Monday, September 26, 2011

Sara Chose Joy

Most of us can easily breeze through a list of things that we're grateful for and a lot of the things on my list would be things that are on your list.  God has been so gracious and giving to us that we all know we have been blessed.

We don't often consider that the things in our lives that hurt or refine or strengthen us, are blessings to be thankful for.  This week I've been pondering the things that have not necessarily felt like blessings, but have turned out to be just that.  If we consider that tough times are an opportunity to move closer to Him and to hear from Him, then we cam look back and see how He caused all things to work together for good.

Sara Gitzen
This week, the world lost a dear soul, Sara Gitzen.  Sara was a young woman who reached countless readers with her messages of hope and joy.  And she did it all from her sick bed.  I would encourage you to hop on over to her site, Choose Joy, and read back through her previous posts.  As she journeyed through a life of illness and severe pain, she taught us all how to let God into each moment and how to choose joy in each moment of life.

How could she sit in her home, day after day, longing to be able to go outside and to be pain free for just a time and still choose joy?  How could she be grateful for life and encourage others to look for the joy in their lives?  I will let her tell you that in her own words.  I just know that as she stepped from this life into the next, she was free, she could breathe, she had no more pain and she met her Lord with full joy, leaving behind a legacy of people who have been touched by her life, her love and her spirit!

So today, I reflect on things that may have been painful to me in this life; things that I didn't think I could bear, but afterwards brought blessings and joy.

59.  For the life, spirit, love, joy and peace of Sara Gitzen.  Her message has strengthened many.


60.  For the times when married life has been hard.  We have gained a better marriage for it.
61.  For the times when I have lost jobs.  God opened other doors I never would have seen.

62.  For the times when I had to rely on God for our next meal.  My faith grew & I saw the faithfulness  of His provision.

63.  For a painful rift in a relationship with a loved one.  Old wounds were healed and a stronger friendship was born.

64.  The rebellion of children.  When they came home, I got to experience the return of the "Prodigal Son" and my relationship with them was deeper than ever.

65.  My husband's job took him out of town for a year and a half and I thought I would die of loneliness. But I met and made a new best friend who has blessed my life immeasurably.  I would never have met her if my husband had not been gone.

Can you think of times in your life that have been hard; times when you thought you would break.  But now, looking back, you can see the blessings that came from those times? These are not maybe the typical things that you would put on a list of things that you are thankful for, but they are indeed precious gifts that came out of the ashes of tests and trials.

Take some time and hop on over to Ann Voskamp's site, One Thousand Gifts to see what others are thankful for today.




From His lap,

32 comments:

  1. Sara is amazing. And I say "is" because she is still here, through all of the people she has touched.
    I have had many difficult times in my life, but have consciously made the decision to choose joy. There are definitely days I forget, like when the monthly bills sit on my desk to be paid, but I am so thankful and grateful for all that I have, I know each day is given to me as a gift and choose to unwrap each gift with joy, giddiness and LOVE.
    Thanks so much for your post today, it was a reminder on a difficult day.
    I'm visiting from vB.
    -Staci

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  2. This is so true! Our deepest trials can be our biggest triumphs....if we patiently wait upon the Lord.

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  3. So very true! Our second son had a rare deformity called gastroschisis which we discovered at our 12 week ultra sound. The entire pregnancy was filled with fear and at the same time an amazing strength I never knew I possessed. The journey ended with a healthy, happy, baby and a family brought closer together!

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  4. Staci,
    You are so right!! Sara is in the hearts of those she touched and her joy is carried on forever! Thank you so much for stopping by!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  5. Standing for something,
    Amen and amen!
    ~Erin

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  6. Andrea,
    That is wonderful. You found strength you never knew you had until you went through your scare! I'm so glad your son is healthy!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  7. This is amazing! I like your posting.

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  8. Thank you, Jedidja! I pray you are mightily blessed this week.
    ~Erin

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  9. Actually, my wife and I are experiencing one of those difficult times now. Our nine year old son (the eldest of four children) has T-Cell Lymphoma. He faces a two year road of treatment. We know God has His purpose for everything, and already during this storm we've seen His hand at work.
    Thanks for sharing...

