Sunday, April 1, 2012

A List of Thankfulness

Last week, during my talk with my Wednesday Night Ladies, we discussed cultivating thankfulness.

"'Jesus Calling' hurt my feelings this week!" one of the ladies said.  "It doesn't just say be thankful - it says to cultivate thankfulness!  That's tough!"

As I thought about what she said, I realized she was right. We discussed making a list of things to be thankful for.  So, this week, I've been mentally scribbling notes in my head (I do this often - it's how I process my writing).

In the era of facebook and Twitter, it is pretty easy to get caught up into a pattern of complaining.  Heck, even without technology, I complain an awful lot.  Working with fourteen year-olds can do that to a person.  I know I should do better.

Like an arrow, thankfulness drives me closer to the crux of my gratitude - to the God who deserves the praise for every good and perfect gift.

Here are a few things that I placed on my mental list...

1. I'm thankful for community.  Here recently, I had the privilege of experiencing the power of community at my church.  Community is a beautiful experience, one I've sorely missed in the past few years.  I'm thankful to be a part of a group of believers in my choir group who care about each other, pray for one another, and support each other.  I observed the power of community this week as the choir gathered together to pray for a teammate who suffered a loss in her family.  I experienced this myself as a friend read one of my updates about Amelia's big girl bed and offered up a toddler bed for me to use without me even asking.  God really showed me the beauty of community this week.

2.  I'm thankful for words.  I love their puzzle-filled ways -the way they wrap around my thoughts and embellish them into reality.  I love the indefinite tangibility that words bring - and how they color inside of minds with varied shades of stories.  I simply adore words, and I never tire of arranging them.

3. I'm thankful for my home.  It isn't perfect (I dream of winning an HGTV landscaping contest...and a new well), but I realize that my family is very blessed. I love to look out the windows into our back yard and see the mist rolling over the pasture land, the wildlife, and the hills.  I relish cooking in my kitchen.  I will always feel blessed to live in my home.

4.  I'm thankful for my friend Kathi.  Some of you may know her story, and if you don't, let me just say this: she's been through a great deal in her young life (yes, I still consider our age a young age).  She faced loss and tragedy with courage, faith, and a trust in the Lord that is so admirable.  Despite her pain, she shows strength and love to others.  Despite her loss, she was right by my side at the doctor's office when I was bleeding heavily in my fifth month of pregnancy.  Despite everything, she came to sit with me and Amelia in NICU.  That, my friends, is true friendship - one I will never be able to repay.  Kathi is the kind of person whose bravery inspires you to do greater things.  My soul aches with thankfulness for her - for the fact that God chose her to be my friend.

5.  Of course, I'm thankful for the big things in life - my God, my family, my friends, and my job.  It's interesting and eye-opening to watch some of these variables interact as time slowly moves closer to Easter.  I'm thankful for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that gave me atonement and a life of freedom.  Despite who I am, He is faithful.

These are just a few seeds in the ground at this point...I hope to cultivate more thankfulness in future posts.  It will take time fish out the weeds of my complaints (and those will surely grow back and undoubtedly make their way into my fingertips), but my work must start somewhere.

For now, my hand is on the plow.