I have known for a long time that the most effective way to retain phrases, verses, truths, or promises in my mind is to write them out. I usually don't understand something until I take the time to sit down, pen in hand, and write it word by word in my own handwriting. Written words are not only more difficult for me to forget, but they are also a reference for later times when I may need them at a moment's notice. I write words out so that they become a part of me.

I make every attempt to be honest in my writing on this blog. I often write about the things in life that are difficult for us, because at the very least, I benefit from first acknowledging a painful or frustrating situation and secondly, seeking and finding God's response to that pain in His character and His promises to us. However, there is a third step that I often forget.

Praise. 

To worship God not only for precious promises that are at the ready, but praise Him because when I really look at my life, I see how evidently His promises are woven in it, through and through. I'm good at feeling convicted in the moments right after I read something profound, but I need to continue to keep my heart attuned to His work in my life long after he heals my heart and comforts me. I read these words from John Piper:

To forget to praise God is to refuse to benefit ourselves; for praise, like prayer, is one great means of promoting the growth of the spiritual life. It helps to remove our burdens, to excite our hope, to increase our faith.

I want to praise him for all the little things each day.

A fun, bright knitting project:

A refreshed bulletin board:

(gluten-free) heart-shaped waffles for breakfast & wool socks weather:

really good coffee from the tiniest of coffee shops (seriously, it's a mere 150 square feet) 

But I must not forget to praise Him for the BIG things, whether my blind eyes can see Him working or not. 

Ever since we moved, I've prayed for community. I've fought my hardness of heart at every turn. How quickly "We'll make friends in time" becomes..."We'll never make friends" becomes..."He doesn't bless us with good things" and "He isn't faithful."

Wrong.

The past few weeks tell a much different story, although it took some amazing grace for my heart to figure it out. Through a series of conversations, we've made friends—fun, honest, encouraging people who love Jesus. We were invited to a dinner party a few weeks ago, and we left the party feeling so encouraged, and so much more at home in Austin. Even one evening can make a difference. Thanks to our new friends, Tucker and Brittany, for hosting!

And then, yesterday, we went hiking with some other new friends and some old friends. It was more than just a glimmer of His faithfulness in answering prayers...a bright flame of hope and answered prayers for us. We are abundantly blessed.

For the sake of obedience to the Lord and for my own joy, I need to praise God whether He answers prayers with wait, yes, or no. Praise Him during suffering, praise Him in easy times, praise Him all the time