A Message For Which I'm Grateful

Do you ever sense you are receiving a repeated message in your life? Maybe a common theme or specific instruction? Over the last few weeks, I have undoubtedly been experiencing this. The theme of gratefulness keeps subtly creeping into various moments of my life.

It all started with One Thousand Gifts, a book about how the author, Ann Voskamp, took on a dare to write down 1,000 things she's grateful for. A few days later, the speaker at a ministry event I attended shared about joy. True joy, I learned, is a gift from God that cannot be sought after. Because it is a gift from God, only He can decide when to give it. There is one practice though, that you can do to make way for joy - and that is gratitude. 

About a week later, I ran into a friend/acquaintance of mine, someone I've served with, someone I admire for her amazing faith and energetic spirit. She told me she had recently been diagnosed with a rare life-threatening disease. "Oh I'm so sorry," I choked out.

Her response shocked me. "Oh don't be sorry. I'm excited! I can't wait to see what God is going to do through this situation." What?!Was she grateful even in the midst of what the world would claim as devastating circumstances? 

Okay, God's got my attention now! Maybe I should do something with this newfound gratitude idea. I decided to make a gratitude board. Nothing fancy, a piece of tag board with G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E spelled out across the top. Okay I did use colorful markers but that's the extent of the fanciness. I taped it up on the laundry room door and told the family about it. I didn't expect any contributions from them. It seemed more like a "girly thing" to do, but I wanted to at least explain my new decor. However, within a few days, my husband and sons had written things on there like duct tape, bunnies, ladders, etc. 

That night, my senses were wide open to practicing this new act of gratitude. I had a nice dinner with my boys and as I was cleaning out the garage I heard my 17 year-old ask my younger son to play mini-baseball. Mini-baseball is a game my 13 year-old made up that uses mini-bats, balls made out of duct tape (now you know you wrote duct tape on the gratitude board), and cardboard taped to a dollie with a smiley face made out of you-guessed-it duct tape for the strike zone. They played, laughed, and acted goofy while I, as mom, took it all in. I wrote another entry on the gratitude board - "when my big boys play little boy games together". I was so grateful I almost burst, and my heart was filled with joy. 

As I work on my Bible Study lesson the next morning, I page to Ephesians to find the verse about the fruits of the spirit. My eyes move instead right to a passage I have underlined, only it's not the fruits of the spirit verse (turns out that one's in Galatians) but it's a verse about music. It appears I had really been moved by these verses when I originally read them years ago. They were underlined many times over and over and I had noted beside the verses that it was 2003 and that I had just discovered my passion for writing Christian music. 

"Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:19-20

Here in the middle of what could be a "life-verse" for me, was the gratefulness message again - "always giving thanks to God for everything..."

Later, I coninue my reading in One Thousand Gifts and what Bible verse does she quote? Ephesians 5:20! Okay, now this is getting funny. I grin once again with gratitude for the repeated messages God sends me in many different ways, over and over again, until I finally get it. For this I am grateful!


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