Friday, March 25, 2011

I've been thinking a lot

Is it a lot or alot? Hmmm...too bad I don't care enough to actually look it up in a dictionary. ha ha

Yes, back to the thinking. See, I have so many things I could write in this public space, but each time I try I erase it all & tell myself, "maybe in a few more days." It feels so ridiculous to say something like "God's been talking to me so much." It almost feels preachy and irreverant and cocky. I think it should be worded more like "I'm listening to God more." Because He's never stopped talking to me; it was always me who was not listening well.

The practices in this book are changing me. "Make thankfulness your sacrifice to thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me..." is what He tells me (Psalm 50). It's not a trite statement or a silly habit. It changes a person, from the inside out. Don't get me wrong, I am NO saint. It seems like the closer I get to Him, the more I experience a desperate need for Him. The more I know His ways for me, the more I realize that I "have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Rom 3:23) Without His daily grace, I am nothing.

So...I have just typed 2 completely different paragraphs, neither of which is fit for print or web, and erased them both. This is one of the things I have been learning. To weigh each word carefully....I definitely do not always succeed. But I'm finding with practice that more words are left unsaid on purpose and my heart changes with the discarding of them. Instead, I try to speak His Words. "As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in Your commands." Psalm 119:143

The things I learned from Ann Voskamp's words...they leave me grasping for air, grabbing for my Lifeline and wondering whether I can survive the hard things I am being asked to do. Giving thanks is easy to do when life is good. You get a raise? Thanks, Lord! Have plenty of food in the fridge? God, You are so good! But what about when things take a turn? "Lord, I thank you because my best friend has cancer." Umm...? "God, I am so grateful I had a really horrible week at work." Not so much.

But I am challenging myself. The concept of a gratitude journal seems very tween-ish to me, like something I would have done (or probably did) when I was 12. I didn't care, though; I bought one anyway. A little $2 notebook that I keep in my purse, right next to my pocket Bible (the New Living Translation is my favorite). I'm up to 56 things right now. Some thankful thoughts come easier than others. A few days a week I struggle to find ways to thank Him, but I always can. It's not a Pollyanna attitude, it's a new way of thinking. Not pie-in-the-sky, but a true view of my reality, good or bad, and then like a glass of water in the face it hits you, this blessing. And then, that one. I find that it comes easier each day.

1. Chocolate chip cookie making with my kids
6. Daughters in dresses
13. Free lunches
17. Prayer calendars
19. Being remembered
23. The joy of losing weight
24. Free cake
32. Baby teeth and milestones
39. A God who does not change like shifting shadows
44. Turquoise necklaces
45. Men who translated the Bible
49. Six bowls of Honey Bunches of Oats

(yes, the irony is not lost on me with #23 and #24...funny because I wrote them on different days & didn't realize!)

When I first visited A Holy Experience and witnessed Ann's counting of gifts, I thought, "oh, well, that's so sweet that she keeps track of the things she's thankful for." I had absolutely no idea what it would mean for me. I have a feeling that this little notebook will be my Bible's companion and that I am now forever destined to carry around a large purse. ha ha

Gifts, they are all gifts. From the greatest Giver in the world.

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