I've been meditating and really trying to dig in on the practice of living in gratitude. I've been curious to see just how far the blessing and joy of it might reach.
The stages have been like that of peeling away at an onion, going deeper - getting richer as it nears the core.
In the beginning it was one thing to count the obvious things I could be thankful for - the gifts and blessings abounding all around;
- my God
- my husband
- my child
- our home
After awhile that began to feel a little trite and even a bit smug. And I prayed for God's guidance - that I might grow further along in this exercise.
I was quickly exposed to another layer beneath the surface that brought focus to a level of things I should have been grateful for but rarely considered in a day;
These things made me conscious of a broken hurting world living without the luxuries I was taking for granted everyday. And it brought burning edges brimming with remorse and tears.
Then Ann's new book arrived, and One Thousand Gifts brought on questions about my intentions and purpose for jotting down thanks in this brown spiral-bound book each day.
Reading Ann's experiences caused my heart to widen and my vision to focus on seeking and finding the beauty of Him in the otherwise perceived mundane of which I'd previously passed by in oblivion;
- steady floating snow freckles closing space between sky and earth
- cold wind sounding against the walls of my morning tucked in a marriage bed warm
- the steady ticking minute hand in early stillness
- feet and soul that obey Him
- streams of sunlight straight through eyes
- warmth on still young hands
- bright like His love
Then, last week Monday, I stumbled across Jenny, at A Minute Captured.
She didn't just write the things that she was grateful for. She wrote in between, in a tone of repentance, the things she complained about or begrudged during the week.
Her honest, humble, raw reflection made a connect in me. This is what I was doing "between the lines", only in my mind and never on paper. But to share it... this perspective didn't just make an account of His gifts, but could put a woman in check of her heart and attitude along the way.
And so Jenny brought me to consider giving thanks in the storms and even for the storms, as a means to an end for the in between flesh indulgences that the enemy feasts upon;
- the deserved cold snap of winter in my face and the reality of my choices
- a feeling heart to ache
- his healthy lungs blowing into his recorder at 6:45am
- his strong legs to stomp him up to his room for a time
- that they found my mom's heart problem
- repentant agony over hurting a sister
- God's faithfulness to me even in my ignorance
- that the trouble I'm in right now is not beyond God's will or power
I don't expect these layers to stop peeling away or for these transforming lessons to end soon. I want to take them all with me as I continue to give thanks in each of these different and valuable ways.
Though I don't share in posts from my Gratitude Journal much anymore these Mondays, I slip in to quietly encourage and spur on the Thankfulness Journey, and to thank Ann for encouraging this movement. There is more to be discovered where ever He leads.