Thankful Hearts Giveaway: Jennifer Rodewald

November 21, 2016 Christian, Christmas, contemporary, giveaway, Jennifer Rodewald, Thankful Hearts giveaway 71

 

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Welcome to Day 10 of the Thankful Hearts giveaway! I can’t believe there’s just one more day to go after today! Just as a reminder – You can keep up with all the posts in the giveaway series by clicking on the Thankful Hearts giveaway graphic in the sidebar. More chances to win each day!

Today, I am honored to share with you Jennifer Rodewald’s thoughts on gratitude.

gratitude

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17, NKJV.

Thankfulness: a feeling or expression of gratitude (www.dictionary.com)

Interesting. Over the past few years I’ve really been rolling over the idea of gratitude in my mind. It’s one of those things like “love.” We say it. Talk about it. Preach it. But really…

Do I do it?

Am I grateful?

I was looking through some studies on this topic and came across this quote from The Handbook of Bible Application (2nd edition). “One of the first marks of rejecting God is forgetting to thank him.”

Dude. That’s bad. Really, really bad.

The posture of gratitude is necessary for worship. Also, and this needs some serious think time (for me, at least), the posture of gratitude is actually much more than attitude. It’s a doing thing.

I am thankful. So, how does that play out?

Service. Kindness. Selflessness. Love. You know, the doing stuff. So, when I say “thank you, Jesus, for this new day,” to mean it sincerely, I think I’ve got to take this new day and do whatever is necessary throughout the hours to use it for His glory. From doing the dishes with a good attitude (ugh, really? Gotta do that?), to shuttling my kids hither and yon, and writing a story that sings of His mighty love.

Gratitude works so the attitude shows.

With that in mind, I love that Thanksgiving comes right before Christmas. For several years now, my family and I serve at an annual community dinner on Thanksgiving Day, and this has become one of my favorite holiday traditions. It’s work, and a lot of it. Sometimes it’s awkward, because we don’t know many of the people who show up. But it’s beautiful. It’s community, and a letting go of what may divide us. It’s the joy of service, offering our hands and hearts in the name of Jesus. And it’s stepping beyond ourselves.

Thanksgiving has become like a preparation time, to really remember what my posture is supposed to be as I approach the advent of Christ—the ultimate gift and giver. In that preparation, I begin to look around, and then back at myself. Am I living gratitude by serving others? Do I show my thankfulness by giving love? What about generosity? To I give of myself, my time, my resources, keeping in mind the great measure of what I have been given?

It’s a high calling, this idea of worshiping with a thankful heart, but the thing of it that I’ve discovered is that there’s a unique freedom in filling up on gratitude. The bonds of self-doubt, guilt, and frustration break away. All there is room for, once I am set upon thanksgiving, is worship. And I do know this: the fragrance of worship saturated with gratitude is pleasing to our God. (2 Corinthians 2:14-15, NKJV. “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”)

How about you? Have you found the act and worship of gratitude to be freeing? I’d love to hear your story!

the-book

One of the books included in the Thankful Hearts giveaway is Jennifer’s new Christmas novella, Ordinary Snowflakes.

ordinary-snowflakesSomeone has noticed me. A secret admirer? A man with a good heart, who sees how much I actually need help, even though I never admit it? Maybe this is the beginning of a beautiful story—a romance full of hope and second chances and love.

Maybe…

A secret Santa gift left on Kale Brennan’s front porch opens up a fresh view of her ordinary life, and perhaps of God. Maybe she does matter. Maybe God sees her—as does a new-to-town music teacher who has her seven-year-old daughter gushing and her own knees buckling with his killer smile. But as Kale embraces new possibilities, a staple in her life—a man who is kind and steady, not to mention necessary for her injured daughter’s recovery—also snatches her attention in an unexpected way. Will the one pursuing her with his secret gift and kind gestures be the one her heart longs for in the end?

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the-author

jennifer rodewaldJennifer Rodewald is passionate about the Word of God and the powerful vehicle of story. The draw to fiction has tugged hard on her heart since childhood, and when she began pursuing writing she set on stories that reveal the grace of God.

Aiming to live with boundless enthusiasm, her creed is vision, pursuit, and excellence. Blessed with a robust curiosity, she loves to research. Whether she’s investigating the history of a given area, the biography of a Christian icon, or how nature declares the glory of God, her daily goal is to learn something new.

After growing up in Denver, Jen moved to Nebraska to attend college where she met and married a Husker. She now lives and writes in a lovely speck of a town where she watches with amazement while her children grow up way too fast, gardens, laughs at her horses and chickens, and marvels at God’s mighty hand in everyday life. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic.

Connect with Jennifer on her website, on Facebook and Twitter.

giveaway RIMSP

Comment on this post by answering the question below and then head over to the kickoff page to claim the new entry for today!

Question for giveaway entry: How have you found the act and worship of gratitude to be freeing?

Tomorrow we’ll wrap up the giveaway by hearing from Janet Ferguson – plus another chance to win!

