"Those who thank Him in all things find that He gives more to thank Him for."
"Giving thanks to the Lord keeps my eyes on the Lord."
"Focus not on the crisis, but on Christ."Of all the speakers at the women's conference last weekend, I was moved most by the heart of Ann Voskamp, whose words are above. Through the deep valleys of life, Ann has learned to praise God, to thank Him in all things. She painted a poignant picture of how we can live fully right where we are. It's keeping our hands open to God in life, not closed or withholding anything from Him.
"We were made to give Him thanks," she says. "Not just on one day -- Thanksgiving. We were made to praise Him and to live thanksgiving, every day!" Her book, "One Thousand Gifts" dares all "to live fully right where you are." She challenges each of us to start counting our blessings "to know that God can be counted on."
We all have struggles and stresses, but even on the most lonely of roads, we can find immeasurable blessings if we open our eyes to notice them... fresh dewdrops in sunlight, the rich aroma of coffee, a child's toothless grin, a brisk autumn walk, the flutter of a yellow leaf.
As we start thanking Him, our eyes are opened to the many more blessings... the symphony of the rain, the hoot of an owl, a confidence shared, an invitation extended, the colors of the sky.
I started making a list, and found that the only difficult part about it is taking the time to write them all down... freedoms and flexibility, fresh water in abundance, a delightful memory, words softly spoken, the courage of a young man serving our country.
While I thought I already had a grateful heart, the blessings kept coming richer and sweeter as I recognized anew all that He's given me... to love and be loved, the pleasure of a job well done, a good decision, the privilege of parenting, the gift of laughter... the list continues on and on.
As the appointed day of Thanksgiving approaches, will you join me in making it a way of life -- to thank Him for all things, in all things? I invite you to share a special thanks you may have otherwise overlooked.
Dear God, giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), I will never stop thanking you for all you have given me. I'm especially grateful for your grace and forgiveness, and the everlasting hope we have in your son Jesus.