8.17.2012

Thankful For :: Two Years

Gratitude. Thankfulness. Realizing that everything you experience, have, use, and give never belonged to you in the first place, but is all a gift from God. That's what the Thankfulness list is all about for me. My life is not your life, and your life is not my life. God takes each of us through different seasons and teaches us different things - some appear to be harder than others.

If you want to talk about the purely physical aspect of this, then yes, we are richly blessed at the moment. For the first time in our 12 years of marriage, we both have jobs that we enjoy and that pay us well for our work. We have been given opportunities to expand our property holdings in unexpected ways, we have plenty of good food to eat, and neither of us have experienced any major health issues. Life is good, and I praise and thank the Lord for that.

But life isn't always good. Maybe you don't have a job. Maybe your pantry is empty. Maybe you don't know where the money is going to come from to pay your rent. Maybe you were just diagnosed with cancer or you have been trying for years to have children. I remember sitting at our dining room table three  years and eight months ago, sobbing. We had just returned to the States after a very difficult stint overseas. We had no jobs, a borrowed car, and the money that we had been living on would soon be gone. Life wasn't good, but I praise and thank the Lord for that time too.

Why?

Because it makes me appreciate, all the more, where we are today. God knew that there were lessons that we needed to learn. He knows that there are lessons that we still need to learn! Last week, I was reminded multiple times that, while it is good (and Biblical) to work hard and prepare for the future (Prov. 6:6-11 makes that clear), I also need to keep it in perspective. It's all just stuff - I cannot take it with me, but I can use it to bring glory to the One who gave it to me.

Jesus says, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." He went on to tell the story of a rich man who had a very good crop, and he decided to build bigger barns to hold it all, and then retire. "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God. [...] For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." {Luke 12:15, 20 & 21, 34}

On August 20, 2010, I was trying to figure out what to write for a blog post. As I sat there, I looked around the office and realized that I had stopped appreciating what I had, and had started taking it for granted. I always wanted more. More stuff, more nick-knacks, more clothes, more books {wait, is that a bad thing?}. I wasn't satisfied. And then I realized that I didn't have anything - God had given it all to me, and rather than thanking Him for His gifts (not just physical things, but jobs and sunshine and rainy days and warmth from a mug of something hot), I was complaining because I wanted more. I typed "1." on the screen, and the list was started.

That was two years ago. Since then, I heard about bigger name list makers, and I've seen fellow blogging friends start and end their own Thankfulness Lists. Gratitude isn't about making sure others see it, it's simply about taking time to realize how much we have been given. I've lived among those who are truly impoverished (physically) - no food, no clothes (to speak of), no real shelter, no medicine when they are sick, no opportunities - and I look around at the opulence of the U.S. and other Westernized countries, and I challenge you: Take time to express gratitude. Blog it, Facebook it, journal it, pray it. In the words of one mega sports shoe company...Just Do It.

We'll return to our regularly scheduled Thankful For Post next week!

Today - I want YOU to make the list!
Share something you are thankful for in the comments on this post.


4 comments:

  1. I am thankful for you, Carrie... for the tweet that brought us together, and for the many ways your life and example encourage me.

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  2. I am thankful for the gift of choices. There are people out there in the same place where you found yourself 3 years and 8 months ago, who don't have the luxury of choices. God often tests the faith of those who have faith in God. I remember a discussion on the same point with a mentor 9 years ago and her words of wisdom were, God only tests those who He knows have the fortitude and strength to bear the test. It makes the hard times easier to handle and motivates to find solutions where one thinks there are not any. Happy Friday!

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  3. Today, I'm thankful for nearly three solid weeks with my husband before we both start new adventures in school in work. Having this time together has been memorable and will come in short supply when we start up with everything again. Also, I'm thankful for your blog, Carrie. Even when I don't particularly agree or have a great interest in your posts, I still read them because I appreciate your style. :)

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  4. I'm thankful that the fatigue I've been battling the past 10 months seems to be subsiding just a little - and that it let me get out walking 3 mornings in a row! That's huge, for me.
    I'm also thankful that my husband will have next week (mostly) off from his 3 jobs, and that he'll get some rest before school starts again on the 29th. And I'm so, so, so thankful for him!

    ReplyDelete

There are more than 400,000 words in the English language. My only request of you is this: Use them wisely.

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