During one of the hardest years of my life, God called me out to be intentionally thankful. The only trouble was, I didn’t feel very thankful at the time. My fourth daughter was only a few months old and no matter what I tried she would not sleep. I was weary. I was numb. You might say, and I certainly would, I was not OK.
Still, His calling was clear. So, even though my heart was not leading the way, I started making a gratitude list and writing down blessings to be thankful for. My Savior. My family. My home. My church. Coffee. I think the first 25 things on the list came pretty easily. Even a worn thin mom of four can have eyes to see the obvious. But, as the days passed and the list grew, the challenge to be thankful in all things grew as well.
I found this to be true: “Gratitude is a lot more than jonquils and journaling pages. Gratitude is a lifestyle. A hard-fought, grace-infused biblical lifestyle.” (Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Choosing Gratitude, p 29)
God wasn’t just asking me to be thankful. He was using thankfulness to radically change the way I lived. See, weariness had become a habit I was wearing. My heart was locked in a prison of discontent and gratitude was the key to set me free.
He was training my eyes to see grace.
He was giving me the gift of vision.
He was making space in my weary life for His presence to rest.
He was asking me to give thanks on the hard days.
One passage God reminded me of during this time is from Habakuk 3:17-18:
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive will fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
Let’s face it, we all have days when the fig tree does not blossom and there is no herd of cattle in the stalls. These days may last for what seem like years. We have trouble seeing what to add to our gratitude list. But the hard-fought lifestyle of living thankful chooses to rejoice IN THE LORD. And when we do, our sorrows are replaced with His Joy. I can’t explain it, but I know it has been true over and over again in my life.
Friend, are you not OK with where you are? The easiest and the hardest thing to do today is to live thankful. It will transform your life if you let it. Maybe, we could take one tiny step together and share in the comments what we are thankful for today.
Today, I’m partnering with Dayspring for a little giveaway for three friends of (in)courage:
If you are struggling to see anything at all to whisper thanks for, I’d love to pray for you and ask God to open your eyes wide to the grace He has placed in your life. This is the perfect place to grab hands and walk together as we choose to rejoice in the LORD. Just slip your name in the comments below.
Winners will be drawn randomly and must live in the U.S.