Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Heart of Gratitude

This time of year is one where many of us reflect on the things in our lives that we are grateful for. We all know that we should be mindful of our blessings year-round, we often get caught up in the day to day hustle of life and many of these things aren't noticed or given much thought. It is for this reason that Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday. We celebrate with family, friends, good food, parades, football and games, but we also spend time thinking of the things in our lives for which we tend to take for granted. 

On the day before Thanksgiving last year, I left work and passed the Oliver Gospel Mission (our local shelter and Christian outreach program) on my way home. Outside was an extremely long line of people waiting to get in to spend the night indoors and to get a hot meal. The temperatures were already very cold, and it was still light outside. I spent the rest of my drive home thinking about those people. What happens when the shelter fills to capacity? What happens when they run out of food? Or when they run out of blankets?

I take so many things for granted! When was the last time I had to wait in a line, hoping that I would be able to sleep a night indoors or that I would make it to the front before the food run out, lest I go hungry? Never. I have never had to do that. But did I wake up that morning grateful to be in my own home, warm under the covers, thanking God that I had a job to get up and go to and earn a paycheck? Nope. I woke up that morning thinking just how much I wanted to keep sleeping, how much I didn't want to get into a hot shower, put on clean clothes, and drive my car to the place I go to work every day. I had a 4 day weekend ahead that I was SO ready to start...and 2 of those days I was getting paid vacation!

That reminder has stuck with me this past year. Shamefully, I haven't thought of it every day, but I do try to remember that lesson whenever I start to have a pity party or when I have a hard time getting myself out of bed in the mornings for work. I have little to complain about. My basic needs are taken care of, and I have so many wonderful blessings on top of that. I have a husband who is kind, loving, generous, and patient with me. I have the greatest family and friends. I have good health, a steady job, and a place to call home. Most importantly, I have been blessed with the grace, love, and forgiveness of Christ. It's through His sacrifice that I am saved.

Think all of these things aren't great and wonderful blessings? Drive by your local shelter. 

"Gratitude and thanksgiving are so important for your soul. It is not just what God wants from you; it is what God wants for you. Gratitude has been called the 'memory of the heart.' Praise and gratitude bring up pictures in our minds that say, 'Remember.'  Isn't that what Jesus did in the last twelve hours of His life as He broke the bread and passed the cup? 

"And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after the supper, he took the cup…” (Luke 22:19-20). 

Remember. Give thanks."
          - Sharon Jaynes

So tomorrow, enjoy Thanksgiving Day with family and friends - enjoy your food, your games, and the time you can spend relaxing. But don't forget to be grateful for all of it.


  1. This is probably my favorite edition you have posted to date, as I couldn't agree more with every word you wrote. The time I have spent volunteering with Make A Wish gave me the strength and gratefulness to get through last year when Avia was in the NICU. But it was that extremely brief time in the hospital that has made me want to give back threefold. This year, Matthew and I will be volunteering with a local charity to pass out toys to families that can't afford any... And we'll be doing it on Avia's birthday :) Next year she'll be old enough to join us, which excites me already!! We can all use little reminders throughout the year of how blessed we are: blessed for a roof over our head, wheels to get us to a job, a job! Most importantly, as you mentioned, a reminder of how much our Lord God loves us and through his son, Jesus Christ, we've been forgiven.

    I love you and am so excited to see all of my family soon! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. I love that idea! And Avia will grow up loving that activity with y'all. Aren't we beyond blessed?

  2. I just wrote a very long response to your comments. However, someone in cyberspace has it. I certainly just wanted to let my three girls Jennifer, Leslie, and Morgan how terribly proud of them I am. Each of you has such loving, compassionate, generous hearts. The decisions each of you has made in and for your lives enriches my heart and life. A momma cannot begin to tell in words the love that she feels for her children. Your Christian faith and hearts are God's gifts!

  3. WOW!! Lovely and delicious looking!! -Casey