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Giving is the way to gratefulness

When we count our blessings in the midst of life’s brutal storms, rather than waiting for the sunny days with warmth and light and gentle breezes to appear, it is truly the greater sacrifice. As those watching from without, there is nothing so admirable as observing someone with very little making a great deal about what they do have, however small and humble.

Gratitude can be experienced even when the outlook is dismal, can be presented even when the offering is slight. For even when the pool from which we gather is shallow and lacking in resources, there is still something there.

There is always something in which to be thankful.

It matters not what we’ve been given- we still must find the words to offer thanks.

He was feeling low again- not really in that frame of mind to offer gratitude. Not really in that mode of thinking, really. How can one offer praise when life feels destitute of joy, bereft of common everyday pleasure? He really wasn’t able to pick himself up either, like he sometimes could. Couldn’t rise to the day. It was like he’d been beaten down one too many times and the game was now over. He was ready to throw in the towel.

But she reminded him again of his call to chronicle gratitude. Reminded him of all that he’d already found in which to offer thanks. The five gifts he had committed to finding each and every day- small offerings of gratitude to a Father of good and perfect gifts. And even though it was hard- even though it wasn’t easy, he promised her he would still look for something in which to offer thanks.

And while he was looking for those small five in which to portray his day, something else happened. He started to notice people around him. People just like him, all in need of finding a gift. And as he was noticing people, he began hearing people too. Hearing their hearts, sensing their needs, listening to their stories. And he realized that he could not only count gifts, he could offer them to others as well.

And so he did. He offered a small gift.

And that one, small seemingly insignificant gift- it made all the difference for him. And for her- because she wasn’t expecting it- and to be truthfully honest, neither was he. But because he realized that he was still a giver, still a messenger of hope, he was able to stand in the gap. Even with the limitations of his life and struggle.

Actually, in spite of them.

We all can find gifts- that treasure trove of life that we each have been gifted with. But even more than this, we can all be givers: can give something each day to someone else. We can be the gift. Can be one of the five that another counts as a blessing on their gratitude list. For when we give the gift, rather than merely counting it as acquired, we come to understand:

Giving is the very best way to experience gratitude.

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4 thoughts on “Giving is the way to gratefulness

  1. When my dear bonus mom was battling ovarian cancer, she became very discouraged. I took a small notebook to her hospital room and asked her for 3 things she was thankful for. It was like pulling teeth to get her to find anything positive in her situation. For a “New Year’s” gift, I had GRATITUDE Notebooks made with pictures of things that make you smile on the cover. I gave them to all the women-folk in our immediate family encouraging them each to find something to be grateful for every day; a time when you saw God show up. I wrote Philippians 4:8 inside: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Perhaps as a New Year’s resolution, she did begin to write in it. And her attitude improved! And her physical health improved!! What a gift that time was. Unfortunately, her treatment did not have a favorable outcome; she passed away almost two years ago. But I have those pages, on which she penned her ‘happy thoughts’ during the time when she showed improvement and great hope.

    For that, I am truly grateful.

    • In my morning meditations today I read this verse from Malachi 3:16 talking about a scroll of remembrance being written to record and chronicle the people’s gratitude. How fitting- these journals have been encouraged by God for many millenia! Thank you for sharing your mom’s story- in recording her life, I am now able to get a sense of just how special she was. Again, thank you for sharing her with me and the others who read this blog. Blessings. XX

  2. This post was beautiful and inspiring; I enjoyed it so much I shared it with friends. I teach young children too, thanks for all you do for them. I look forward to getting your blogs.

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