The Secret of Thankfulness

1. warm baths

2. when I wake up facing the beautiful window with all sweet baby boy’s clothes and toys displayed and the sun is shining through

3. a cold banana and a cold bowl of cereal in the morning

4. getting to live across the street from family. Joey just picked up Lucy from her pre-school and they dropped in to say hi. I treasure all the little conversations I get to have with my nieces!

5. every little (or big) movement Arden makes

6. JOEY WAHLQUIST

7. this old house of ours

8. the way I finally found an amazing position to sleep in where my back doesn’t hurt and it’s so good that I stay in that same position all night long and I don’t wake up as much in the middle of the night.  the way Joey always helps me get situated with all my pillows (even though I usually have to adjust them every once in a while til I finally fall asleep)

9. my crazy sister, whom I got to see last night! a group of us from lifegroup/church went to Dwelling Place last night in Waco then we went to Common Grounds along with Bethany. Bethany has funny stories to tell, and tells them well. Lots of laughs!

10. grace in this season of my life to rest when I feel tired. will not always have that option…

 

The Lord has been teaching me me the “secret” of thankfulness ever since we got back from India.  For a while after India I really struggled with feeling lack of purpose, aim, and significance.  No job, no classes I was taking to further my knowledge (well, besides the training school, Ignite), no inspiring response off the top of my head to the question, “so what do you do?”…just an excuse to sleep in and nap during the day when I was tired (the excuse being pregnancy).  Of course, these feelings did not reflect reality.  In fact, all they did was steal my joy and confidence.  Until one day I was spending time with God and asking him how in the world I am supposed to make every day significant when most days I felt like I didn’t have anything to show for my day in terms of accomplishments.  His answer: thankfulness

Since that day I have been on a journey of learning more of what that means.  So many aspects..let me give a few examples. 

-When I’m about to go to sleep and Joey and I are just laughing and talking in bed and I think to myself, this is the best thing ever.  The sadness tempts to creep in, reminding me that these days are flying by fast and in a few minutes I will be asleep and the moment has passed and before we know it we are old and one or both of us is about to pass.  But the only response that does not steal the joy of the moment, the only response that gives the moment the respect it is due is thankfulness. As I look at Joey I smile and think to myself, “Thank you, Lord, for this amazing gift you have given me.”  The moment becomes sacred as I worship my Creator quietly in my heart.

-When I’m having a ho-hum day.  When it’s raining and I’m cold and I feel unmotivated to do anything.  One word of thankfulness, though, and my thoughts are turned to God and his goodness.  Which makes those moments significant.

-Kurt Mahler came and spoke to our training school last semester.  He made the point that the things that will last through to eternity are people, the Church, nations, and the virtues of faith, hope, and love.  So every interaction I have with people becomes sacred.  Every thought I carry of faith, hope, or love is of eternal significance.  So must my reaction always be: to respond in every circumstance with faith, hope, and love.  Sometimes thankfulness is by faith (meaning, not by feelings!)For me, to be filled with thankfulness in my heart is to be filled with hope.  And thankfulness, especially in response to who God is, always stirs up love in my heart.  Such a fitting attitude for a child of God to have.

To be thankful is to have right perspective.  To be content.  To know the secret of feast and famine.  To be thankful is to worship! 

The passing of time and memories used to make me sad.  Seeing old pictures used to make me long for the past.  Now, I am more and more learning how to be filled with JOY at the past (because of God’s faithfulness in my life), in the present (because of the gifts He gives every day that I get to thank Him for) and with thoughts of the future (because He is GOOD and everything he does is GOOD and all the plans he has for me are GOOD!). 

Thankfulness towards God, Charity towards others.  These are the only appropriate responses I can think of to the many gifts the Father bestows on his children. 

This morning, the Lord brought me to a few passages in the Psalms about thankfulness that I want to share.

“Open to me the gates where the righteous enter, and I will go in and thank the LORD. These gates lead to the presence of the LORD, and the godly enter there. …This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:19-21, 24).

“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).

It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to the Most High.  It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening. …You thrill me, LORD, with all you have done for me!” (Psalm 92:2, 4). 

Praise and thanks to the King is such a fitting way to enter into his presence, to begin and to end all our days. I want my first thoughts in the morning as I rise to be thoughts of thankfulness and praise, proclaiming His unfailing love and meditating on his character.  I want my last thoughts as I fall asleep to be of his faithfulness to me throughout the day.  I am so glad that I am doing my “Thankfulness journal” for this reason!  For those of you who may not know, I have embarked on a quest to write 2-4 things I am thankful for each day of 2013, sometimes with pictures/momentos as well, making it an as-I-go scrapbook of sorts.  It has been such a rich practice for me already!  I can see myself doing this for years to come.

I am so thankful for all of you :).  I hope your heart has been uplifted by reading this.  I know mine has just by writing!  Let us forget not his benefits… for he has forgiven us all our iniquity, he heals us of our diseases, he redeems our lives from the pit, he crowns us with steadfast love and mercy, and he satisfies us with good so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s…. he works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed… the LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  He does not keep his anger forever.  He does not deal with us according to our sins nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. 

For he knows our frame, he remembers that we are dust.

The LORD has established his throne in the heavens
And his kingdom rules over all.

Bless the LORD, oh my soul!
(taken from Psalm 103, ESV)

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One comment

  1. betharoberts · · Reply

    Aw! I just read this!!! Made my day! I am SO thankful for you! I thank God for you ALL THE TIME! I am so thankful for your example and your life and you have encouraged and inspired me so much! Love ya, sissy! Can’t believe you are a MOMMY! AHhh!

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