The word of God is rich with reasons to rejoice and give thanks.  When we are in touch with appreciation, our relational circuits are open for connection; first with the Lord himself, and also with other people.  So, I wanted to share in this first blog, about a few appreciation experiences that I repeatedly recall to my mind, to open my circuits and find the shalom that only God can bring.

Last Saturday, I was struggling with a cold, but joined in a Freedom in Christ event presented by a couple of friends.  As they invited the Lord to give the members of the group an appreciation, I thought of the new screen saver I added to my computer last week.  It was a wonderful shot of bright yellow tulips against a beautiful clear blue sky.  I just felt the warmth of the sun as this picture returned to my vision; and in asking the Lord for the significance, he reminded me to use my gift of hospitality.  I thanked him for that gift. It seems so simple, but an experience of that kind of peace is hard to explain.  Since I’ve given it a name “tulips,” the will whole experience will be easy to recall.

All my appreciation experiences (“campfire” and “lepers” and “purple”) will be a springboard to my connecting with the Lord.  In prayer this morning, I felt his presence, leaning against his chest, breathing, his strength with me as I recalled the “campfire.”  Inside my eyelids I saw the purple robe enfold me, as the message was about the royalty that he has wrapped me in as his princess.

Despite my sinful and dirty past, he has welcomed me like he did the lepers — healed and made whole.  Whereas others rejected, feared, abandoned lepers; Christ invited them, touched them, restored them.  That’s the joy of the Lord that encourages me today.