Waves in the Gulf of Mexico from Jamaica Beach - Galveston, TX

Be thankful

It’s good to be thankful. It’s good to step back and look at your life and be quiet for a few moments and pay attention to everything you have because it’s easy to forget. Well, it’s easy for me to forget because I rarely slow down for long enough to appreciate the people and the circumstances in my life, even the things I have.

It’s good for me to remember what I have. It’s good for me to identify what I am thankful for because it makes me slow down, it makes me think, and it reminds me that all the credit needs to go to God.

Waves in the Gulf of Mexico from Jamaica Beach - Galveston, TX

Waves in the Gulf of Mexico from Jamaica Beach – Galveston, TX

Today’s verses are Psalm 95:1-7.

Come, let us sing to the Lord!
    Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
    Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
For the Lord is a great God,
    a great King above all gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
    and the mightiest mountains.
The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
    His hands formed the dry land, too.
Come, let us worship and bow down.
    Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
    for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
    the flock under his care.

Next time you’re outside, look at the sky. We have a lot of sky in Kansas. If it’s night, look at the stars and think about what it took to hang them all in just the right place. Look at the moon or the sun.

The weather is just right for the winter wheat to start coming up again, and if you’re in Kansas, you can probably find a field anywhere and see some. Take a moment and watch it. Watch it sprout, a green haze against black dirt. God created that. He created soil rich with nutrients. He created seeds we can plant that will grow. He created the harvest itself, the entire concept of planting and reaping and planting again.

One of my little secret pleasures is Bath & Body Works soaps, which is so amazingly girly I hate to even admit it out loud. But I love Bath & Body Works soaps and candles. What kind of amazing experience would we miss if we couldn’t smell? And if we couldn’t smell, we couldn’t taste either. The five senses seem simple, something we take for granted, but think about not having them.

Kansas has crazy beautiful sunrises. I’ll be leaving in a moment to watch one as I drive in to work. But what if I couldn’t see a sunrise? I couldn’t drive either then. Or what if I couldn’t hear? Imagine having to give up music.

Think about all the things you have in your life, even the things that are so small you wouldn’t even notice them until you didn’t have them anymore. Make a list. Pin it up. And look at it every time you’re tempted to think you haven’t got it good.

If you know Christ, you’ve got it great. Maybe you’re in a rough patch, but it won’t last forever. And on the days when the darkness seems like too much, take a moment and make a list of everything God has given you. I guarantee, you’re better off than you feel. You just need to remember it. And when you remember, be thankful.

Friends - Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Saying “Thanks” isn’t the same as being thankful

How many of us have good things in our lives? And how many of us are good about recognizing where those good things came from? I’m part of the crowd that recognizes my good things come from God, but I’m not very good at actually saying thank you as often as I should. I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s because part of me knows that He knows I’m thankful already.

But there’s a big heart difference between feeling thankful and actually thanking someone.

Friends - Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Friends – Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is Psalm 103:2.Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.

I live a busy life. I’m always running around so crazily that I’m never sure if my head is still attached. I don’t know if I just get busy because I refuse to say no, or if I just get busy because life is busy. I can’t figure it out. But I should never be so busy that I forget to be thankful.

I have an awesome family. They’re nuts and silly and wonderful, and I don’t know what I would do without them. And even though sometimes I think we drive each other more bananas than we already are, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

I have a job. It drives me crazy, and it’s making me turn gray. But it’s a job, and I can show you the things God did in my life to make it possible.

I have amazing friends from every walk of life, at every stage of life. Some old. Some young. Some in between. Some single. Some married. Some married again. Some with kids. Some without. Some very country … and others very Italian. =)

When was the last time I really stopped to say thank you?

When was the last time I stopped and praised God for bringing these awesome people into my life? When was the last time I stopped to thank Him specifically for everything He has done for me?

Thanking God for what He’s done is like prayer. He already knows that we’re thankful, just like He already knows what we’re going to pray. Asking God for things isn’t for His benefit, it’s for ours. Just like thanking God for what He’s done in our lives isn’t for God’s benefit either.

Praying to God gets us to the point where we recognize that we can’t make it through life on our own. Thanking God for what He’s done helps us remember that we didn’t accomplish things by ourselves.

The greatest, most awesome things in my life aren’t things I did for myself. They are gifts God gave me. And I want to be thankful for them.

So this is me taking a moment to say thank you.

It can be difficult to remember to do in the hustle and bustle and shuffle of everyday life, especially when you feel trapped by your circumstances. But even on the days when you feel cornered and alone, and you feel like all you’ve ever tried to do has failed, remember the things that God has given you. Make a list. Write it down. And you will be shocked to realize just how much He’s done for you already.

I always am.

God has given me everything I need and just about everything I want. And it’s not because I deserve any of it. It’s because He is good. And He wants to do good things for His children. And even on the days when He doesn’t give me the things I want, I want to be thankful for how He’s provided for my needs.

God is my refuge, my safe place, my biggest fan, my hero, and my best friend. He’s given me a beautiful home, a wonderful church, an amazing family, and supportive and hilarious friends. And He gave me a dream that He’s helping me achieve (slowly but surely).

And on the difficult days, He doesn’t leave my side. And that’s worth more to me than anything else because I know no matter how badly I screw up, I can’t screw up enough that He’ll ever give up on me.

In short … be thankful. Praise God. It’ll get your perspective right. And once your perspective is straight, your day will get a whole lot better.