Thanksgiving–Speaking Gratitude to God and Others

I’m the kind of person who feels deeply. And I love words. But I don’t always express my gratitude to God and others.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend in small group posed a question.

“What if all we had tomorrow was what we’d thanked God for today?”

Whoa.

My heart stretched uncomfortably.

I fidgeted in my chair and glanced around the room and wondered if everyone else felt the same way I did.

Sometimes I let problems overshadow my gratitude. I doubt God’s goodness. His faithfulness. 

I focus on the physical world and forget the supernatural world. I forget we have a God who is Lord over all, and He knows best. 

I withhold gratitude. 

The next morning, I filled pages in my prayer journal. I had a lot of catching up to do. I thanked Him for my coffee, my Bible, my reading glasses, 56 years of life.

I thanked Him for “blog readers who’ve become my friends.” It’s miraculous when God brings people into divine relationships, isn’t it?

I thought about how my husband Rick and I’ve been married for almost 38 years.

Later that day, I made a list for Thanksgiving. Could I praise God with our table decorations? I wanted something rustic and woodsy. I found an idea on Pinterest. It’s here.

Last Saturday, I asked Rick if he had time to make it.

He stopped what he was doing, and we headed for the woods.

“First, we need a log,” he said and pointed out three possibilities. “Which one do you like best?” 

I picked out my favorite, and he chopped off the ends.

He cut holes for tea candles–just the right size.

We gathered pine cones. I already had pumpkins and plenty of leaves.

After I decorated around the log, Rick lit the candles.

I stood back, fresh gratitude rising, and spoke the words I was thinking.

“I can’t believe you made this. It’s beautiful. You didn’t even read the directions.”

He nodded.

“Really,” I said. “Thank you. You did it just for me.”

“Anytime.”

I reached for him spontaneously and he held me.

A prayer formed.

Thank You, Lord.

I love You.

You’re always here for me. 

You listen and You love me. 

Then it hit me.

Sometimes expressing gratitude to others ignites fresh gratitude to God. Click to tweet. 

I will give thanks to You, Lord, with all my heart… Psalm 9:1 Click to tweet.

Does the question my friend asked stir fresh gratitude? 

“What if all we had tomorrow was what we’d thanked God for today?” 

So much love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

A Christmas Miracle–Healing of a Childhood Memory

Sometimes it takes years to be healed from a lie you’ve believed about yourself. Especially when it began in childhood. Over time, you convince yourself it’s not important because it happened so long ago.

I’d buried that terrible moment from the third grade until last Thursday night.

A friend from church invited me to her small group Christmas party. All women. About ten or twelve of us. We laughed and talked, the way ladies do. After we ate, she cleared off the kitchen table. “Craft time!”

That’s when I remembered the day the lie–THE FEAR–was planted, 47 years ago.

“Ummm, excuse me. I don’t do arts and crafts.”

“Oh, these are easy,” another friend said. “We’re making snowmen ornaments.”

My heart did double time. Please no! Not arts and crafts! Help! Help! I’m stuck! 

“No thanks. I’ll just watch.”

That day in the third grade, the teacher passed out brown construction paper. We were supposed to rip a camel out of our paper. No scissors or pencils were allowed.

About thirty minutes later, the teacher proudly displayed 26 camels on the bulletin board. She wouldn’t hang up my camel.

None of them. I tried over and over.

They weren’t good enough. And I wasted lots of paper. 

All these years, I’ve been afraid of arts and crafts. 

Inside the kitchen, everyone got busy.

Everyone except me.

My new “art teacher” placed a clear ball in front of me. “You can do this,” she whispered. “I’ll help you.”

My heart boom-boom-boomed in my ears.

I was eight years old again. 

Shaky hands.

Staring at a piece of brown construction paper. 

But my friend was nothing like my third grade teacher. She smiled a lot and helped me. 🙂

First I poured something called Gleams inside my ball.

 

I swirled the paint around until my ornament turned white.

What if mine doesn’t work?

How’s this blob going to magically turn into a snowman?  

My new teacher said to let it dry inside a Styrofoam cup.

“Now, it’s time to glue his stocking cap on and draw a face.”

A glue gun? I don’t do glue guns. Or draw. 

But I’d come this far.

So I did the next part carefully. So… very… carefully, and–

Ya’ll–

I made a Christmas ornament! My first arts and crafts project! 

I fell in love with his precious face–almost like he was my own newborn baby. 

Then someone said something I’ll never forget. 

“Congratulations, Julie! You’re now an official crafter.” 

Me. A crafter! 🙂 Who knew? I’d been one my whole life–I just didn’t know it!

Back at home, I found a special place on the tree for my creation. Looking right at me, he seemed to say,

“Thank you! You brought me to life.”

Sort of like what God did for me. 

A single act of kindness can set someone free. Click to Tweet. 

All sorts of miracles happen when we’re set free! Click to Tweet.  

Have you ever believed a lie about yourself? Maybe that you weren’t good enough? 

Lies can cripple us, but their power over us can be broken! 

P.S. Have you ever discovered you had a hidden talent? Awesome, isn’t it!

Snowman ornament from Pinterest20 Dollar Store Christmas Decor Ideas on Browser.net 

Love,

Julie