Thanksgiving: Grace, Gratitude and Joy in Your Everyday Life
Thanksgiving: Grace, Gratitude and Joy in Your Everyday Life
I look out the window and marvel at the red and yellow and rusty and still some green fall colours, at the beauty that God has gifted us with, at the shades of paint that pop in every corner, at the birds singing their morning cheerful song, at the blue and endless sky spotted with its puffy clouds, at the fresh breeze that flows freely through my open window filling up the room with its crispness. It is the small things that are the grand, it is the beauty around me that inundates my heart and soul with gratitude towards my Creator.
I look at my children, happy, crazy, fighting, laughing, making a mess everywhere they step,
looking at their innocent and helpless faces,
smelling and taking in their sweetness as their cuddle with me,
kissing their fuzzy, messy hair,
and taking in every little moment as a true gift from above,
a gift to cherish,
because today will never be given back to me again.
So what exactly do I have to thank my Lord for? It is everything I have and live for, and more!
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, there is no frozen turkey in my deep freezer, my baskets of laundry are never empty, my washing machine rarely rests, my dishwasher fills constantly, my hands don’t stop cooking or cleaning… and at the end of the day… I can say, through all of this messy holy-life: I am actually blessed! My Father has provided us with so much, but in the middle of the daily hassle I can easily forget that, and can so easily fall on the slippery slope of ingratitude.
What if I didn’t have any clothes to wash?
What if I didn’t have the bountiful wholesome foods to cook from?
What if I didn’t have dishes and pots to wash?
What if I didn’t have a dishwasher?
What if I didn’t have running, or drinking water?
What if I din’t have heat in my house?
What if I didn’t have a roof on top of my kids’ heads?
What if you lost your home to a fire, or a calamity?
What if I didn’t have much at all?
What if I didn’t have any of it at all? Not my children, nor my husband?
How would I look at my life then? With discontent or still be thankful for having God, and for looking at what awaits me in eternity? Hmm.. hard to think of it that way, right?
We live in a materialistic and broken world filled with ingratitude, discontent, a world with wants and needs that aren’t really needs, with people that have forgotten of grace, of joy, or thanksgiving in the middle of it all. And yet, we still have so much to be thankful for! The gifts are countless if only we would open our eyes and take them all in instead of focusing on the bad, on the muddy mess.
As my crazy busy little family approaches Thanksgiving in less than 2 weeks, I really want to share with them the vision and perception of what thanksgiving is all about. Taking notes each day in our own little gratitude journals to thank our Heavenly Father for our daily blessings. We have God-sent gifts right under our very noses.. And Thanksgiving is not just a once-a-year type of statutory holiday. Thanksgiving is a daily living with a heart of gratitude for the good times and the trials, for the abundance and lack of, gratitude for these energetic and sweet children I was gifted with, for my wonderful, loving and hardworking husband, for my daily blessings, and for everything that surrounds me.
Jesus thanked his Heavenly Father in His prayer before being crucified! Before being hung on a cross to die for me! He knew what was about to come and still He gave thanks.
“On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it” (1 Corinthians 11:23-24)
Excuse me, but I cannot even compare my “major problems” with the life that Jesus lived when He walked on this earth! My Saviour, the Prince of Peace, who left Paradise to live in this dusty and sinful world for a sinful and discontented ME! Wow, and still Jesus gave thanks! I have a long way to go, but I know that when I start my day with Jesus, and I purposely ask Him for help and for Him to fill my heart with gratitude, then I become so much closer to the life of fullness and faith for which I was called for. Not only do I receive peace, but I actually experience through God’s grace: gratitude and the resulting joy!
Even when my house doesn’t sell after being on the market an entire summer, with my kids all at home. Even though I know what His plans are for my family: to move. I know that I have to just be thankful because He knows best and He is in control of every single circumstance in this earthly life of mine. He has everything planned for us, and at the right time too.
So why not just be thankful even if I don’t understand any of it (now or ever)? I trust my Lord with all my heart, even when it is sometimes hard to do so, I just do it! I just trust Him and thank Him for it all.
Because I am blessed. Oh so very blessed. And He wants my heart in its entirety, not some pieces here and there. He wants me because He loves me. He has my name written on His nailed palms. And to me that is enough.
And yet learning to be thankful is a learning process, not a snap of fingers, and you are suddenly content. No, that is only in a perfect world called Heaven. We live in a broken world and we need God’s help and wisdom, we need His grace and with His help a lot of practice by learning how to be thankful even for the very common things, or for nothing at all!
Just as Paul says so clearly in Philippians 4:11-12
“I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, wether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”
I began recording my God-sent gifts in a simple gratitude journal, that makes it official how so very blessed I am. When I put these gifts/blessings down on paper, I can feel the joy surging through my veins as I recognize that I have been receiving so much and I begin to have a thankful attitude towards my life instead of discontent. I am still in the learning process, but I can say that giving thanks is so life changing. I give thanks to my Lord for it all as I trust His plans for me (which may not be immediate… as I would like them to be).
Some God-sent gifts that I am thankful for:
I look out and relish the still warm sun rays streaming through my bedroom window. I breathe in the the crisp fall air. I think with such joy in my heart of my 3 lively children and thank God for each and every one of them, for making them in their own special and unique way. I look at my daily God-sent blessings, big and small, record them with pen and ink in my gratitude journal, making it so real that it puts an actual smile and sense of gratitude on my face, and I’m thankful for it all! Thankful for the beautiful life that I was gifted with. And thankful for what awaits us when we will be reunited with our Lord in His kingdom. Oh I cannot express the joy, and neither comprehend it… and I love to share it with my kids often! Oh what a day that will be. And and actual unending eternity with Him! That is something to be so undeniably thankful for!
37. Heaven and for eternity
Happy thanksgiving ~ giving thanks with a grateful attitude… and contentment.