I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free! Psalm 119:32, NIV1984

Monday, March 19, 2012

A thousand thanks

Over a year ago, I started keeping a gratitude journal. I started that journal during a week we received some unsettling news...during a week we told our kids that we were going to start a new adventure, that we didn't know what God had in store, but we would be excited to see. God had always faithfully met us at every point of need, and we had no reason to doubt He would continue to do exactly that. That gratitude journal was a way of keeping track...a tangible way for me to see...a process by which I could make sure I didn't miss the glimpses of God's goodness and the blazing fireworks displays of His faithfulness in the midst of a journey I knew might be challenging.

The process of recording His gifts became a gift in itself - this gift of seeing...like the optometrist flipping the right lens down and suddenly everything is brilliantly clear, the fuzzy edges gone, and I can see! And who can contain the gift that changes everything? Who can keep it to himself? Like the sweet strawberries just picked from the vine..."Taste this! See how sweet?!" Like stars blazing bright in the sky after so many days of rain..."Come look! See?!" Who can keep from sharing?

So I put a basket on the table and filled it with a pen and colorful leaves cut from cardstock. And I told my children to just grab that pen and write down what God had done. If they knew that God had blessed them, if they were grateful for something He had given them, if they knew He had done something just for them...well, write it down. It would be a basket of blessings, a way to record His gifts, a way to give thanks. And they did! They wrote down His gifts - the ways that God had blessed them. They wrote down happy things... "kayaking" and "pumpkin bread for breakfast." And they wrote down hard things... "Thank you that we found Cali (my boy-child's beloved cat), even though he wasn't ok, so we would know and we wouldn't wonder." They wrote and they wrote, and they filled the basket...and the next month, they said, "Mom, could we get cardstock shapes every month so we can just keep going?" Um. Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! A thousand times, YES!

They filled that basket month after month, and we moved the finished months' records to a box labeled "blessings." And we're still counting. Because His gifts...they just keep coming. And His goodness...it never ends!

Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, and praise His name. For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation. Psalm 100:4-5, NLT

Continuing to count His gifts...

1001 all those sweaty lacrosse clothes on my laundry room floor
1002 her bright pink splint
1003 sunlight streaming in my kitchen windows
1004 sun streaming through clouds over the field yesterday
1005 their sweet friendship still...since preschool
1006 my firstborn and her friend babysitting little ones together
1007 toddler smiles
1008 the fragrance of flowers on the lemon tree that hangs across my fence
1009 bees buzzing busily about the branches
1010 husband taking the kids out to dinner so I can write
1011 grace even though I missed the deadline
1012 my firstborn's quick forgiveness after my temper flared
1013 pretty aprons
1014 this news report,  this commentary,  and these reminders to pray
1015 tweets that make me smile
1016 precious man faithfully mowing our lawn these dozen years
1017 boy-child raking leaves in our front yard
1018 his sweet attitude as he helps his sister
1019 the scent of her shampoo
1020 washing her hair
1021 blowing it dry
1022 plastic bags and duct tape to keep her splint dry in the bath
1023 having to go without running water from 8-5...realizing how we could use less
1024 boy-child carrying an elderly lady's purchases to her car for her
1025 clean water
1026 the sound of laundry turning in the dryer
1027 fixing the toilet
1028 quiet house, kids sleeping still
1029 morning coffee
1030 this word:  "Oh, my people, trust in Him at all times.  Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge!  (Psalm 62:7-8, NLT)

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