Monday, January 3, 2011
I have been meaning to do this forever. I started counting toward my 1000 Gifts, which I was inspired to do from Ann Voscamp's most awesome blog, A Holy Experience, a long time ago. Privately. In my journal. Sort of embarrassed and amazed that I was at such a point in life that I had forgotten how to be thankful. There are times when life can be so dark, so difficult, so stark and cold and battering, that yes, a daughter of the Holy God and Loving Father can almost, almost forget that she is loved.
But I started counting gifts.
And I have learned SO MUCH.
I started with the silliest things because I was a bit cynical and dark and thought nothing would shake that hold on me. So I chose to be "thankful" for air to breathe, a comfortable bed, clothes and food, my husband and children. And as I, wrapped in grief, let myself speak to ALMIGHTY GOD, I could not say these things flippantly. I had to acknowledge that He has, truly, blessed me and given me these things and so much more.
Now I remembered what I had forgotten: That God's hands are evident, all the time, everywhere, all around us. His love is all-encompassing, and we owe Him our most heart-felt praise and gratitude.
We can see so much more than we see now, if we practice. We need to use the eyes of our heart. We look. Then we see. We hear. Then we listen...and amazingly, we understand. This is also a gift.
Somehow, as we start to just say Thank You, to the Lord, for whatever we have, (and all of it He has indeed given us), we learn that there is one more thing and one more thing and one more thing again, that we have been GIVEN, lovingly, preciously, from a Father that is full of grace and mercy, and our hearts are moved. We are changed. We see that our lives can be an act of praise and we want to find even more ways to give Him adoration for what He has done and is doing, and will do!
My list so far is in a journal, and I try to jot them down five or ten at a time, but I don't think I am going to recreate that list here - that would take forever and would probably not even be read. So here are current ones, fresh from my heart that is still learning to be grateful for all things, big and small.
*older brothers and sisters playing with the baby, of their own initiative
*warm homemade soup and bread on a cold night
*new books to read from Christmas
*blankets from the dryer to snuggle under
*cloudy, sleepy days
*encouraging, grace-filled sermons that seem preached right to me...and then the same simple message repeated by random friends, music, the book I am reading on an unrelated topic, and then echoed in prayers. A. MAZ. ING!
*freshly washed diapers
*unexpected chances to touch someone's life
*knowing someone's struggle so I can pray - and care