An empty picture frame sat resting against the wall behind her recliner in the bedroom. A project she had planned to finish when she got home. I picked it up and recalled the conversation we had weeks ago, before I left for Colorado. She was describing to me her most recent decorating idea: she was going to turn the frame into a marker board or chalkboard and hang it in a prominent place where all could see and access. And whoever wanted to could write words on it—words of things they are grateful for. And we’d fill the frame up with gratitude.
Gratitude: that was her song…one of many….her walls and notes declare it, her life displayed it.
A motto hangs in her room reminding us to “Count your rainbows, not your rainy days.”
“Rejoice always [always!], pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”
(I Thess. 5:18 and Phil. 4:6, emphasis added)
I’ve heard it often, the difference between giving thanks in all circumstances, versus for all circumstances…of the importance of continuing to give thanks in the hard times…
It’s become so real to me now. Both the struggle to give thanks and the freedom, the joy that comes in giving it.
And, thanks to Mom, there are reminders all over the house to give thanks, to trust God, to find the reasons to smile—I see them as final messages from her.
Yes, life is hard right now. And as I sat tonight with my brothers and sisters during Bible study, the last thing I felt like doing was joining in on the songs of thanks for God’s bountiful harvest and blessings.
It’s an exercise with a ripple effect. In choosing to give thanks, I can then enter into the fullness of joy that Jesus longs for me to have. The more I make the choice to thank and praise, the more I experience joy, and the more my vision clears and expands to see God’s huge hands at work.
And so, on this Thanksgiving Eve, I’m overwhelmed at the thought of all that I have to be thankful for.
* For the gift of a beautiful Mom and an amazing legacy to follow…the gift of memories, of having had a friendship with her…for the sweet gift of knowing where she is and knowing that I’ll see her again someday
* For the incredibly beautiful body of Christ who has surrounded me and my family over the past 2+ weeks and given me a tangible picture of the hands and feet of Jesus
* For friends who pray for me and hold up my arms when my strength is low in the heat of the battle
* For signs of God along the way
* For little miracles and answered prayer that have taken place from November 6 and since
* For both the beautiful sunny days and sweet-smelling rainy days on which I can get out and enjoy fresh air and exercise when my mind needs cleared
* For music that is often heard wafting through the house and encourages the heart and lifts the spirit
* For God’s promises, that can be trusted
“Trust is the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow, built up with planks of thanks. Remembering frames up gratitude. Gratitude lays out the planks of trust. I can walk the bridge from known to unknown, and know: He holds.” –Ann Voskamp