A word that has shaped the last couple years of my life. I’ve often marveled at the way God will orchestrate events to reinforce what He is teaching me, book after book, conversation after conversation. I love the way He does that!
In the months after our daughter, Savannah died, I would run errands all by myself whenever I could so that I could cry without bothering anyone. I would listen to the radio and pray and pray and cry out to the Lord. Often, I’d time my errands so that I could listen to Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s program “Revive Our Hearts”. She did a series on thankfulness that really spoke to me where I was. I wanted to get her book about it, but wasn’t able to at that time.
Fast forward to about a year ago – Ann Voskamp’s lovely book, “One Thousand Gifts” came out and I devoured it without coming up for air until it was finished. Her writing is so poetic, so full of emotion. I cried as I read about her sister’s death, as I ran with her under the intoxicating moon, as she struggled with how to teach her sons what God was teaching her, as she discovered God’s role not only as Father, teacher, friend… but even as husband. I wanted to share her book with everyone I knew. Mostly, I wanted that kind of thankful worshipful faith life.
I started writing down my thanks – what Ann calls a gift list – all the gifts God was giving me. Remembering them. Hanging onto them.
1. Sweet lavender scented baby neck fresh from the bath and ready for nuzzling.
2. Heavy chocolate floating on the breeze inexorably filling every corner of the house with anticipation of brownies.
3. Four year old not even upset at the fact that she can’t join the biggers in sledding because she got to make said brownies!
4. Sun shining through the window making a square on the floor that you can stand in and feel the warm soaking up into your toes.
5. bolts and piles of paisely, plaid, florals, wool and cotton, just waiting to be made into beautiful things.
6. Relaxing into the harmonic intervals as my children sing hyms in four part harmony around the dining room table.
7. Precious things – a cup, a locket, a chest – full of memories, of history, of lives lived and the love in them.
8. Groaning, aching in prayer for dear friends and family in pain and in need, cooperating in some small way in God’s plan for thier lives.
9.Saints who have gone before, telling, speaking, writing, teaching,reaching back a hand to help those who come after find the way.
10. Sleepy milk-drunk sighs.
11. Hot water pouring down, washing away the dirt and loosening the muscles – like God’s grace-rain, not only washing the outside, but also loosening up the faith muscles on the inside.
12. New blanket of snow so bright and clean, every branch and bough with it’s own little bit of fluff.
13. Surgeons who know how to cut away the bad so that the good can heal, both the physical and the spiritual ones.
14. Big brothers, nearly grown, still willing to play with their four year old little sister with her “plastic toys”.
15. Black stone enscribed with name, always close right outside the window, constant comforting reminder of resurrection glory.
16. Reading God’s Word ’round the table, each in turn, on Sunday morning.
17. Pantry shelves laden with jars in jeweled colors canned in Gramma’s kettle.
18. Tiny ridge of white on little pink gum.
19. More snow keeping us home for a quiet relaxed homeschooling day.
20. Little pot belly pumping out heat, room warm and cozy, little one on lap with a book to share.
21. The servants – washing machine, dryer, crock pot, working busily away to keep the house on track.
Lovely, lovely gifts from God.
And then, after about a year for that message of thankfulness to seep into my heart and become somewhat a part of who I am, a friend let me borrow Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book “Choosing Gratitude” too.
It is a very different book from Ann’s in style, but very similar in message. I loved it too. I really loved how she included a 30 series of devotions that helped make the lesson more tangible. God was bringing me a little farther, a little deeper – taking me from the high of emotion in “One Thousand Gifts” and grounding me in studying it out in His word through “Choosing Gratitude”.
61. A little girl’s excitement as she figures out how to spell her brother’s name all by herself.
62. More grass reaching for sky Even though the snow will most likely return and cover it again, it never stops reaching.
63. Birds at the feeder twittering happily
64. Sun on honey mustard walls filling the room with warmth
65. Sepia toned photograph of my father as a young boy, and trying to decide which of my children look most like him
66. The clink of ice in a glass of water
67. Mysteriously beautiful fog constantly shifting and changing
68. Children’s enjoyment of puddles
69. Bag of potatoes from one of our neighbors waiting by the door when we got home today
70: sky of easter egg blue peeking between clouds
71. Friendly post office lady – always a joy.
72. Big round bales of hay in a rown in the fields, each with its fluffy white hat
73. Slippery clay growing and changing like a living thing within my hands, becoming the thing I planned it to be.
74. Mastering Gramma’s rolls
75. Wil’s love for and excitement to see his “Jub Jub” (Jeremi)
God is so good, so very good to me! Lord make thankfulness the default setting of my life!