Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thankfulness as a discipline . . .

. . . is a new concept.  Today's reading in Jesus Calling is about thankfulness; it's not the first time the writer has encouraged thankfulness, but the first time she has called it a discipline.  She writes:  "Practice My Presence by practicing the discipline of thankfulness" and exhorts the reader to: "See how many times you can thank Me daily; this will awaken your awareness to a multitude of blessings."  I began to think of why/how to think of this concept.  In other writings she has urged the reader to replace complaints and grumblings with thanksgiving.  Certainly rings a Biblical bell with me!  "Be anxious for nothing, but in all things, give thanks."  That, for me, takes discipline.  How much easier it is to complain!  Throughout today I have tried to really see how many things for which I can thank God. 

Here go a few:
  • I'm thankful for the insights shared by Sarah Young in Jesus Calling.  What a terrific blessing they continue to be!
  • I'm thankful for July 24 and Kevin and Marty's anniversary and for all they mean to each other.  I'm thankful for the three grandchildren they have added to my life.
  • I'm thankful for the care Tommy takes of me.  Discipline plays a big part on this one because he tends to be somewhat "overprotective" and I tend to be somewhat "independent." 
  • I'm thankful for Tommy and Liz and the five children that round out their family.
  • I'm thankful for the unique personalities and gifts of each of those eight grandchildren and I am especially thankful for all the time Meredith and Elisa spend with me.  Sometimes I forget to be thankful when I'm busy being quiet and they come bouncing in the door full of silliness and giggles.  It takes discipline to be thankful and not out of sorts.
  •  I'm thankful for memories of my mother that have been dormant for a long, long time.  They were brought to mind a couple of weeks ago when Elisa brought two books of children's poetry off my bookcase.  One had a variety of poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, Ogden Nash and others.  The other was A Child's Garden of Verses, by Stevenson. As I read, I was transported back in time to the hours I sat as my mother read to me about Mr. Nobody, my shadow, the games played on  the counterpane.  I realized how much of our conversations had references to those entertaining poems and the values I learned through them.  I'm thankful to be able to remember those special times with my mother.
  • I'm thankful for friends who take time to stay in touch by letters, phone calls, e-mail and Facebook.
  • I'm thankful for social media used appropriately.  Many friends (Lynn, Susie, Melanie, Gwen)have posted beautiful pictures that bring thankfulness for their sharing and for God's creation.  Some friends have shared pictures and descriptions of places they have visited this summer.  I think particularly of my "superhero of a friend," Jan, who has taken me on a mission trip with her, a tour of Switzerland with both her and husband Mike, and just last week on a hiking trip in Peru.  My days of traveling are probably over so I especially am thankful for those who take the time to share. 
That's just the beginning of an endless list of things that bring thanksgiving to my heart.  Two verses come to mind:  "Celebrate God," and Paul's verse I wrote of earlier: "Be anxious for nothing and in all things give thanks." Thanksgiving beats complaining any day!

Pastor Margaret

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