I have the habit of writing down something everyday that I am thankful for--a person God has put in my life, an event in which I see his hand (or maybe don't yet see it but want to), a special gift or an answer to prayer. Psalm 50 verse 23 (NIV) says, "He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God." The practice of giving thanks makes me better able to see what God is doing.
Some days I stare at the page a long time before writing something down. My rule is that it must be from the past twenty-four hours. Of course, it might be some eternal truth such as that I am in his loving arms that has struck me in a fresh way (as I buried my head under the covers, trying unsuccessfully to stifle a hacking cough.) Some days it is something small like the glint of sunlight on the water, the amazing color of a leaf. Other days it is humongous! My husband is alive and doing well even though I never thought to pray for protection against heart attack.
I used to keep a list in a school notebook. Then I moved to a beautifully illustrated birthday book with Victorian flowers and thoughtful quotations. This year I chose a simple, elegantly bound, blank book. I start a new page every month and sometimes list multiple things in a single day, or, I confess, miss a day or two when the activities of life crowd out my time alone with the Lord. As I look back over the year, I see the friendship that my grandchildren have with each other, the good times we have had as extended family, people I met at writing conferences, the beauty of a symphony concert. In January I see thanks that despite our liberal gun laws, political shootings are not common. In March I see God's power and sovereignty in Japan.
My list includes thanks for major breakthroughs in writing, and for tiny steps forward with my work-in-progress. Then there are the days when I cling to the grace that God's love does not depend on the number of hits on my website or "likes" on Facebook. On those days when it is hard to find something for which to be thankful, it helps to flip back through the pages and remind myself of God's faithfulness morning by morning.
A friend of mine also keeps such a book and taught her children to do the same. She calls it a "Blessing Book." I like that. Seeing God's blessings in the past, helps me to anticipate his blessings in the future and to notice them in the moment.
May today and every day be Thanksgiving for you. May you honor the One who has blessed you and be prepared to see his salvation.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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