting to think I'm not very good at this "selfless giving" thing.

5: Today was good, it was from the heart and I felt really good about it.  I learned that a small gesture goes a long way,  and everyone loves a good cup of tea :)

6: Ok, this was by far the most fun act of giving yet.  All the Butler athletes wrapped up shoebox gifts for local children.  It was so enjoyable to do, but it also made me wonder how much of my selfless acts I've been doing for other reasons.  Whether it be "fun" or to feel good about ourselves, it's so easy to get away from the real motivation to show love towards others.

7: Mondays are rough, really rough.  But I set myself a reminder to go out of my way to help someone, and I was able to do so by encouraging a friend by listening to their struggles, even when I really didn't want to.  I can't imagine how Jesus listens intently to the trials and pains of everyone in the world, but I wanted to have His heart as I related to my friend.


I could blame exams or my cold or my injury, but the truth is: This week showed me that my heart is quick to focus on myself and in need of a spiritual tune-up.  My struggles should be motivating me to love others even more, because I know how difficult things might be for them.  I'm really appreciating this 25 days already!  Check out the next week's segment (part 2) HERE.


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Thursday, December 10, 2015

When the Trials Keep Coming

Sometimes, you're 20 years old and it feels like the world is falling apart.  And you're not quite sure how you got there, but you tuck your knees in and brace for the brokenness of your own humanity.

Sometimes, when you're 20 and your world's falling apart, you listen to praise-and-worship music and watch funny cat videos.  But the pain doesn't cease and you just want to cry until your head doesn't hurt and your heart doesn't ache.

You want to shake the nausea that is sweeping over you, because you feel helpless and tiny and scared.  You want to be nourished with hugs, fed with hope.  You want tangible love.  Most of all: You want to be okay with the radical spinning out of control.  But you're not.

Because, when you're twenty and it feels like your world's falling apart, you want a big hug from daddy and the comfort of your stuffed bunny.  You want to steal back the innocence, make the constant motion stop.

Don't lost hope.

I know you wonder how you can survive.  You wonder how a life filled with such sorrow can be endured.  Surely we humans cannot withstand the magnitude of pain that sometimes engulfs our hearts.  By what strength can you raise your head when you feel so crushed?

I ask these questions because I know how it feels.  I know the feeling of despair at my own failure.  I know the fear of backsliding to where I once was.  I know the bitterness and loneliness and self-pity and desolation.

I know the overwhelming dread of the weight of sin-- dread because the eye can see its power.  And we cringe at its possibility.  In my 20 years, I've been bound by enough shackles to confine thousands.  And I don't want to go back.  And I know I'm not the only one with that fear welling up in my heart.  I know I'm not the only one who is going after trial through trial, pushed to the limit.  I'm not naive enough to think I'm the only one.

But, my friends, we cannot give up.  We cannot cut ourselves off from the world and lament in the darkness.

We 20 year olds are the generation the Lord is raising up to change the world.  We are beacons of hope, as dimly lit as we are.  Even if your candle is but a lick of a flame, you still illuminate the darkness around you.

This dread of sin and pain of the moment does not compare to the future glory that is in Christ Jesus.  And that glory floods us even now.  Now, when the trials come back to back like winds of a roaring hurricane. Now, when 20 years old feels like a small blip, from which you have nothing to show for.

The nausea will pass.  The pain will subside.  You will- eventually- stop crying.

Your body will be healed and your spirit will be mended, all in the Lord's timing.

When you're 20 years old and it feels like your world is falling apart, there's no choice but to press on.  You are a warrior child, one who does not give up in the battle- not because of YOUR strength, but because of His.  So embrace your brokenness, but look to the Healer.  Look to Him, because He will come riding in and comfort your soul in all things.

Grab your stuffed bunny, call home and strengthen your resolve.  As low and as dark as it may seem, you will see light of day and your little candle will keep shining in the meantime.
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