Finding Gratitude

Edit: I wrote this post pretty much exactly one year ago. And since I wrote it there has been a growth in me that is a deep work of the father’s hand. I don’t get everything I want, not even most of it, but I get all that He wants to give me and that is the most amazing gift I could ever ask for. I will share this post again, but in my next post I want to share what God is doing in me now.

I have written this post over and over in my head. It always sounds so good  but then I forget and each time I sit to write the words seem to be dry and cracked. I will write from just that place in my heart, a place where even as much as I wish I could lead and speak from example, it is right where God has me too and I will grow right beside any of you who consider these words, and wish to hear my heart.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever! Psalm 30:11-12

After the death of Shiloh a little over a year ago my soul went to darker places than it has ever been. Doubting places, places where I could not see God as LOVE or even hear of anyone else’s pain but my own. I was blind because of the suffering that my own soul felt, I was numb to others, oblivious to life outside myself. Over the past year, but especially in the last month my heart has healed. Something in me changed- I call it the growth of a thankful heart. A thankful heart doesn’t look constantly at its own pain, it looks beyond to be with others in rejoicing and weeping. A thankful heart does not envy other people’s lives, it thanks God they have received blessings.

The biggest hurdle that I have overcome is, I believe, one we all chose to hop over or crawl under every single day. It is the hurdle of coveting. Wishing for what someone else has. Wishing, hoping and wishing- never content. It festers bitterness, hardness and a lack of joy.

Definition of COVET
transitive verb
1 : to wish for earnestly
2 : to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably
intransitive verb
1 : to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another

It is a commandment, and so often is my heart  drawn to covet. There are so many chances to covet, some are born of the envy of pinterest decor walls, others from different kinds of blogs, or the ever involved facebook stalking. I covet. I covet and then I am discontent with where I am, what I have, who I have, and who I am. Bigger than any other problem is that I am discontent with God. I find him unable to give to me all the things that I admire, those things that I wish for earnestly, that I covet. When he doesn’t give, I just give up on Him. I harden my heart and decide He does not have good in mind for me. I am void of joy.

So over the last month a bud has formed. I need to nurture it, tend it but something has changed in me, a seed sprouted-thankfulness. The ability to see the blessings God has given to me, the ability to see God’s goodness even in hardship.  I realised how often I covet other people’s blessings and how infrequently I realise those come with the price of their trials as well. Do I desire to hold their pain in my heart too? Their grief? Their shame? Their loneliness? Then I need to let their joys cause me joy too, they do not deserve it, but neither do I deserve any of the good gifts I get. I have no ownership of what He gives me. I deserve nothing.

From that place of undeserving I gift has been given me which is better than any outward gifts, it is the gift of the beginnings of a joyful and contented heart. It is the dawning of a new day of thankfulness. I am owed nothing, and yet when I am given so many treasures I want to be more grown up than that spoiled child who casts my toy away when they see the joy of another child at receiving their own newer toy. I don’t want to be the dog we all remember hearing about as children who drops the bone into the water to exchange it for the bigger and better bone, which is merely a reflection.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

In order to start to look to God and grow a thankful heart I have started recording my blessings. I am visual, so it works best to do it in images, but I just take a picture of the things I am thankful for and write a quick caption. I have been using instagram and have used the hashtag #undeservedgifts2013 (along with some sweet friends of mine) to remind myself that I am not owed a thing, not one good gift, and yet in His goodness and mercy He gives me more than I will ever be able to see. I encourage you to find a way to record blessings. This isn’t a new concept, and many others have brought it up before, including a book that I read a while ago by Ann Voskamp,  One Thousand Gifts (which I really recommend if you have not read it yet!!). Find a journal, a notebook, the instagram app (use the hashtag #undeservedgifts2013 if you wish, don’t if you don’t wish), start a blog you can record on, whatever you choose and start looking at what you’ve been given, so that your heart can grow thankfulness and  neglect to water the seeds of covetousness. Consider taking a break or fast from blogs, social media or other things that encourage the growth of envy or bitterness in your own heart. We all have different triggers. Pray and ask God what yours are.

If this spoke to you leave a comment, or email me, or just let it sit and ruminate in your heart. I pray each person that reads this is filled with joy for the gifts God has given them, even through the heartache, His goodness is so true. 


6 thoughts on “Finding Gratitude

  1. Would you mind if I copied you and started doing photos of undeservedgifts2014? The lack of sun here is starting to make me feel blue. I have so much to be thankful for & I need to be noticing those gifts. : )

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