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  10. Bryan,
    I pray that the Lord wraps His arms around your precious family and that you feel His strength, peace, love and joy. You will see Him at work even more during this storm.
    I pray blessings for you!
    ~Erin

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  11. Your post meant so much today. I wish I had read it earlier as I, too, would have joined you in listing the hard things -- the dark and painful places that I know thank Him for. Thank you for this post today. I am even more dedicated to my decision to choose joy, no matter what!

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  12. Cora,
    You will be blessed mightily for seeking joy in the hard places. I'm so glad my post blessed you!
    Hugs!
    ~Erin

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  13. I needed this reminder today. My heart smiled reading through your list of gratitudes. Thank you for blessing me today. Stopping by from vB.

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  14. Hi Erin - that's so what Ann Voskamp's book is all about, finding the thanks in the hard stuff. Great post, showing us how to do this practically.
    God bless and have an awesome week further.
    Tracy

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  15. Thank you for introducing Sara. I will definitely check it out. I love your lists.

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  16. Erin, thanks for the beautiful tribute! Sara is an amazing daughter of God. What joy she must be feeling right now! Life is truly a miracle, and when lives touch other lives for good, the miracle is increased.

    I had a hard time reading Sara's posts, because I have been 'blessed' with the same aliment. I pray I can be as courageous as she was!

    Your list is inspiring, thanks for your friendship!

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  17. THANK YOU for introducing me to Sara. She's such an inspiration - a life well lived. I am thankful for my friend, Erin!
    Dianne

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  18. Tracy,
    Don't you just love that book! Sara LIVED it!
    I love you, Tracy!
    ~Erin

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  19. Lisa,
    Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm so glad that my post blessed you. It's difficult to look at the hard stuff in life as blessings, I know!
    Hugs!
    ~Erin

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  20. Becky Jane,
    You are so strong and courageous. I am so blessed by you daily! I'm glad you got to read about Sara. She lived what we believe!!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  21. Becky,
    I'm so glad you stopped by! I know that you will be blessed by reading Sara's words! Let me know what you think!
    Blessing,
    ~Erin

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  22. Dianne,
    I'm so glad you got to read Sara's words. I know they will bless you forever! She's dancing on streets of gold now!
    I love you!
    ~Erin

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  23. Hi Erin! I'm really enjoying reading your gratitude list. And this one really hit a nail. To be thankful of the hard times because they open doors is a very difficult thing to do. Yet, with a little faith and distance, we're able to see how strong we can become. Thanks for introducing me to Sara's story...I am touched.

    Gina from vB
    www.totallyfullofit.com

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  24. It's always so sad to see someone so young pass, but at least now there is no pain, and she is with her daddy :)

    Stopping by from Members to Remember from VB!

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  25. I just stumbled across Sara's site two weeks ago and have followed the posts leading up to her passing. She seemed to be such a beautiful and joyful person, in spite of her pain, and the way her life turned out (not what she had planned or hoped for). It is so hard to remember the joys in life when we are enduring hardships. But God gives us blessings through it all. We just have to open our eyes to them. Love, love, love these gratitude posts. :)

    Blessings,
    Rosann

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  26. Gina,
    It is hard to be grateful for the hard times and we usually don't see the blessings until we're well past those times! Thank you so much for stopping by!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  27. Laura,
    I know that Sara is celebrating right now. I'm glad to know that she's no longer suffering and I'm grateful for all that she taught us on choosing joy!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  28. Rosann,
    Wasn't Sara's life a blessing to all of us?? I am so grateful for her life and for what she taught us about lookin for the blessings in the middle of the pain!
    Hugs,
    ~Erin

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  29. I absolutely think that everything in life is part of God's plan. Love that we can all learn from those things and see the greater good that came from them. Sara sounds like quite the lady. I'll have to check out her blog. May she rest in peace now. Stopping in from vB MTR!

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  30. Michelle,
    I hope you enjoy reading Sara's blog. I believe it will bless you mightily. Thank you so much for stopping by!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  31. What amazing faith! Joy in the midst of the darkest of circumstances. Her ministry will not die with her...I am certain God will multiply it many times over.

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  32. Shannon,
    God has used her mightily and her ministry will go on! She has touched the lives of so many.
    Hugs, sister!
    ~Erin

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Thank you for giving us a little nugget of truth from your heart!

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