Carrie

71 Responses to “Thankful Hearts Giveaway: Jennifer Rodewald”

  1. Diane Wallace

    When you pray regularly, thank him for his many blessings and turn your concerns over to him, your days go much better

  2. carylkane

    I love to worship the Lord! Having a grateful attitude enables me to focus on what is truly important. 🙂

  3. Debbie Clatterbuck

    Unfortunately, I am currently struggling with my faith. However, I do know how to be grateful for what I have and the good Lord who gave it to me.

    • Carrie

      We all go through those periods of struggle, Debbie. Praying that you find your footing again soon 🙂

    • Jen

      Oh Debbie, I so know that frustration, and ache. I’m so glad you can turn, even in the season of wrestling, with gratitude to God.

  4. Becky Smith

    I have always been taught that one of the first steps of backsliding or falling away is to stop giving God thanks, because it takes our mind off of God and trusting Him. We enter into His gates with thanksgiving – that’s the best way to approach God – by fixing our eyes on Him and how undeserving we are of His love. When I start by thanking Him, it’s easier to move into worshiping and trusting Him.

  5. Megan Besing

    How have you found the act and worship of gratitude to be freeing…
    The simple answer: peace. Joy.
    We’re called to worship Him…and when I’m obedient in the things He’s called me to do there is peace.
    Peace is good. 🙂
    Joy is good. 🙂

  6. Annie JC

    We are called to worship, and when we worship, we feel the joy of knowing it’s all about Jesus. He’s the reason we are free, and with that, a sense of peace. How could we not be grateful for that?

  7. Kirsten Rinehart

    When I sing praise to God, He does not care what I sound like and that reminds me that God will accept me for who I am

    • Jen

      Love this, Kirsten. God loves a thankful, heart. Be it broken, joyful, longing…the praise of a heart set on Him is a sweet fragrance to Him.

  8. JACKIE MCNUTT

    I love this post, and reading all of the comments.
    Worship and praise frees me from my self- centered thoughts and I can experience Gods peace and love .

  9. Winnie Thomas

    I really liked Sondra Kraak’s post about how being self-centered kills gratitude. I think when we focus on being grateful, we can concentrate on other people instead of just ourselves. When we think about what we DO have instead of what we DON’T have, it frees us to help other people and bring joy to their lives.

    • Jen

      True, true, true, JJ. And I find that gratitude also frees me from the NOT God-given guilt I wrestle with about things that aren’t really that important–something God really showed me as I wrote Ordinary Snowflakes.

  10. Janice Moore

    Being thankful is freeing me to get beyond the chains of whatever is threatening to bind me. Thank you so much for the very timely reminders, when I have needed them.

  11. Sonnetta Jones

    When I focus on being grateful to God it takes my mind off what I do not have. It also makes me realize how much I do have that is more important to my spirituality.

  12. Pam K.

    Worship and gratitude changes a bad attitude into a thankful one, which is certainly freeing. Some days it takes conscious effort.

  13. Kelly Blackwell

    Worship and gratitude have freed me because it takes my eyes off the circumstances and up to the Lord. I have the release from the things that can drag you down in this world.

    Thanks for the post, Jennifer. 🙂

    • Jen

      You’re welcome, Kelly! Your words remind me of the Israelites, when facing the giants of the promised land. The looked like “grasshoppers in their own eyes.” Things look different when we look up.

  14. Andrea Stephens

    Sometimes, when I am most broken, I remember to be thankful and sing praises. I realize that I have been relying too much on myself alone. It’s amazing how shifting my focus back to thankfulness and praise changes how my days go.

  15. Rachel D.

    By focusing on the positive it helps put things into perspective and less concerned about the negative.

  16. Anne

    being grateful everyday has brought me joy and made me feel better. Due to illness I am most grateful for my health.

  17. Rebecca Maney

    Our church allows us so many opportunities to serve those whose only reaction is gratitude, and sometimes even that is absent. But it’s the act of service that works a good work in me because I am reminded every time of how much God has blessed me . . . . we work with the homeless, a local boys and girls club, I mentor at a low performing middle school and we have dozens of community children who participate in our weekly programs.

  18. Julie Jobe

    Yes, definitely. Having an attitude of gratitude and acting on it and worshipping God helps me let go of things I don’t need to hold on to and give them to God. It takes my mind and thoughts off of worries and concerns or off myself and puts them on the Lord and His power and might.

  19. Bonnie Roof

    Gratefulness does free us from inhibitions – I’ve found it’s also contagious, addictive, enlightening, and brings joy. The more I practice it – the easier it becomes and the more my eyes are opened to the extent of my many blessings. Being grateful not only beings me joy, I find it hard not to be joyful when in the presence of others who are grateful.

  20. Beth Erin

    Anytime we aren’t focused on ourselves and our woes, we are free from the chains of self-pity.

    Jennifer, Thanks for sharing your family’s Thanksgiving tradition. I really enjoyed your story, Ordinary Snowflakes! What a great tribute to mothers!

  21. Nancy M

    Love your neighbor as yourself is there for a reason. To take our focus off ourselves. It’s natural to focus on me,me, me. But when we focus on others it is an amazing feeling!

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