I read Ann Voskamp’s book last summer and promised myself I’d be more thankful. I found a journal to make my list of ‘thanks’ and made a note for a few days. But the journal got lost in the piles of workbooks and grocery lists and bills and I lost the resolution for thanksgiving.
I still promised to complain less and celebrate more, but there was no rhythm to it, no discipline for it and soon I found myself the cynic and critic again. So this year, when she dared me again to make a list, I asked if I dare try.
January seemed a bit too conventional (and already overwhelmed with other small things). So, in February, I grabbed a new journal-the beautiful one Mom stuffed in my stocking. And I asked for grace to do a small thing-to list 10 ‘thank you’s’ each night before closing my eyes.
It’s a small thing-just two words and in a small corner of my day (just before bed). And for me, the one who likes to come up with her own novel ideas, writing thanks in a journal has always seemed a bit too commonplace. But humbling myself to do what so many others have done is slowly doing big things inside of me.
There’s nothing commonplace about counting up the marks of Christ’s grace.
And after a string of these nights and a few pages of thanks, Jason rolls over to ask what I’m up to. I tell him I’m listing thanks-daring with Ann Voskamp to list 1000 this year (only about ten each day). He laughs at all my ‘small things’ and I laugh too but decide to say my thanks out loud that night- my list of thanks about him. Silly stuff-like his cute ears and his great hair and the way he brushes off his feet with his socks-and serious stuff-like his faithfulness to me and his love for the kids and his hands hard at work each and every day for us.
And before I know it, this listing of thanks to God has turned into an endless list of thanks to my husband. As I give in and give thanks up, the thanks spills over and goes out. Thanks to HIM first, is slowly becoming a thanks to them.
To my children, my mom and dad and sister, the neighbor, the grocer, the homeless paper vendor, the traffic director, Brennan’s Sunday school teacher…as the days of thanks listing pass, I can’t help but feel thanks when I pass by these people. And I find myself saying it more…actually saying the words, ‘Thank you.’
This small thing done just a few minutes at the close of each night is gradually becoming one of the biggest parts of my day. When I complain or criticize, God seems to remind me of that little bedside journal and ask how I might thank Him instead. How I might find my way to say ‘thank you’ even when I can’t find a way to feel it just yet.
These two small words are a way to welcome the surprise-the surprise that He is here and He is good and He is loving me.
And surprise! As I take a moment to notice His love and write out thanks, He seems to take the errands and to do’s and disruptions-all these moments and show them to be good after all: for my good, provided by a good God-who deserves to hear these good two words…’Thank you.‘
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
1 Chronicles 16:34
If you’re not already, would you do this small thing with me? Just list a few notes of thanks to God each night? And if you haven’t, read Ann Voskamp’s book!
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