Reflecting on my Thanksgiving, I can’t help but be grateful as I look around. My life, although far from perfect, is full of joy. My house is full, my family is near, and the decibel levels under my roof are loud. It’s the way I love it to be, the way I love it to sound, the way I love it to feel.
As I’m cozied under my blanket, with my 3 year old nephew snuggled up next to me, I am remembering my life 5 years ago, then 10, then 20 years ago. All I can say, over and over, is
“God, you’ve crowned my years with Your goodness! Thank you!!”
Do you ever do that? Look back and see yourself in years past, and realize how far you’ve come? I do that a lot, and it sometimes feels like I’m looking at two different people! As I reflect, I am astounded at how well and astutely God has crowned my years with His goodness. Where I am today is a MUCH different place than 10 years ago. I can even say that about 5 years ago. I honestly don’t know if I would be alive today if I hadn’t come to know Him. Each year, I have grown, learned, failed, succeeded, laughed, cried, and deepened my relationship with Him. Sometimes my jaw drops at how much can take place in one year! But this year has been the richest. Full and rich. Again, not perfect, but rich. AND my prayer is that I can say the same thing next year at this time.
God has a way of taking us on these beautiful journeys, full of topography, and we become wonderfully enriched because of it. He is 100% FAITHFUL to not only begin good works within us, but finish them as well. He is so good at helping us grow more fruit, worry less, and live wholly dependent on Him. He has a way of taking a negative situation, and either demolishing it or showing us how to prevail and overcome and come out shinier. He is brilliant at leading us through the better ways to live life, treat people, and walk authentically. I’m honestly in awe of it all.
This past year, God has helped me become more vulnerable in my emotions, let go of the pressures to perform perfectly, settle into contentment, connect with people more genuinely, rest, and be a better wife and friend. I am more present with Him, and I am loving that most of all. Because out of that abiding, I am more present with others. I’m SO thankful for it all.
Do you see all the opportunities God has given us for which to be grateful? I hope that the eyes of our hearts are opened to all that there is right in front of us. There is so, so much. Sometimes, in moments of gloominess, I feel like we (I) just need to widen the lens a little to see a big broader in our perspectives. Bringing that sole focus to a more panoramic view helps us come up to BREATH. Sometimes it’s just a matter, like today, to remember how far God has brought us, and that He loves us so much to leave us in our current state. I am SO grateful for how FAR He’s carried me, led me, lifted me, grounded me, and loved me. What about you? Can you reflect on how far He’s brought you, taught you and carried you?
I keep hearing that song “If I could turn back time, if I could find a way” by Cher, and I want you to know that God can take time we feel has been wasted or stolen, and vindicate every single second of it. He is a MASTER at restoration. So don’t allow regret or anger to steal another second of your life, and cast every thought and care you have about it onto Him, so He can point the way out. He can heal time and wounds from time and make it count and make it whole.
If you’re struggling in a climate of dreariness or bitterness or unrest, try these one of these ideas to cultivate a shift of heart. (We’ve all been there!)
- Tell that person whom you smile when thinking about how much they mean to you.
- Thank that person who has encouraged you.
- Take someone out to lunch.
- Look at the richness of your life and say thanks.
- Look at what you DO have.
- Encourage someone.
- Give to someone in need.
- Get outside.
- Go for a walk/exercise.
- Host a get together.
- Write a note to someone.
- Buy the Gratitude journal. (shameless plug, I know)
- Remember answered prayers.
- Reflect on the topography of your journey to see where God has been all along.
- Remember God’s faithfulness in the little and the big things.
- Go around the dinner table and tell each person what you love about them.
- Give a gift/donate time.
Let God crown your month of December with His goodness.
I am praying that we can all say this about our year(s):
You crown the year with Your goodness,
And Your paths drip with abundance.