I was issued the “Thankfulness Challenge” from two friends. And I will admit, it IS a challenge for me, but not in the way you might think. The challenge was to come up with 3 things I am thankful for every day for 7 days…That’s 21 things. (Yep, I did the math, be impressed.) ONLY 21? THAT’S the challenge! How do I pick ONLY 21? Thankfully, I have much to be thankful for! (That one doesn’t count, by the way.)
The other challenging part for me would be to try to prioritize them. As a chronic editor (occupational hazard), I knew I trying to group my blessings three at a time would bring me great angst, so I’ve decided to take a little license with this challenge and list 21 here. I hope you’ll indulge me for the sake of my sanity. The writer in me simply can’t do it any other way.
1. Grace – This has to be my number one. Without grace, I am nothing. Less than nothing. Honestly, even with grace, I’m nothing too impressive, except in God’s eyes. To Him, I’m precious and perfect, loved and redeemed, but not because of anything I’ve done. ALL because of Grace. I blow it every day. Every hour. Every minute. We all do. That’s why we need grace! I don’t even pretend to be “good”. I have NOT kept the Commandments. I can’t; you can’t. That’s the bad news. But Jesus did! THAT’S the GOOD NEWS! The Bible tells us that “There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10) But, OH, AMAZING Grace, how sweet the sound! THAT saved a WRETCH like me! I could stop here – that’s all I need, really… but I did promise 21.
2. God’s Word – We live in a world of many voices. I am so thankful that there is ONE constant voice I can turn to that I know is true. Oh what a treasure trove of wisdom lies within! I have God’s infallable, complete, unchanging, Holy Word recorded and available to me 24/7. How cool is that? And I don’t need anything else besides the Bible! Nothing more, nothing less! It says so!
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” – Romans 15:4
3. Faith – Are you sensing a trend yet? Good. Yes, I am abundantly thankful for my faith in Christ alone. He is my “rock, my strength, my shield.” But MY faith has little NOTHING to do with me. My faith is a gift – given to me, by Grace, through His Word!
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” – Romans 10:17
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
4. Marriage – Another gift God created and has given to ME! I have had the underserved blessing to be married for over 21 years (hey… there’s that number again!) And guess what – it hasn’t always made me happy. You know why? Because we are both selfish sinners! Yep. Every marriage has ups and downs, but we made a VOW before each other and God. We’re in this for the long haul – for better or worse. I think it’s been mostly “better”, but I don’t always bring my A-game, so we’ve had our share of “worse,” too.
5. Mike – He’s stuck with me. Not sure there are two more opposite people around. The introvert, quiet, sensible, jock accountant and the extrovert, loud, impetuous, klutzy teacher. An unlikely pair to say the least. Our common denominator? (More math! I’m out of control!) We both love Jesus. Having that at the center of our marriage has made everything better – because we both realize: it’s not about US. It’s not about our happiness. It’s about bringing Him glory in all things – today and for eternity.
6. Motherhood – Another undeserved gift. Holy cow, I am one blessed woman! That God would entrust me to actually raise two human beings is a little overwhelming. Have you met me? I can’t even keep fish alive. (Seriously, Rainbow Swimmy Longtail, I’m sorry I let you go down the sink. But I’m NOT sorry that I hit the disposal button instead of sticking my hand down the drain to get you out, because you were a fish and fish are slimly. Yeah. Sorry, not sorry.) Somehow, in God’s infinite mercy, he has blessed us with two of the most amazing kids in the world and we get to love them and try to raise them in a way that is pleasing to Him!
- Ryanne is quite simply the most diligent and disciplined kid person I’ve ever met. It might be easy to chalk her successes up to “luck” or even “talent,” but others don’t see the HOURS of practice she puts in daily. This teenager rarely watches t.v. or movies, instead she reads classic literature and blogs about it – all the time. And, honestly, she was born this way. That a disorganized, easily distracted mom would be given a kid who actually asked for a LABELER for Christmas is evidence not only of God’s unmerited favor but of His sense of humor.
