How does one find a nugget of gratitude when life presents you with a family-altering event beyond divorce that actually impacts the dynamics of family as you knew it? How does one make preparations to walk and lead with head held high in a humbled heart state? Can the attitude of thankfulness and gratefulness be found? Is it really possible to live and love out loud with hope?
Well, please allow me to take you on a personal scenic outlook overview at a cliff that stood very high and hidden. Perhaps it shall reveal that those very real down deep questions and the nugget-finds of gratitude can be found. And let me say first, that the answers do not nor cannot lie in a one-person excavation of the precious gratitude jewel because often the actual nugget can be too massive to unearth alone. Remember that I am all about #givingyouhope.
While there are numerous folk over the last 34 years who have been people of faith influences to me, please take a few extended moments to follow along of a few #standout vessels whose lives and words each incited the reverberating walk out the God-kind of agape love-out-loud and live-out-loud faith echoes in the chambers of my being. Here goes my account of live-out-loud and love-out-loud inspirational cliff-dwellers of encouragement with picks, shovels, jack hammers and all the necessary tools to assist me in finding my nugget of gratitude that led to this very 31st day of December 2016…
- My two awesome kiddos, Leslee and Aaron, of whom I am very proud and before whom I committed to the Lord and to self to guide in a godly manner a model live-out-loud faith and a love-out-loud love that rises #above ANY circumstance in life.
- An associate pastor and his wife who actually came to my life before marriage and the birth of my kiddos. This couple now residing in Tennessee whose live-out-loud God-the-healer Jehovah-Rapha kind of faith was prayed over me in 1980 when first we met, as my body was lying very high-temperature weakened on the floor of a Contemporary Christian Choir touring bus that pulled up into their church parking lot. That incident turned out to be a divine setup for our lives to be forever entwined with an unconditional love-out-loud bond as I was adopted into their unbreakable commitment to God and family.
- A senior pastor formerly of Trophy Club, TX who chose to Deuteronomy 28:13 rise above the circumstance and 1Peter 5:6 humble himself and place a love-out-loud phone call to me regarding a mutual friend of his family and mine. He spoke these thought and life-impacting words to me through uncontrollable live-out-loud tears, “Rainey, I need the Lord to teach me how to love as He loves…a new and deeper kind of love.”
- A dear precious friend in Tennessee came to me in a love-out-loud manner in 1996, gently cupping her hands over mine, looking into my eyes with the compassion of Jesus and softly and tenderly exhorted me in a still quiet voice as that likened unto my live-out-loud Lord, “Rainey, always be gracious. Whatever you do, always be gracious.”
- A local senior pastor and his wife who accepted our family with a love-out-loud embrace in 2001 with an unconditional unspoken love commitment to our family from then through and beyond present and spoke words of live-out-loud faith-filled words of life and Jehovah-Rapha healer to my son over me in 2004. All of this was yet another Divine plan for me to regularly glean from that dynamic marital duo as they became senior pastors in 2007 to my redefined family and a live-out-loud model to do what love-out-loud love requires with grace and truth.
- An incredible newlywed lay couple couple in a Louisiana church we met 1998 with whom lives we became intertwined, who later accepted the calling of pastors. The wife and I shared an intentional live-out-loud intimate admonishing one another impenetrable bond of love and faith. In 2008 while in the midst of an excruciatingly emotional and physically painful stage 4 breast cancer live-out-loud faith, she painlessly expounded with words that rendered captivatingly enlightening wisdom to my many years of quandary in the 1982 obedient response and commitment to the Lord to a love-out-loud daily denial to self on a long journey which presented many twists and turns.
- 46-year glorious friendship of two incredible women whose respective life journeys compelled them to stand firm in a commitment to live-out-loud in faith for healing through breast cancer and a vegetative stroke coupled with a stand strong love-out-loud above ALL adversities, whose lives resound as loud testimonies to me.
- A remarkably coachable and teachable woman of God on Maui, HI, whose unbridled outspoken character began being tamed as yet another setting of live-out-live to teach to me to love-out-loud to a people I did not understand, yet for whom I was to be the vessel to bring increases to the Kingdom.
So while there are many others to whom I have great gratitude, may I ask of you to #STOP in the midst of your own challenged circumstances to live-out-loud and love-out-loud? Then #DROP to your knees in humility before the Lord and the whomever/s He would or has placed in your life to help you #ROLL the care of the seeming madness onto the Lord by an unrelenting determination to dig deep in search of your nugget of gratitude. I think you just may find that amazing jewel of gratitude was found while in your drawn focus to THE bright shining #LiveOutLoud #LoveOutLoud Light of the world. Wishing you a blessed and prosperous 2017 of many exciting nugget finds of gratitude.