The seasons are our lesson keepers. They influence of our poetry, our planning, and our gathering. We scarcely realize, or at least I do, how many times I forget the revelation of glory I have found from one season to the next. It is almost like I am surprised to meet His majesty in the sunset or the breaking of the day. I forget that I have seen it before and I am astounded that He entreats me yet again to find Him in the simple.
The simple is almost always more breathtaking than the extravagant, because we don’t expect it. Grace is often in the little things, love built up in layers. They remind us that in simplicity He meets and pours extravagance upon our weary and withered souls. We can gather grace like that. We can gather life in pieces like that.
And sometimes in our gathering we hedge in and forget that we can’t hoard grace. We can’t keep the gifts He has given us because they are meant to be given away.
Sometimes, it takes the routine of His love, to awaken our dulled senses to the simple magnificent blessings we have before us. The seasons and the turning of our days are examples of His monotonous loving….the repeating over and over the glory of His creativity so we can expel praise, extol reverence, and expend wonder.
And sometimes I forget, because I get caught up in the collecting. I forget that the collecting is meant to be a deposit in others, not a stashing of treasure.
My heart is inditing a good matter; I speak the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. – Psalm 45:1
It is no coincidence that we celebrate thankfulness in this season of explosive beauty and harvest. It is the preparing and the practice of a life of gratitude which touches heaven with the things of the earth. I think it is a skill in remembering, a chance to choose gratefulness a choice we make.
In those places where I find gratefulness hard, I wonder if that too is a choice I am making? Like I am choosing the antithesis of grace… the lack of believing that God is actually for me. Sometimes it is because I have am not able to see the end like He does, to grasp the fullness of the good in every part of my journey.
But it is there… Goodness…because He is with us, and that changes everything. That is why we can have a good gratitude in the midst of our hard and difficult, messy and clutter spaces.
Last week a dear friend of my heart purposed to bless me because of her own heart of gratitude, well…and because she is an amazing friend. She has a gift for organization, something I use sparingly, and can take a mess and make it marvelous. Her gift for seeing good and possible in a room was the key God used to open the door of gratitude in both our hearts.
We spent hours purging my bookshelf and cleaning and rearranging the entryway to my home. Getting rid of books , (which may have stressed me out just a little), and defining a space so that it was welcoming and appealing and reflected my heart when others entered my home. In the end the stripping was well worth it, it was not only a necessity but a an exercise in freedom.
When it was all said and done. The room was completely transformed into a space that allowed grace to flow. The little things that I disliked about my little porch/entryway were no longer visible. She helped me divide the space into sections and organized them in a way that was not just functional but pretty.
She knew going into the project exactly how she thought it would turn out. Isn’t that a little like the way God Works on us? We can’t see the end that He sees, but we can be confident that He will complete what He starts in us.
And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ, developing and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. – Philippians 1:6
It wasn’t until the next morning that the full force of what we did together actually melted my heart. I was overwhelmed by her love towards me. That she would sit right in my mountain of mess and clutter and weed out the good, even the unlovely, and find a way to make it glow. And then I realized is much I needed her strength and resolve to encourage me to get rid of those things I thought I needed to keep. Then considered how God meets us and leads us to let go of all those things that steal stillness and replace grace in our living space.
In her willingness to serve and bless me, she taught me a few lessons in grace. I was reminded that soul-care starts when we recognize the little things and define them by love and choose gratitude and grace.
I was blessed that evening as we worked together… because who doesn’t love working with friends…but even more because she spent time with me; she saw my heart and offered her own. But I didn’t grasp the fullness of her gift till the next morning. Though we talked about what I wanted in the room, she set up a special space just for me to have devotions as I was busy in another area. She knew that it was an important piece of the room being complete. It was that extension of grace in gratitude of her own heart that blessed mine so much.
As I spent time in His Word the next morning, I began to recognize the little details she made sure were surrounding me. My grandmother’s quilt draped behind my shoulders holding me close; my daughter’s hand-painted picture perched next to me covering me like Psalm 91 declares; and my grandfather’s antique books with his autograph right on top reminding me of the heritage of prayer I have been given.
In that moment the tears rolled as the gratitude and praise exited my heart.
It is a beautiful thing when people exercise their gifts and bless others, because it looks a lot like love. It makes me think of Jesus and the fact that He is always with us. When God is with us, we are compelled to spill that love towards others. Emmanuel… God with us… love spilled out. It really it is a chance to not only serve, but to choose gratefulness, and to remember the promise of the angels when the Savior was born.
We can choose gratefulness in the midst of our chaos, because He is here with us.
We can choose gratefulness as we wait in the promise, because He has not failed to keep them.
We can choose gratefulness when the days feel empty, because He has not left us alone and uncared for.
He is the omnipresent, promise-keeping, companion of our days, friends.
And we have a choice…gratefulness or ungratefulness. And when we choose to be ungrateful, we miss His goodness.We miss His goodness when we look anywhere that He is not because in His presence there is an overwhelming reality that good can and does thrive.
In the space where we look for God, in the place we follow Matthew’s advice and seek Him first…the soul…filled with Christ… is no longer turned inward but upward; I gets replaced with the I AM we are seeking to find, and gratefulness is the fruit of our harvest days.
Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe. – Hebrews 12:28
That morning after all our working, I settled into my chair and I sighed and I cried a little as I waited in the quietness. I didn’t realize that the tired I was feeling was because I was needing that space of resting, there… in that spot I had carved out for Him so long ago. I had dedicated that space years ago as a refuge when I was a young momma, needing an escape and needing to recharge. It was a holy space, set apart for Him; and now it was again. I coveted that time and space carefully.
Here in this place, where gratefulness is the space I start from, I recognized God fills us up with all these good gifts so that we can spill out into others. He comforts us in ways that fill our hearts and He enables us to choose gratefulness the more we look for his goodness.
I am ever grateful for the space to be, to exist, to think and to share and to hope and to believe… even amidst and among those who do not see the way I do.
I am grateful for the hard and difficult discussions that make us think a little more about the reasons we feel the way we do and the wrestling with His Word those discussions lead us to.
I am grateful for those people who see things a bit differently, for the view that they take in and for their willingness to share it.
I am reminded that favor and grace are synonymous, and outside of God we can’t even begin to understand what they really look like. All these things widen my view of the way of grace and remind me to rehearse the wonder of God in gratitude.
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” GK Chesterton
What are the #gracemoments you are collecting in gratitude today friends?
IT’S YOUR TURN TO BE A GRACE COUNTER! SHARE YOUR GRACE MOMENT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AND THEN COUNT GRACE WITH A FRIEND WITH COMMENT ON A BLOG OR TWO.
If you are a blogger, link up here with a post about finding grace moments in your life or one of your favorite inspiring and encouraging posts from this week. Share your thoughts in the comment section telling me about the #Grace Moments you experienced this week. *(only 1 post per link please)*
Take time to visit your neighbor next to you, and if you want visit a few more friends on the journey. We all need a little encouragement and affirmation as we travel together.
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Each week I will try visit as many of your amazing posts as I can.This is a safe place to sit and dwell in grace together, friends. I can’t wait to pour a cup of friendship with you and take in the grace moments you have to share. Don’t forget to leave a comment below, I love to hear from you.