I have been intentionally practicing gratefulness for six months now. It feels brand new and forever at the same time. I can confidently say - I am not the same woman that I was before.
My heart has changed. I honestly feel like a new woman. A woman who is rooted in God's love and sees Him work every single day in her life....all because of gratefulness.
Before starting on this journey of gratitude, I was so empty. I felt unfulfilled, dry...I was just going through the motions. I struggled with what my purpose in life was. I knew that God loved me and I knew that there were plans in store for me...but as a whole my life felt shallow and lacking. I didn't believe in those good gifts God gives...because I didn't see them.
...but then I started to read One Thousand Gifts...I read about Eucharisteo and how it could change a life. How it could lay a foundation for a life of joy in all the things God gives us. I began writing a gratitude journal - a list of things I am thankful for...and through that? I started to see the gifts, began to feel the undercurrent of joy in my life.
Because of gratefulness I am pausing to see God in the moments...the most beautiful, little, simple moments of my daily life. You guys, so many of the things on my gratitude list are SO silly...so 'unimportant'...but they matter to my heart because they show me God loves me.
Because of gratefulness, I am slowing my life down to see the gifts, to take in every moment. I used to get so overwhelmed by the children I care for - I would lose it with them...just countless times every day. I was always racing to complete the next thing on 'the list' and to just get through each day. It was horrible...to live without enjoying life and what had been handed to me. But when I stop to see gifts - even gifts that don't feel like gifts - to see God in those moments with them? ... grace. joy.
Because of gratefulness I see God in the faces of those around me - the sweet faces of the children I care for, the faces of my friends and family, the faces of strangers and bank tellers and grocery store baggers.
Because of gratefulness I count the ways that God loves me - intimately and daily - and my heart changes to become more like His. It does. It truly is a miracle. Slowing down to see God? It makes my life so much more meaningful.
Because of gratefulness I have a new way of speaking. I say thank you. I point things back to God, without even thinking about it. I don't have to try to count gifts anymore because it has become second-nature to notice them and to say 'thank you' for them. I speak in a way that shows others that I am grateful and joyful....because I am.
Because of gratefulness I smile more. I do. I can't even help it! That joy in me just won't stay hidden.
Being thankful, grateful, expressing my gratitude for all the things God gives me? Even when it is hard and it hurts and it feels like the last thing I would ever do? It brings unimaginable wholeness and healing to my heart. Gratefulness has brought abounding joy to me! It is overwhelming. The joy I feel in my heart is.....I don't have words to explain how incredible and deep it is. Even through difficult times and moments when I don't feel grateful....when I stop to give gratitude to God....I am filled with joy. It is miraculous.
All this to say: Gratitude changes a life. and it could change yours.
Do you have a gratitude journal? Are you keeping a list of all the ways God loves you every day? If not....why? I promise that God will change you through it. He is faithful. He's giving you gifts all.day.long.....do you notice them? ...do you stop to say 'thank you'? God loves you so much!
I sound like a broken record about this, but it's because I believe it is so life-changing. Go read One Thousand Gifts (it's only $7!) Subscribe to Ann's blog. Start your list!