“What are you thankful for?”
It’s a question I dread. Still I try to have a variety of answers on the tip of my tongue at any given moment.
I’ve been writing lists of thanks…gifts as I see them for nearly two years. Disciplining myself to acknowledge Him regularly and yet, when asked point-blank, my jaw drops in shock at my lack of response.
As if what rolls off my lips isn’t good enough.
One might think I’m not really thankful while my heart longs to scream the contrary.
Where does one begin to express the realization that everything is a gift? How do I explain to you that I don’t deserve a single thing this life offers me and yet I am so humbly thankful for it all?
I am swimming in love, treading on grace,
kept afloat by my Savior.
And when I tell you I’m thankful for love, grace, my Savior, I sound cliché.
For years I’ve tried to find a new way to say thank You.
This year, I heard Him ask me “Why?”
Friends, He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. He’s been in the redeeming business for centuries.
Our thanks don’t need to change.
In homeschooling, I struggled with what to share of the Pilgrim journey and what to save for another time. While discussing it over with my husband, I realized my heart was stuck on this quote I stumbled upon last year:
The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.
~ H.U. Westermayer
It’s clear to me they got this. They realized God never changes. He’s still the same as when they left the harbor with hope heavy on their hearts.
What’s more — they lived it. Even when thanks didn’t come easy, they gave it.
We say it regularly: God is good. All the time. But do we live it like the ones before us?
Henri Nouwen figured out how:
Gratitude … goes beyond the ‘mine’ and ‘thine’ and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.
So as I bow my head around the Thanksgiving feast, joy will overwhelm as my heart proclaims:
Father, all I am and have is a gift from You. You give and pour out and overwhelm me with love and mercy and I realize: All I need is You. Thank You for pursuing me…for saving my contrite heart. Thank You for loving me relentlessly and never letting go.
Lord, I long to see You the way You see me. My heart aches to share how much You mean to me and yet I cannot express You in words.
I owe You my life and that’s all I have to give: A life of thanks. A grateful heart. So I offer my heart to you. It’s the best I can do. Take it, Lord. It’s always been Yours.
You are all that’s beautiful within me. The fibers of Your being intertwine my everyday and I could burst with joy at the sight of You. Thank You. For giving me the gift of You.
Father, thank You for giving me this life to get to know You.
You are worthy of praise. Yesterday. Today. And all my tomorrows.
May my life bring You glory and honor now and forevermore.
And one last thing, Lord: I love You, too…
Thou that has given so much to me,
Give one thing more — a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleases me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days;
But such a heart, whose pulse may be Thy praise.
How about You, friend? How do you live out your gratitude? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for sharing your time with me.