31 days to gratitude

Source: via Emily on Pinterest

 

You know this whole gratitude thing is tricky. Just like joy, peace, and contentment. I have learned thus far, that it doesn’t just appear in my heart one morning when I wake up. I cannot tell you how many times I have written in my prayer journal that I would like more of one of the above. Countless times I have sat and read my Bible, or looked at other women around me or at my situation and thought, “I want my life to exude ________” (gratitude, joy, peace, contentment… you get the picture), then continued on with my day as if nothing happened. A couple days later I will think, “hmmm, I don’t feel anymore joyful,” or I will get mad at my husband for nothing and think “well if God had given me more peace, like I asked, then we wouldn’t be in this situation.” Over and over and over again, I ask God to give me these fruits of the spirit. To make my life look like this beautiful picture of goodness. But, I am beginning to learn that it doesn’t work like this.

I don’t think that it is God’s intent or plan to make my life look good. So I don’t think I am going to wake up one morning suddenly possessing all of these good traits. I think it is God’s intent to show grace in through my life. I think it is His intent to show that when I mess up (you know every single day) that He still loves, honors and redeems me. That He still calls me Redeemed, Restored, Beautiful.

But back to the practice of gratitude. I think that that is what it is, practice. I think that it is a process of choosing to practice gratitude instead of complaining. It is a choice. When I feel myself starting to get upset because I have one more doctor’s appointment, or am working extra hours, or the insurance company calls again to ask if I have other insurance, I must choose, in that moment, gratitude. Gratitude that I have access to great doctors, gratitude that  in this economy I have a job, gratitude that Hubby’s job offers health insurance, or simply gratitude that I am saved. That when all is said and done, and Jesus rides in on the white horse and says “it is finished”. When the sheep are being separated from the goats. I will be gathered to Him as a sheep. And it is not because of anything I have done. It will not be because my life looked good.  It will be because Jesus died on a cross and broke His perfect union with the Father and the Spirit so that I may be united with Him. It is because when I stand before God, the perfect and ultimate judge, and He looks at my head, He will see the thorn pierced brow of Jesus. And when He looks at my hands, He will see the nail pierced hands of Jesus. And when He looks at my sin, He will see the red blood of Jesus. And in that moment, He will invite me to share in the inheritance of Jesus, the perfect son.

This alone gives me reason to be grateful. I can live in this reality and practice gratitude all day every day. And I want to. I want to stop asking God to just give it to me. I want to start choosing to practice gratitude in all circumstances and asking for grace when I don’t. Because frankly, I forget a lot.

10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darknessand brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. {Colossians 1:10-14}

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31 days of gratitude {Happy Birthday Dad!}

Saturday was my dad’s birthday. Happy Birthday dad! I am super grateful for you. It seems silly even to type “grateful” when I think about you because it seems hardly adequate. Remember when I left my Megan Doll at Sly Park and you drove all the way back to get her? I do.

Remember when I was little and we would have “book club” and we would read the same book then go to Coffee Republic and talk about it? I do.

Remember in High School, how we had Friday morning Starbucks dates? I do.

Remember when I was in college and you came to spend Easter with me? I do.

Remember right before I walked down the aisle and I started crying and you were super strong? Remember what you told me? I do.

Thank you for being there dad. And being invested. And for making sure that I knew that I was loved. So very loved.

Happy Birthday dad! I love you!

31 (or so) days to gratitude

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I am so grateful for grace lately. Grace that washes over my soul like rain. That seeps into the cracks and crevasses of my soul and soaks my soul. I feel The Lord gently and slowly transforming my heart. And I’m grateful that He is being gentle with me right now. I’m not surprised because he knows me best, but grateful. He is showing me that His way is better. That His story is better.

The other day we were talking about stories with our Book Group and whether we would write a new story for ourselves, or a different story, or change a part of our story. My immediate thought was “Heck yes!” but then I played my story without those parts and there wasn’t a story. At least there wasn’t a good story.

