Because I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death – because I have suffered loss and grief and pain — I don’t ever forget how trite the words can sound.
But I can’t let that keep me from speaking the Truth.
Because even though I haven’t always been in a place where I could hear it, eventually that Truth set me free.
Sometimes I’d fallen into discouragement, which led to depression, and then to despair. Other times I got so busy and distracted and pulled in every direction, that I felt stressed and anxious and overwhelmed — which led to worry and fear.
There’ve been many ways Jesus has come to my rescue… and there are many things He’s taught me about fighting for my freedom and standing firm in that freedom.
A huge part of it is having a thankful heart.
Learning to be thankful right here, right now. Even with things as they are. Even if they never change. Or if they only get worse.
Not letting the challenges, obstacles, the trials, and tribulations rob me of the joy He promised me in the midst of it all. The grace. The peace.
One of my favorite poets, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, wrote:
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
(not just the one through which He spoke to Moses!)
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries…
It’s so easy to miss God in our midst. To be so focused on our tasks (or our trials and our tears) that we don’t see the holy moments, the ordinary miracles, the everyday blessings, all the beauty that’s unfolding right before our eyes.
It’s a similar sentiment to the one sung by Louis Armstrong in “What A Wonderful World” or more recently, Rob Thomas in “Little Wonders” from the Disney movie “Meet The Robinsons.”
To me, it’s become a bigger fear than the rest. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and realize I missed it – because I was too busy being miserable and waiting for things to get better. Or waiting for things to slow down. Or waiting for… whatever.
(Facebook friends, it’s why I do so many messy craft projects with my nephews. I don’t want to miss having a relationship with them. These are precious moments! Live them. Really live them. And thank God for them!)
Last week I shared a free printable gratitude journal. This week I have a special journal prompt for you: A Few of My Favorite Things Free Printable. You can print it out and fill it in, or use it as a springboard for your own scrapbooking, art journaling, blog or Facebook post.
Don’t just list these things! Try to experience some of them again if you can! Make your favorite recipe, listen to your favorite song, re-read your favorite book or watch your favorite movie again. If your favorite memories involve loved ones who have passed on, relive them by sharing them with someone new!
Sam: “It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo… Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.
Whatever is on your to-do list today, whatever is on the news, whatever you or friends and family are going through… try to take a few moments to count your blessings this week.
“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains… My advice is: Go outside, to the fields, enjoy nature and the sunshine, go out and try to recapture happiness in yourself and in God. Think of all the beauty that’s still left in and around you and be happy!” ~ Anne Frank
Recapture the wonder with a thankful heart.