Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Attitude of Gratitude" by Heidi Fleming

Today I have the privilege of sharing with you the heart of an absolutely beautiful woman. Heidi Fleming glows of the presence of God and overflows with love for others! It has been a pleasure getting to know her slowly through the years and more than thrilled that she has accepted the position this year, leading at Koinonia Christian Fellowship as the Children's Director. I cannot think of a more incredible person to launch our Children's ministry towards the future and personally, for my girls to look up to as they get older.

Her topic today is one that was hard to read because it touches on a loss that is dear to her heart and many of those who have followed Heidi's journey through the last few years. To see her walk out life, through all circumstances has proved to show of Gods overwhelming love and faithfulness over her life.

Blessings Heidi. May the words that you have written bring another part of healing to your heart and to all those who read! May it remind us to prepare and live a life of gratitude beyond what life throws at us. May we be found a people of consistent thankfulness in all seasons.


"Attitude of Gratitude"
By Heidi Fleming

Recently in Kids Church we began a series called “Attitude of Gratitude”.  Here’s an excerpt that I wrote about the theme: “Gratitude is about more than just remembering to say thank-you at the right times, it’s about how we choose to FOCUS on God’s blessings, rather than all the negative things we could complain about”.  As I’ve been writing these lessons, I’ve been discovering that having an Attitude of Gratitude is not easy.  Imagine what a place this world would be if it was!  There are so many things to be grateful for, but how quickly our focus becomes all the things we wish were different.  It’s really about shifting our focus daily: from where we’re empty, to where we’re full to overflowing.  Here’s a little piece of my story that I hope will encourage you to focus on how GOOD God really is.


Halfway through my first year of university, I received a phone call from my dad saying that my mom had been diagnosed with cancer and given 3 months to live.  I finished the year as strong as I could and returned home in April.  I was blessed with 3 more months to spend with my mom until she went to be with Jesus on June 29, 2007.  She was a worshipper here on earth, so I’m positive she’s totally in her element worshipping Jesus face to face now (I think that’s the most beautiful thought ever).  It’s been 5 years since then, and here I am now looking over those years with gratitude.  I’m so grateful that I had 20 years, learning from my amazing mom.  And if you’re reading this and still have your mom with you, I encourage you to call her up and say thanks.  Moms are so easily taken for granted, but they are some of the most lovely, brave, supportive, encouraging people in the world.


But gratitude is also about choosing not to dwell on what I DON’T have.  I miss my mom, and of course there are times that I feel the “hole” bigger than others.  But if there’s one thing she taught me, it’s that God is good.  And I don’t want to ignore all the ways he’s proved that to be true.  In these past 5 years, I can name multiple women who have filled a piece of that hole for me.  Not one person will replace my mom, but there are so many women that God has brought into my life to care for me in their own unique way.  It’s like moms are coming to me from all angles: mother-in-law, step-mom, Grand-moms!  Not to mention Aunts, friends, and co-workers, all with their own children but special to me as well. 


I could go on about how grateful I am to each one, but I will leave you with just one example: my Aunt Donna.  I had dreaded the thought of going wedding dress shopping without a mom.  It wasn’t good enough to have another person there, to fill in the blanks.  I wanted something completely different.  So I didn’t even go shopping at all – I decided I wanted to make my own dress.  My bridesmaids and I went to Toronto and found the perfect fabric in a little store on Queen St., and I brought it home.  I went to Aunt Donna’s house with nothing but yards of white fabric and a dream.  She was up to her gills in work for her embroidery business, but each month she took time for me.  Measuring, cutting, sewing – she taught me every step of the way.  And the dress was truly a dream come true.  But more than having a beautiful dress, I am so grateful for each moment of that experience.  I recognized early on that it wasn’t just about having a dress at the end, it was about learning to appreciate the time spent with my Aunt Donna.  Sitting, listening, learning.  It wasn’t about her being the one to fill the entire “mom” void – no single person could or should – but she brought her own unique gifts at the right moment and it was just what I needed.  I am so grateful to her for taking that time for me, like so many other passionate women who have a special place in my heart.


So I pray that I continue to focus on how blessed I am by all of these mamas who have spoken into my life, especially when I needed it most.  I think it’s this Attitude of Gratitude that keeps me looking for places that I can generously give what I have, to fill in a little space for someone else everyday. 

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