Friday, November 12, 2010

Journey of Faith Friday: Thankfulness



God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say "thank you?" -William A. Ward

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.  -G.B. Stern

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. -G.K. Chesterton

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.  -William Faulkner

There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude.  It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance. -Joseph Addison

The unthankful heart...discoveries no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings! -Henry Ward Beecher
Oh, how I have found this to be true.  The practice of thanksgiving brings to mind more things of which to be thankful.  The practice of thanksgiving is so richly satisfying.  

It had been a dreary few weeks, not just the weather, but life, in general.  Like waves pounding the shore, I was being bombarded with change (read more here).  The waves kept crashing and I kept eroding.  Sam would ask, during my darkest days, "Tell me three things you are thankful for."  I would lay looking at the ceiling, my mind empty, except the little portion of grey matter filled with anger, frustration, and words that spoke, "Nothing."  Then tears would flow.

Months passed.  They were lonely......for me...and for Sam.  They were selfish.....mainly for me.  I said my goodbyes while my covenant partner spent nights in Florida, away from me, wondering if our marriage would survive.

As the spring brings new life, so it did in my soul.  Spring 2009, I joined Sam in Florida.  There were a lot of days spent on our bed, my head buried into a teared stained pillow.  However, there were days spent walking on the seashore when I experienced new life, when I experienced less eroding (or maybe more, but for my own good).

Spring 2010, again brought new life and more change.  I was excited for Bennett to join our family, but I was scared.  What if I slipped into that dark place again?  What if being so far from my family took root as bitterness destroying those closest to me?  What if?  What if?

I had never forgotten the many times Sam asked me to tell him three things I was thankful for.  I wanted to live a life of thanksgiving, but I hadn't quite figured out how to be consistently thankful in the valleys. Then I came across Ann Voskamp's Gratitude Community and I knew I needed to begin participating.  I decided I would journal 10 things I was thankful for each day.  I began the week of May 24, 2010.  One thousand five hundred and thirty seven (and counting) gifts later, I can say GOD HAS TRANSFORMED MY MIND.  

I am more satisfied!

I am more alive!

I am more forgiving!

I am more positive!

I am more in tune with all God has given me!

I am more compassionate!

I am always watching for another gift!

I am daily give thanks, because the discipline has led to freedom!

My empty mind has become filled with gifts, of which I am thankful, even when I am walking through the valley.   

What are you thankful for?
Do you have a habit of giving thanks all year or just in November?
Do you give thanks when you are in the valley?
Will you share with us today?

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Next Friday:  I will be writing about God being my sanctuary.  You can join me in writing how God has been/is your sanctuary or feel free to write anything about your faith journey, linking back to Journey of Faith Friday.  From now on you are welcome to join me in my weekly subject or write on a subject of your choice, but please make it relevant to your faith journey.
Thanks Heidi for your suggestion!!!!!!
Head on over to catch up with Heidi at WonderWomanWannabe.

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Amy said...

beautiful post!

Heidi said...

Lovely display of your heart, amber.

I, too, have learned the magnitiude that gratitude can shape and renew the mind.

What a blessing to have someone walking lifes road with you to remind you of that. :)

Rebecca B said...

I started to post on facebook each day this month something I'm thankful for and I'm amazed at how much it changes my perspective on the day! Then I thought about your list of things you're thankful for and I totally get why now. I'm going to have to continue. It's come at the perfect time in my life because I know otherwise I might be going into that dark hole as you mentioned, but instead I'm feeling more joyful than ever. Thanks for your encouragement!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an awesome testimony! And what a wake up call for me when I'm often tempted to have a pity party. 7 years ago I moved to FL, too (after growing up in KY and then living in IN) and we are now raising our children far away from any family. I can often get into a "poor me" attitude (it's prevalent right now with Thanksgiving coming up and no extended family around to celebrate it with). Thank you for that reminder that we have been blessed with SO much if we will open our eyes to it!

Sandy said...

I am grateful for your transparent telling of your story....and sooo thankful that you discovered the power of practicing the discipline of gratitude early in your married life.