Tuesday, March 11

LeAnne Stipp
"Simple Abundance"

It’s simple.  You slow down enough to pay attention, truly pay attention, to what’s happening around you or within you at any given moment, and you experience the peace of Christ and vivid glimpses of beauty and grace.  If only …

Instead, many of us race to keep as many balls as possible in the air and even toss one more up if no balls have come tumbling down lately. Eventually, we hit our max and pause long enough to rationalize our behavior and then vow to ourselves that we must slow down … smell the coffee … and not allow this to happen to us again. And then we do it again and again.

I find it hard to experience peacefulness, grace and life’s simple abundance with too many balls in the air and have learned that “paying attention” and being grateful for happy moments, disappointments, and heartbreaks takes practice and intentionality. I’m wired to keep moving, to get things accomplished, to have something to show for my time. But in so doing, I miss the opportunity of experiencing God’s constant presence in my life.

The peace of God is much more than a temporary absence of strife but rather, an inward calm that comes from the presence of the Holy Spirit. I feel an abundance of peace when I experience the seemingly little things. I call them “moments” or “nudges” from God. They happen when I least expect them or when I accidentally or purposefully slow down and pay attention. These “moments” fill my heart and transcend what’s going on externally in my life. They bring me true peace and contentment.

I paused recently to put words to a mere few of these moments …

conversations – worship  – music – long, brisk walks – giving an anonymous gift to a friend – finishing a road race – receiving a note from a friend – caring for an ill family member – wonderful neighbors – teamwork – prayer – receiving a smile from a stranger at just the right time – receiving an “I miss you!” text from my child in college – being gentle with myself – observing the brilliant colors of a sunrise or sunset – watching the rain – hearing and feeling a thunderstorm – having a friend “talk you off the ledge” – petting an animal – looking into the eyes of a child at the Renguti School in Kenya – gratitude for wounds that have healed – playing with a child – baptisms – blessings at mealtime – enlightenment – growing something from a seed – the colors of springtime – the colors of autumn – figuring out your passions – disappointments – the sound and sight of the ocean – soldiers being reunited with loved ones – morning birdsong – taking the scenic route – being there for someone – someone being there for me – being moved to tears – words of encouragement – a sudden fit of the giggles – success – defeat - love

The act of writing these down and reflecting on the gifts that are offered to us day-by-day was overwhelming and moving. These “simple” gifts have no boundaries or price tags. They are abundant and intended for all.

Lift in prayer today
Cookies for Kids Cancer, supporting pediatric cancer research