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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Gratitude to Renewed Faith

Last fall I was selected as one of 13 guest columnists for the Kansas City Star, Faith Walk section.  Thought I would share it with my followers.  
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I walked into a counselor's office about 10 years ago wanting her to tell me something wise, comforting; ultimately wanting her to tell me what to do.  I had lost my husband to cancer and my best friend shortly after that.  I was in the pit of depression and I needed help finding the faith in God that I once knew and trusted.  I say in Lynn's office waiting for her to give me a special formula to rejuvenate my faith. In one session I was determined to find out all I needed to know to move on. That's what I wanted to happen.

After several months of questioning and trying to make sense of it all, I began questioning God and Lynn. I wanted her to give me answers because she was present, physically present, and God felt so distant. Well, she didn't give me any answers, and she didn't pray for me. Instead, she made me pray
for myself and made me answer my own questions.

During what I referred to as my "faith crisis," there was one session that was pivotal. With the holidays approaching, the intensity of my pain and loneliness was suddenly overwhelming. I walked into her office that day announcing that I hated the holidays. She grinned and said, "What did
the holidays do to you?"

    That was it! I knew my counselor was an uncompassionate beast, and perhaps even less Christian.
    I was angry, verbally and visibly angry. What Lynn asked me to do next didn't make any sense. For   
    the remainder of the hour, I was to begin thanking God for the good things in my life, one at a time.

   For several minutes the only thing heard in that room was the faint voices of people across the hall.
   Finally, I began to whisper one by one the things that I was thankful for. I started by naming obvious
   things and continued to' name things for several more minutes. At one point, Lynn stopped me. She
   gently placed in my hand a piece of paper with a list of all the things I had mentioned.

   She told me to take that with me wherever I went, and when I started to feel sorry for myself I was to
   continue adding to that list. It seemed crazy. But I needed this exercise to help me see that there was a
   power greater than myself.

   At the time, that power may have simply been gratitude. But that gratitude was a stepping stone to
   renewed faith.

   It has been 10 years since that pivotal day, and I still sit down each night to make a list of the things
   I'm thankful for. One by one, page by page, I make note of these things, and each time, my faith is

From Kansas City Star Newspaper – Faith Walk Column January 4, 2014

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