Today I grateful for my story. I still think if I had written my story I would have left out the whole drowning in the Nile River part (I’ll tell you that part another day). But I didn’t write my story. The Perfect Author did. And He hasn’t shown me why yet, but I am learning to submit to the strokes of His pen. I am trying not to question or doubt. But I am grateful for His grace when I do.

31 days to gratitude


 

So I haven’t been around for the last couple of days… So much for the 31 days of writing, but I am giving myself grace and continuing on. We went camping this weekend with some friends from our growth group. It was wonderful! I am a chill-out camper and the couples we went with were too! Score! It was such a wonderful weekend of reading, napping, game playing, and campfire talking.

I was so grateful for time with friends and time in nature.

Grateful that we live so close to Big Sur.

Grateful to get away for a couple of days.

And grateful to come home.

Napping on the couch this afternoon with Hubby and the puppy, I was so grateful for my little life.

 

31 days to gratitude

Have I told you yet that we got a puppy?

Her name is Gidget and she is a golden retriever.

Today I am grateful for her.

I am grateful for a new start with her.

I am grateful for how she has brought new life to our house.

When we decided to give Skye up for adoption, I was so full of fear that we couldn’t raise a dog.

But Gidget has brought healing to us.

She is so full of spunk.

She is friendly and smothers e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. she meets with kisses.

Lately we have been forced to slow down.

Puppies can’t really leave the house and need attention every couple of hours.

And so we have had to stick closer to home.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been super frustrated at times that we can’t take her out and can’t go far.

But as we have been seeking out simplicity, she has taught me that it is ok to be quiet.

 And for that I am grateful.

It is not a lesson I learn easily.

But one that I need to learn.

So today I am grateful for this fluffy little face to love.

30 days to gratitude

Today I was grateful for the breeze coming through my front window. I was deveining shrimp for the dinner my mom was making and the sun was setting. I love my kitchen window. In the morning when the sun in coming up and in the evening as the sun is setting. This evening the breeze was coming through the open window. It has been over 100* the last couple of days, and when you don’t have a/c that is hot. Anyway, the breeze was coming in the window and the sun was setting, and I was reminded of how faithful God is. He is faithful to bring cool after the heat. Calm after the storm.

And light after the dark. He is faithful and for that I am grateful.

Grateful that the breeze came sweeping in my kitchen window.

Grateful that my mom was cooking dinner.

Grateful that my husband was sitting on the couch.

Grateful

31 days to gratitude

What a way to start 31 days of gratitude! Just going through my day, not really giving much rise to anything around me, I was smacked in the face with this. Don’t get me wrong, I gave extra attention to the hummingbird pollinating my lime tree and lavender, but didn’t even give a thought to thanking the Lord for the faithfulness of the hummingbird pollinating my yard. But then, as my mom, husband and I were going to pick up dinner at a favorite Thai restaurant, we stumbled upon this beautiful sight.

I couldn’t do anything but stop and be grateful. Grateful for the faithfulness of my God to cause the sun to rise and set everyday. Grateful for my amazing husband who loves me everyday. Grateful for my mom visiting. Grateful that my God has painted the skies with colors more vivid than anything you can find in a box of crayons.

31 days to gratitude

This month I am joining with the nester to write about one topic for 31 days straight. Every October, the nester challenges bloggers to write everyday of the month on the same topic. For the next 31 days, I will be writing on gratitude. I feel a little late to the party since most in the blog world have been counting their gratitudes with Ann Voskamp for a while now, but it wasn’t my time until now. Lately I’ve had a bit of a bad attitude. I have been naming my situation and letting that name define me. I don’t know if this is what you want to read about, but I do know that I need to write about it. I need this 31 days to remind myself that God is giving me daily graces. I need this 31 days to change my attitude. I need this 31 days to allow me to focus on the “here and now”, not the “what is to come”.

Everyday I will write about something that I am grateful for. I will take the time to see what is around me and the time to write about God’s goodness. Because of this I must be sure, that my God is good all of the time. I am excited! I hope that you will follow me on my journey.