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  • Writer's pictureJenni Lien

Appreciating God's Good Gift of Family

Heart so filled with thanks this Christmas break.

About four years ago, at my church retreat in Hong Kong, a friend pulled me aside and said she felt God wanted me to know that he hadn’t “forgotten” about my family and that he had things in store for us. I thought it was funny as it had never occurred to me that God would have forgotten us (obviously he doesn’t) ... actually writing this now, maybe I should have shared it with my fam ... maybe it was for someone else.

But anyway, the experience left me excited because a) I thought it was so lovely that God would encourage in this way and b) that good things were coming!

(Note: If we read our Bibles, it’s pretty clear that God has good things in store for all his children. And that he will give them in his perfect timing. But at the time, I was going to church and reading my Bible semi-regularly but I wasn’t really studying it, waiting on God, believing 100% in his promises, etc. So this word of encouragement was really meaningful ... I knew God was finding another way to speak to me.)

This 2019 Christmas break has really shown me many clear examples of how God has blessed my family in the past few years. There have been answered prayers but also things that I don’t think we would have even thought to pray for in terms of spiritual growth, knowledge, experience. Some of the growth has come out of seasons / experiences with hard trials (harder than we could have ever imagined) but ... we’ve learned to come out of them with more joy and trust in our good Father! And in walking together through them, our family has become so much closer.

In a lot of Asian cultures, it’s not that common to talk about our hearts / feelings / emotions (funny how God made me this way then haha 😅😉). But talking about our hearts in relation to God is becoming easier and easier. There have been situations where we HAD to rely on each other to pray and fight spiritually together ... everyday for months!! I’m so so so thankful for a mother who understands and has always selflessly served us and pointed us to God’s love, mercy and power ... and really anchored us during these times. So this year, even though in some ways it was my hardest year, I’m thankful. Maybe more thankful than ever before.

And now this cake photo. Why a cake? Growing up my baby sister and I fought a lot. While this got better as we got older, there was usually at least one scuffle each time we reunited. But this year ... we’ve both had life changing experiences in 2019 and through them God’s brought us to work through / be delivered from strongholds (things I think we thought were just “normal” issues rather than things we could be healed / set free from) ... and shown us how to love each other like he intends, to share experiences, to marvel at how God is working. Yesterday we were having a heart to heart in the kitchen as she whipped up a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream icing. Friends, this is my absolute favourite cake in the world, especially the homemade kind, yet I probably haven’t had it in years because for some reason no one sells it in Hong Kong and I don’t have an oven (also calories). And I asked and she selflessly just baked one ... just because I asked! ❤️ And she’s also been making pancakes, garlic shrimp, roast dinners, even lattes ... so amazing.

So yesterday was a huge reminder of God’s will for us to put others before ourselves. Honestly this is something I am still learning to do probably more than anyone else in my family. So I’m thankful for family / friends / community and how God uses this blessing to give us tangible examples of his will.

And most of all I’m thankful for our almighty, powerful, merciful God. Lord, thank you. In the year ahead I’m so looking forward to how you will protect, teach, love, bless our family (and pray the same over those that reads this!). Show us how we can seek and serve you with our whole hearts, giving glory to you, the only one who is worthy, who satisfies. Light fires in our hearts to bow down, worship, serve and seek to please you everyday. ❤️ #theyayproject


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