"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
possibly said by Albert Einstein, but embraced by me
That probably explains it.
Why I keep talking so much about my gratitude list. Perhaps, it is because I don't understand it.
I don't understand how a simple thank you can have such a far reaching effect in my life.
And my faith.
Being grateful is just the expected response of someone who has been given a gift.
I have been on the receiving end.
Of kindness shown.
Of love shared.
Some gifts have been small and but also there have been gifts that were simply grand.
I expressed my thanks to the ones who gave the gift.
I did this because I want to recognize the gift as a gift enjoyed,
but also to recognize the love shown by the giver.
God is the giver of gifts.
Just because He loves us.
How do we miss them? How can we not thank Him for each one that He sends our way?
Showing us His love in small and also grand.
If I don't acknowledge this, then I am the one missing out.
See, He doesn't need our thanks, yet He tells us to be thankful.
It is for us that He tells us to do this.
It is for our own good that we are to be thankful.
You might think that keeping a gratitude list is not such an important thing to do.
And you might just be wrong. Being thankful is a huge thing.
It is the opposite of discontentment, covetousness and pride.
You can't be thankful out of an unkind heart.
Or when you are impatient, short tempered and rude.
This list of mine?
It has things I recorded on days like that!
But even more important in my own life,
I find that we can't see His gifts and acknowledge Him as the Giver
without also acknowledging His goodness and His love for us.
Make a conscious effort to keep your eyes open for what God is doing in your day.
Some of the things I write are little. Some are big.
Some are sweet. Some profound.
Some things are spiritual, and some things are oh so silly.
But all of them lead me to Him, the One who loves me more.
The One who loves YOU more.
This list helps me get my mind off of myself. Gets the focus on the One deserving my praise.
For example... the gift that is the first one on my list.
"A big black bird sitting on a lamp post.
As I drove under him - he spread out his beautiful wings
and God spoke peace to my heart.
I will ... "take refuge under the shelter of Your wings"
This simple thing was the start for me.
The first gift listed of many more to come.
And for me, the one who lives so often under the illusion of control,
this was the all important first gift.
Something that I felt was beautiful enough to deserve to be listed first.
Not long after that, I discovered that this black bird was likely a buzzard of some sort!
Just being honest here, I still struggle with the appearance of things.
Still struggle with the image.
And if I could, at the time, I think I would have changed it!
(I know! How prideful can you be?)
I decided that it didn't really matter because no one but me would ever know.
Then an opportunity came up to share with some sweet ladies about the topic of gratitude
and how this list had changed my life.
And there it was again.
A buzzard for my first gift?
I debated whether or not to include this ... but it was my first gift.
So I shared it but I could not bring myself to say that it was probably a buzzard.
Really, I have discussed this with the Lord too many times over the last five years!
This morning, I had a different thought on the matter.
If He had put a tiny wren or a sparrow on that light pole,
would I have even noticed the spread of its fragile wings?
God knew I needed big wings that morning, and that was what He gave me.
Even if they were on a buzzard.
There are days I need to see Him strong caring for a weak tiny sparrow, and on those days I see it.
That He cares for us always, especially in our weaknesses.
So you may wonder why I am sharing this now.
Because of this one lesson learned from it.
That when something does not make sense at the time, He is taking care of us in it.
Even when and if the something seems ugly to us. Especially when it seems ugly to us.
No matter what... He is there with us.
And it's the with us that matters.
His nearness is our good.
In the pretty times and the not-so-pretty
times of life.
This list has reminded me of that.