Last night I was fortunate to hear Ann Voskamp at She Speaks. Her book 1,000 gifts is about being thankful for the gifts we receive from God. Here are some of my notes from last night.
Fear is always the notion God's love ends. God is infinite.
Moments add up, never disdain the small.
Why do lives change dramatically when we send thanks out? Those who keep gratitude lists have less depression and make more progress towards personal goals. They experience increased feelings of closeness. And by practicing gratefulness, they are 25% happier.
We were made to give Him thanks, to give Him glory. I lost my husband Mike to cancer a couple of years ago. He lived 11 months after his diagnosis. He was consistently thankful for everything and I must say that at times it did drive me crazy. Sometimes I would retreat to the shower (because it was the only place where he would not hear me) and I would cry and wail and ask God, no I would demand that God tell my why. I have lost so many people that I was close to. Why did he let me find this wonderful man after all my heartbreak only to take him away?
I was having coffee with a friend a couple of weeks ago. She is going through a horrible divorce and it is such a difficult time for her. I tried to be understanding, but I was also surprised. She wanted what I once had. I reminded her that Mike is gone. She reminded me that I had a man who loved me until death parted us.
And so today what am I thankful for? Here are just 10 gifts that I am thankful for.
1. My marriage to Mike, a wonderful loving, caring, and encouraging man.
2. My children, Ryan and Amanda. I am so proud of the people they are becoming.
3. My future grandchild. Amanda and I think it will be a girl, but there is a 50% chance that we are wrong.
4. My brothers. They are each unique and I am thankful to be their older sister.
5. My Mom. We lost her in 2005, but she continues to be a comfort and inspiration to me.
6. My Grandmother. She took me to church every Sunday and she encouraged me to read.
7. My Grandma. In my family, there was a distinction and we all knew which was which. She kept canned Cokes and Reese cups in her refrigerator for us, but she was always the grandparent who gave the most hugs and kisses.
8. My Dad. He is the calmest person I know.
9. My friend, Lisa. My relationship with her is the longest relationship I've ever had outside of family. She's been there with me through it all and I am so thankful she moved in next door when we were kids.
10. Books. They allow me to escape from my life. They teach me things I did not know. They inspire, encourage, and entertain me.