As I sit here listening to Grateful by Kurt Carr and feeling the love of God flow through me, I’m reminded of one simple yet profound truth: gratitude brings happiness. In fact, it is my firm belief that gratitude and happiness both go hand in hand.
It is impossible to sit in quiet contemplation meditating on all the ways God has blessed me and not feel joy. On days when I feel discouraged, all I have to do is think back on what He’s already done and my hope is renewed: Those days when I couldn’t find a way and miraculously a way was made, those things I didn’t even ask for yet they showed up and brought me the smile, laughter or lesson I didn’t even know that I needed… If I had ten thousand tongues I couldn’t tell you about them all.
But I can tell you this: a grateful heart is a happy heart.
This year alone, even in the trials, I have experienced God’s blessings in ways my human mind couldn’t even fathom.
So today, in keeping with the tradition of Thanksgiving, here are three things I am most grateful for:
I’m grateful that we serve a God of second chances. One that loves us so much that even in the Garden of Eden he had a plan to redeem us from our sins and reconcile us back to him. A God that would sacrifice his only Son so that we could have abundant and everlasting life – just like he originally planned it. That same God sent his love to find me when I thought I was lost on that crooked path I was on and offered me another chance. Even when I ran away, turned back and resisted, he showed me that there was nothing I could do to make him love me any less and there was no place I could go where his amazing grace wasn’t extended to me. No matter what I do or how many times I do it, he looks beyond my faults and sees my need.
I’m grateful that God thought enough of me to set me aside and put me through a process. Truth is sometimes it is frustrating and sometimes it is difficult to the point of tears. The things I lost, the people I lost – those I have had to let go of and those that walked away – the ways and thought processes I’ve had to release, much of it has been painful. But when I think of who I am today, it’s been worth it. Through this process I found my strength, I discovered the treasure within me and I learned that I have wings. But most importantly, it is through this process that I truly discovered the heart of God, both who he is and how much he loves me and is invested in me.
And finally, I’m grateful for this beautiful boy child he has blessed me with, who when I looked into his curious eyes for the first time I thought, there was no way I was good enough to be his mom. Seven years later, and day by day, God shows me how. I see now even in my mistakes there was purpose. God knows there were those dark moments when being his mom was the only reason I dared to try again the next day. I’ll be completely honest and say some days I’d be okay with giving up and letting God down because I knew he would forgive me, but I could never do that to this innocent child. He deserves the very best of me. His little life gives so much meaning to mine in unspeakable ways and life is that much more beautiful through his eyes.
Today, I pray we would all learn to keep a grateful heart, a praise on our lips and a song in our hearts, for the God that he is, the ways he has blessed us and even for the things we do not understand.