this word, originally from the greek language, literally means, to give thanks. i didn’t know much about this word until a year or so ago when i picked up ann voskamp’s book, one thousand gifts. a book that i read with a group of dear women that i walked alongside for a season, this book and this one simple word, began to re-define so many of my thoughts on what being thankful looked like.
although it is a simple word, it is not an easy word. to give thanks in the midst of all circumstances does not always feel desirable or good at times, yet, in doing this, even in the midst of hardship, i’ve found will bring a constant awareness and a perspective that there are always things for which we can give our gratitude. it helps to re-shape our world again and realize that we are small, He is big and we are not powerful enough to do anything but yield to Him and let the truth that is in us, deep inside, rise up and agree with what He has spoken. it’s a practice of discipline, one that i feel ann describes as a treasure hunt. we can continually look through a lens each day of anticipation, waiting to collect treasures that He gives us.
this may not seem like it makes much sense, and at times, there really isn’t a logical reasoning to explain it. however, i know that in my practice of this, that in choosing to see that “all is grace,” it brings a reassurance in times where my heart begins to doubt and wonder. sure, there are things in my life that are not as i thought they would be. deep longings and desires that He hasn’t seen fit to meet yet. promises that have been spoken to my heart, but certain things have still not come to pass. this does not change the fact that my heart chooses to place trust in His character and His heart for me. the discipline is in the choice. the choice to believe that He is still good and is not holding out on me.
sitting in the midst of my circumstances and looking at everything around me that i don’t have or promises that have not been fulfilled will not do anything for my heart (and soul) but feed the doubt, worry and anxiety. when, in reality, i am not the one who can make any of those things happen on my own. i, instead, recognize who He says He is, and what He says about me, and from there, i can see what He has given to me, what abundance there is in my life. the practice of gratitude can then turn what we have into enough. i can begin to look for the sweet gifts that He will give to me through the day, things that will speak deep to my heart and the core of my being that He created and knows better than anyone else. He knows what will bring my deepest fulfillment and joy, so why would i want to look anywhere else? the butterfly that decides to land on a leaf and flutter its wings can speak to the place in me where i know He has spoken a specific promise a few years before. that His presence was near, that He saw me and my pain, and would not leave me alone. the gentle whispers that come through those small gifts can touch deep places if we stop and choose to recognize them.
so, on this day, where so many go through the “ritual” of giving thanks, may we also stop to recognize the blessings that He has given, but may it be a call to live a life in a recording of blessings. that in whatever we find ourselves in the middle of, abundance, barrenness, joy or sadness, may we still choose to give thanks to Him, the author of all good things, the one who delights over us and who quiets our hearts with His intimate and life-giving love.