Y’all, I’m going to start off by telling you this has been a hard Gratitude Friday to write. Not because it’s a difficult topic or because I don’t love every bit of it but because I had such a battle simply typing. Almost as if this is the post the enemy does not want you to read. Because, y’all, I really do not struggle with A) writing a lot of words or B) writing a lot of words about gratitude.
But being grateful for God? For who He is? For His character? His Son? His grace, mercy, love?
I’m fairly certain the enemy is ready to fight you and me to the death over this one.
Don’t let that happen, friend.
Around the time our daughter turned one, I made an appointment with our infertility doctor (a reproductive endocrinologist) (or RE for short). It had taken us years to have one baby, I kind of assumed it could take us a while for a second one. I met our RE in his office, caught up on life the past year and a half, had a good little appointment with the internal ultrasound (Dr. Wand), and then started going over the results.
My RE, Dr. K, began by telling me the blood tests he would need to run to verify what he had seen on the ultrasound.
Dr. K started, “Well, it looks like the right ovary…”
Me, interrupting, “Rita.”
Dr. K, “I’m sorry?”
Me, “Rita. My right ovary is named Rita.”
Dr. K chuckling, “Oh that’s right! Y’all were the Fun Couple! Okay, so Rita looks…”
How did I go from the girl crying into a pillow in the pitch black of her closet to being “The Fun Couple” in an infertility clinic?
God taught me how to be grateful for One Thing.
The first week in this series we began with our Plumb Line. A beginning. A starting point. Our goal was to simply be grateful for Something. Anything. Nothing fancy or religious or holy. Just something. Allow God to begin His work in our lives and enjoy the truth of His rejoicing over that work beginning.
The next week, we looked at how to be grateful for Everything. And that was a big ask. So we broke it down to four categories and, hopefully, as the week went by, Everything changed from too much to name to too much to miss. Everything began to look a whole lot like seeing all things being held together in Jesus.
This week, we will be making our shortest list but the one with the greatest impact.
This week, we will see how our gratitude lists have grown from…
…Something to Everything to One Thing.
That is what we have been doing the last two weeks. We started, we moved to the next step and now we are transitioning to that place where God transforms our lives.
Enough so that the outside world recognizes a difference.
A place where you will become the people of joy in an otherwise tragic environment.
For us, that environment was the infertility clinic. For you, it might be a courtroom, the living room of a widow, an ICU waiting room, your cubicle at work, a neighborhood, your church, even your own home.
But how do we even begin to thank God for…being God? Let’s dive in!
One, begin with gratitude for God, and that you are not Him.
This passage rocked my world years ago. It brought the majesty and magnitude of this life and how very much I am not in control into laser focus.
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, to give you – a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant – then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Eygpt, out of the land of slavery.” ~Deuteronomy 6:10-12
For me and my life, this reads like this…
“When I bring you into the land of motherhood, then when you are content with your life, be careful not to forget who brought you through the land of barrenness, out of the land of slavery to ingratitude.”
We forget God is the one who builds, who provides, who sends the rains, who plants and prunes and fertilizes our food.
We forget God is the one who saved you. Brought you out of a life of guilt and shame and lost identities. Rescued you from the slavery of this world.
And gave you Life. An abundant life. Filled with good things.
In our own human power, not one of us could accomplish all those things in one lifetime.
We are not God. God is God.
Be grateful He is God.
Two, offer gratitude that God’s greatness is above our circumstances.
I completely love Job. That man lost everything (except for his wife and three friends who want him to curse God) (they are such winners) and we get the absolute pleasure (sarcasm font) of reading him talking with his friends for 37 (?) chapters. Back and forth they go. Curse God. Obviously, you have sinned. No. I won’t because I haven’t. But I mean, maybe I can curse the day I was born and plead for death. That seems like a good plan. On and on and on.
Then. “The Lord Speaks.”
So hey, where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations? Who marked off the dimensions of the earth? Have you ever given orders to the sunrise? Or shown the sun exactly where to rise? Have you walked into the storage room for snow? Or hail? Or been to the spot where the lightning is released? Can you move the stars? Ever thought about losing the starry belt of Orion? Do clouds and water and lightening tell you where they are? ~ Job 38
(Interpretations are mine) (But do read the whole chapter. And the next two.)
God’s point? Sure, circumstances are yucky. You can absolutely lose it all. Or maybe, like me, you lost the life you thought you were building.
But God? He built the world. In its entirety. The sun rises exactly where He says so. The lightning comes to earth at the His command.
He sees the greater because He is greater. He sees the unseen and the spiritual warfare we can only imagine. He sees the lessons we have left to learn and how necessary they will be to our spiritual maturity.
God’s greatness is above our circumstances.
Be grateful He is greater.
Three, declare our gratitude for the gift of our Savior.
Y’all, God excels as the greatest gift-giver. Ever.
He gave us Jesus.
In Jesus, He displayed to the world His enormous love for us. We were His cherished creations. So much so that He willingly sent His Son into the mess and sin and brokenness. In return, the world rejected Him, despised Him, and killed Him.
“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. He died for us, so whether we are asleep or awake, we may live together with Him.” ~ Thessalonians 5:9-10
God did not assign us the role of suffering wrath. But He did ordain we would receive our salvation, our redeemed and reclaimed access to God, through His son.
I don’t know, y’all. It’s not super hard for me to find some time in my day to say, “Thank you, Father, for giving me Jesus.” That praise, that acknowledgment, that declaration, is a simple, holy, restorative place of gratitude.
Be grateful for the sacrifice Jesus made on your behalf.
And for the Father who ordained it to be so.
Building a life of gratitude moves us from being grateful for Something, to Everything, and then to One Thing.
This. This is how I moved from sobbing in my closet to being the “fun couple” in an infertility clinic. Because we started being grateful for something. Our plumb line. Then we moved to being grateful for everything. All things held together in Jesus. To being grateful for One Thing, our heavenly Father.
And when you reach the point of being grateful for just Him, for just His greatness far above and apart from our circumstances, for the greatest sacrifice the world has ever known in our Savior who gave His Spirit up for us, you will find your life overflowing, splitting at the seams, bursting with joy and peace and kindness and patience and self-control and love.
Y’all, He is the One Thing.
Gracious, I hope you have enjoyed the printables with this series! I’ve had a lovely time creating them. Please, print them out and start this process as many times as necessary. We never reach a destination and stay put. We continue to move on one step after one step after one step. And stop over at We Lived Happily Ever After to check out Hannah’s fabulous work! You’ll add her to your Gratitude List!