I'm not a neat freak, but I do like thing in order. I like things clean, but I don't lysol my house daily. I'm not legalistic, but I love routine. I love a list of things neatly checked off every day, but I admit sometimes my list is too ambitious.
As I curled up in the oversized chair after the golden heads were in bed and set down my glass something out of place caught my eye: a tiny, u-shaped, white wad in the corner of the coaster. "Oh, here you go, want a piece of A-B-C gum?" (A-B-C stands for already been chewed), I offered the engineer. We decided that I should offer it to the golden heads at breakfast the following morning. But I forgot and now after the morning rush to school, I snuggle in for some quiet reflection with God and it's still there.
And then I laugh. And I thank. I'm thankful for the young woman who likely took her gum out of her mouth to play trumpet. I thank God for the privilege of having three daughters. I'm thankful for a minute to sit down at the end of the day. I'm thankful for coffee in my cup this morning. I thank God that He made me new and caused me to not react in my old way and personality that would have blown up about not throwing your gum in the trash, but rather I responded with the new self: smiled and made a joke about it. (Seriously, does it really matter?)
I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20, AMP
I'm not super natural, I haven't "arrived" at always being patient and kind. Don't worry, I'll likely blow up about the trinkets and wrappers they leave behind tomorrow, but today, I'm going to smile and thank God.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Will you choose to give thanks today? Stop right now, close your eyes and thank God for five things.

Passion begins with discipline

This next phase of parenting almost blindsides me at times. There's so much for which no loving advice or book could really ever prepare you. However, there are plenty of gifts in the tween years. One gift is seeing life through a different lens. Our family brings seven different musical instruments (including vocals) to the table in the musical world. One of my mom duties includes making sure everyone practices 30-minutes a day. Short of bribery, this is a grueling task not often met with excitement and willingness. In the wake of this drudgery one day, I thought about the discipline learned. As a parent, we plead and urge our children into the discipline of practicing by oneself in the hopes that at some point, the playing becomes a desire, joy and pleasure to our child.
How beautiful this process is if it completes its goal: pleasure. How similar this is to spending time with Jesus. For nearly 25-years, spending time in God's Word and daily communing with Him was truly a discipline I was trying to develop. Sometimes I would do better than others and sometimes the discipline would completely cease. But it still was a discipline, not a desire as the psalmist wrote.
O, God you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1
What a vivid picture of passion. Inductive Bible Study is what caused my discipline to cross over into passion. As I learned more and more, I realized that I could study my Creator God for the rest of my life and still not wrap my mind around His ways, character and attributes. Wow! That's my God. That's a God I can be excited to discover! For passion to begin and continue, it seems logical that we have to develop new methods, continually discovering ways to experience and relate to God. Some might include memorization, inductive Bible Study, fasting, meditating, different ways to pray, reflection, journaling, study of creation and reading through the Bible just to name a few. There isn't one set way to build your relationship with God. And sometimes we need to mix things up a bit. He created you uniquely you; He wants to meet you where you are and in the way He wired your brain.
At some point, I hope the golden heads develop a passion and love for music, but even more importantly, I pray they practice the discipline of relating to God that transpires into a passion and thirst for Him.
In your personal relationship with God, are you working on discipline or have you crossed over into passion in your relationship? Begin by asking God to give you a passion for Him. Pray Psalm 63 to Him. Then decided what discipline will you choose to implement this week or month?