I have been thinking about thankfulness a lot lately, and not because of Thanksgiving.
I’ve been reading the blog of Ann Voskamp, a Christian woman who writes rather well. I love her writing (check out her blog A Holy Experience) — I’m not even sure how to describe it, but she seems able to take mental snapshots of life and write about them in a way that involves all of your senses, emotions and thoughts. Ann is real. I think that’s my favorite part. I read a lot of blogs, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with things that the world tells me I should and shouldn’t be as a wife and a homemaker. I feel that if some blogger visited my home on an average daily, I would be a colossal failure and disappointment to them. Ann just writes about life from a Christ-centered perspective and tries to encourage you along the way.
Anyway, I read on another blog about Ann’s recent book, One Thousand Gifts. I haven’t gotten the book yet but the idea of it – an ongoing log of things that you are thankful for throughout each day, in order to center yourself in a continual place of thankfulness and gratefulness – is being brought to my mind over and over again by the Lord. I’m pretty sure it’s something He may want me to do, because I confess that I sometimes get so stressed and overwhelmed that everything in my life seems trying and difficult. (And, well, it isn’t.)
It’s been snowing like crazy here over this past Thanksgiving week. It just keeps coming and piling up, and meanwhile my parents have come and gone for the holidays; so we’ve spent a fair amount of time on the road taking them back and forth from the airport, and now Willy’s parents are coming here also.
Before we left town yesterday to return my parents to the airport, we stopped on campus at UI so that Willy could show them the printmaking studio where he’s spending lots of time these days, and I was left alone in the car while the snow kept falling and falling and falling. I was enjoying sitting there until I eventually realized that my feet were freezing. And just about the time I realized that, I looked over and saw in the east that the sun was trying to break through the clouds, and thought it wasn’t popping through, it sure was making the sky look beautiful, with different shaded swirls and hues of light and dark clouds identifying its presence.
For some reason, in that moment, I remembered how blessed I was. And my feet were still cold. And suddenly, the Lord spoke truth into my heart, the gist of it being:
Will you be grateful for the sun and the beautiful day, or will you let your cold feet ruin it?
Will I be GRATEFUL for my blessings and treasure them and lean on them as gifts that the Lord is continually blessing me with, or will I focus on the one small thing that I am currently disappointed with or frustrated by or annoyed with?
Apart from Christ, I can do nothing, and I will be lost. I have to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. These are not just spiritual facts but a heart truth.
Do I trust Him enough to not focus on the things that bother me? And if I don’t adopt this attitude of gratefulness, how can I truly believe that He IS always good and that He DOES always give good gifts to his children? How do I believe in and exercise daily grace if I’m not looking for it?
I want to believe. Lord, help my unbelief, and help me focus on the blessings and the things you give me to be thankful for, because in those times, I really do see You in the mundane, every-day.