“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” ~ Albert Shweitzer
Who are the people who have shined the light of Jesus – shared the love of Jesus – with you? Who are the people who have shown you kindness and compassion? Friendship? Forgiveness? Grace?
Who has God used to speak words of Truth, words of hope, words of healing in your life? Who has challenged you, convicted you, encouraged you, inspired you?
And when was the last time you said thank you?
Thank you to God for bringing these people into your life….
Thank you to these people themselves…
This November, we’re taking the opportunity to count our blessings, to focus on what we’ve gained or been given, not what we’ve lost. Choosing a thankful heart.
Last week we talked about recapturing the wonder of ordinary blessings and everyday miracles. This week, our theme is people. The people with whom God has blessed our lives – our loved ones, our precious friends and family. And yes, even the thorns in our side.You know, the “grains of sand” He uses to cause the irritation that turn us into pearls ;)
I can think of dozens of stories about the impact that expressing our love and appreciation and gratitude can have… (Remind me to tell you about the time I spent a solid fifteen minutes online looking for great quotes on this, before it occurred to me I’d written an entire book on the subject!)
You’ve probably heard many of these stories – and you have your own.
“Appreciation can make a day – even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” ~ Margaret Cousins
This week I just want to remind you:
All of us have people in our lives – people in our families, people in our communities, our circle of friends – who need to hear that we thank God for them. That we see their God-given potential, that we believe in them. We have the greatest expectations for what God will accomplish in them and through them.
Sometimes we may even see in them things that they don’t. But once they catch a glimpse, our faith in them becomes what motivates and inspires them, what propels them onward and upward until they become all that they were meant to be. It’s our privilege to cheer them on every step of the way, challenging them to “dream big and work hard.” When they run into obstacles or run out of gas, we can be the voice that says, “Don’t give up. You can do it! I know you can! God is with you. He will help you. And so will I.”
“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” ~ Anonymous
Take some time this week to list 3-5 things you love about the individual members of your family or your friends, those you are closest to – and those you clash with the most! (You can write these lists in a journal or on separate sheets of paper.) Read over these lists frequently, thanking God for each person precious in His sight. You may even print out your lists, add photos or artwork and frame them as gifts to give to your family members.
For instance, if you’re feeling super-creative, you could turn it into “Ten Things I Love About You” or “Five Fabulous Things About…” or do it as an acrostic featuring the letters of their name.
Or just send them a little note, an email, even a text — one thing per day?
The more you choose to focus on each person’s positive qualities, characteristics, and behaviors, the greater your love and appreciation for them will be. The better your relationship will be. And the easier it will be to truly thank God for them!
Two more quick thoughts: If some of the most wonderful people in your life are no longer a part of your life – if they’ve passed away or you’ve lost touch, then honor their memory by paying it forward.
And if you feel pain reading this post, because there’ve been very few people cheering you on in your life, let it fuel your resolve to be this kind of person in someone else’s life. If you can’t immediately think of anyone that you can encourage, get praying that God will open your eyes to the opportunities around you.
“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.” Philippians 1:3
By the way, when I’m counting my blessings this week, I’ll be thanking God for each and every one of you.