This summer I started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I started rereading it shortly after school started this fall. In the course of my life, there have been 3 books that have really, truly changed my life. The Bible, Breaking Free by Beth Moore, and One Thousand Gifts. The premise is seeing each moment of your life as God's grace, a gift from a good and loving Father. Even when its chaotic and overwhelming, or scary, or sad, or hurtful, there is grace to be had. For me, its just not the way I looked at each second of my life. I've never been one to allow myself to see the good in difficult. I don't think that comes natural to anyone. But since this summer, I've been challenging myself to change my thinking.
I can see God doing good things in my heart with regards to thankfulness. When you are on this search for all these gifts in the every day, you heart is always more open and receptive and willing to see. See the good, the beautiful- even when it's ugly. I can feel the change in just the peace and joy I do have. And I am really only at the threshold of this journey.
I've listed gifts since this summer. I think I'm on about 470. But the truth is, I see all these gifts all the time I never remember to write down because I'm in the car or I'm not by pencil and paper. It's still beautiful because even though I am not physically writing these things down, my heart is stopping. Stopping to smile, to thank God for the moment, to be all in right where I am receiving the joy of the now. And just worship this loving God who fills my life with grace upon grace upon grace. My eyes are so much more open now to all He's doing around me, to the way he loves me, to the way he blesses us all.
Thanksgiving is just not supposed to be once a year. Christians are called to a life of thanksgiving. We just seem to forget that. It's a hard way to live. Constantly choosing to thank God when it's hard and when it's easy. Life gets busy and you forget. I'm still struggling with thanking God in the midst of the crazy that is my classroom at 1:30. (my kids just don't have the attention span past then. things become overwhelming. but there are still gifts to be had.) But I have seen the difference thanking God through the moments has made. The littlest things now bring me the greatest joy. I've missed so much in my 28 years, but praise God, my eyes are now open to the little gifts, the big gifts, and hopefully one day soon, the painful gifts and the busy gifts.
Thankful for a little boy who's creative and playful. I'm thankful to have my house full of his life. Thankful that even stickers on my dishwasher remind me of him and all the gifts he is....
Thankful for my family, the way we have traditions, that holidays have this predictable flavor each year. I love knowing Thanksgiving and Christmas will be full of food followed by games and laughter. I'm thankful that we are actually really close. That my siblings are some of my best friends. That I know my entire time on this earth will be blessed with them.
Thankful that sometimes Jude pulls me aside to read to me. I'm thankful that I've gotten better about allowing myself to stop 'doing things around the house' to just sit with him and soak up all his preschool beauty. Because this moment I can never get back. And I could have passed it up to clean. I'm realizing how being Martha vs Mary like does not just apply to Jesus, but so many things in life. Taking time to be present with Jude is worshipful and leads me to thank Jesus for all I'm blessed with.
Thankful for those little moments that make you laugh. Jude snuck a whole box of Cars bandaids under here. I guess he knew he wouldn't be given them to play with. But it makes me laugh to see all he thinks of to do. I' m thankful he's usually such an agreeable kid. God has really blessed me with him.
I have a million of these little moments that just come along and I enjoy them and thus worship God. Life is full of them. Oh how I challenge you to list the good in your life- even if it seems trivial. (examples- post its of every color, cows in a field at sundown, black crows on a fence, steam from a hot tea cup...) It's amazing the change in attitude that comes with thankfulness. You are surrounded by grace upon grace. You just have to open your eyes to see it...
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you...
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18