" Train me, God, to walk straight; then I'll follow Your true path. Put me together, one heart and mind; then, undivided, I'll worship in joyful fear. From the bottom of my heart I thank You, dear Lord; I've never kept secret what you're up to. You've always been great toward me—what love! You snatched me from the brink of disaster! " - Psalm 86:11-13 The Message
Before Thanksgiving, I determined to be aware of life's blessings--to deepen my gratitude for the overwhelming gifts God has given...Leah challenged her facebook friends to post our gratefulness each day before Thanksgiving. I took up the challenge and challenged my friends as did others. One by one , as our friends took up our challenge, they would begin to share their own attitude of gratitude..thanks for the obvious and tangible and also for the intangible and deeper matters of the heart. Thanksgiving spread like wildfire. It was amazing. But even more amazing was the change I began to see and feel within myself and how I began to see my outward circumstances differently.
As I began to note God's abundant grace, I began to anticipate the joy, the blessing, and the miracle of Christmas---not just the season but the advent of our Savior, the Jesus who lives and dwells among us today not just that first Christmas so many centuries ago. It changed my outlook on life and my positive change made others around me more positive too.
Thanksgiving came and went and most of us got out of the habit of posting our gratitude every day---maybe once in a while but not regularly. I missed it...Then I saw a blog "Tall Tales" ( http://sherri-dawn.blogspot.com/ )...Couldn't help but be drawn to a blog by another person with my same name! She was already well into her list of 1000 gifts. I was blessed by her genuine openness as I remembered how focusing on gratitude changed my outlook...and how a little gratitude leads to more grace and more gratitude. Both grace and gratitude multiplies...
So I decided it was time again for me to focus a little more on both--grace and gratitude. Seems like they go hand in hand and I'm not really sure you can have one without the other...And like so many of those who have joined this adventure, my list goes on and on and on. I'm not sure what happens when we get to 1000. In seeing those means and matters of grace written out one by one even in beginning, I begin to see already how endless is the grace God has given and how abundant is my gratitude for all He has done. Today is just the beginning of a lifetime and I am so grateful for these, His gifts:
- The Jesus who came would come down and rock me as a child while I "hid" in the laundry hamper. I don't fit in the laundry hamper anymore but He still comes down and holds me in the darkest places.
- A freshly mown yard. The contentment of the finished work reminds me how much God has mown down in my spirit. I wonder if he sits on the "porch" to enjoy the moment too....even knowing that soon we both will have to mow again to maintain it.
- A quiet phone. It doesn't happen often but it assures me that, for a little while at least, there are no crises to answers and no problems to solve. God is taking care of those I love without my help...He always does.
- Being able to sit quietly with a friend as each one of us does our own work. I remember when I couldn't have done it--I couldn't trust that deep. There's something about a friendship that doesn't always need words.
- The men and women who put their lives on the line to protect us. As many of us honor Officer Holder and his sacrifice, we hear stories from the men who served beside him. And we are blessed by his inspiration not only as a police officer but also as a husband, father, a friend, and a man of God. We should all strive to live such a life...