- And Seth – I know at 15 it’s not “cool” to call him sweet, but that kid has a heart of gold. I wish I saw the world the way he does. A friend once described him as “without guile.” Oh, to be without guile! To think the best of everyone and everything? What a gift! His accomplishments don’t always come with a blue ribbon, but he is a 1st place friend. Loyal to the core and faithful to the end. You seriously want Seth as your friend. He would give you the shirt off his back, unless you want his “More Cowbell” shirt… he might keep that one.
But beyond any traits they might have or accolades they might earn, the biggest blessing is that they both love Christ and have committed to following Him and honoring Him with their lives. That’s enough. Anything beyond that for me is icing on the cake. (Oh, and I’m thankful for cake!)
Okay, I’m going to pick up the pace now…
7. Family – Thankful for amazing parents and wonderful inlaws. That both Mike and I were raised in Christian homes is a blessing for which we are both grateful. We have incredible extended family, far and near, too. We love and pray for all of you regularly!
8. Our church – We may not have a building (yet), but we belong to the most amazing fellowship of believers! Thankful for a church where God’s Word is faithfully preached and imperfect people come to learn about and serve a perfect Savior! This is our forever family! Love our STBC peeps! Need a great church? Look no further than San Tan Bible!
9. Friends – To have ONE friend is a blessing. To have MANY? Oh, what a joy! I know I’m “a bit much” at times… maybe all the time. But I’m thankful for friends who know me well… and love me all the same! My dance card is NEVER too full for another friend. If you think of me as your friend, know that I’ve got your back! Thanks for having mine!
10. Prayer – People, if we know Christ as our Savior, we can “boldly approach the throne of Grace!” Whoa…. We have, in Jesus, a savior, a friend, AND the ONE high priest who intercedes on our behalf. Isn’t that AWESOME?! Seriously, I can’t even…. Can I pray for YOU? I consider it a privilege and an honor. Will you pray for me?
11. Laughter – Oh, what a gift. We MUST laugh EVERY day… not because every day is fun, but because there is always reason to rejoice. I hope I make you laugh from time to time. Laugh with me, laugh at me. I’m a dork; I own it.
12. Music – Is there anything better? From those first “Twinkle, Twinkle” notes of a budding musician to a full Beethoven symphony… it’s all glorious to me!
13. Babies – Their smiles, their smells (the good ones), their eyes, their laughs – if only someone could figure out how to bottle baby laughter. Oh, how can you look at the face of a baby and not know that he or she was intentionally, deliberately, miraculously created by God?
14. Teaching – I just love it. The end.
15. Struggles – Wait, what? Yes. I’m thankful for struggles. You know what has grown me most? Trials. What has strengthened my faith? Hardships. What leads me to depend more on the Lord? The “bad” times. And I’m thankful for YOUR struggles, too, because they can draw you closer to Him… if you’ll let them. Just don’t waste your struggles. Use them, grow from them, share them (just don’t always do it dramatically on facebook, because that tends to just be whining. K? K.)
16.Beauty – In creation, in art, in poetry, in music… Yes, there is ugliness in the world, but there is also great beauty! Take time to look for the beauty in people and the world around you!
17. Failures – Yes, thankful for those, too. Because they keep us humble… and I’m humbled ALL the time. We can’t give up. As a wise fish once said, “Just keep swimming!” 18. Ice cream (which sometimes helps with failures).
19. Literature – Read. But not just anything… something GOOD! Oh, how I love a good read!
20. Technology – Admittedly, a blessing and a curse. To be able to connect with someone around the world as easily as around the corner? Priceless. Technology can make the world small. Use it wisely.
21. Grace – Oh, did I mention that already? Well, it’s worth mentioning again, because I not only am thankful that I receive it, I’m thankful that – because of Christ – I can extend it. I blow it. You blow it. Just know that if you ever blow it with me, I’ll forgive you. I’ve been forgiven so much, how could I not? I hope you’ll extend the same to me. Grace… it’s a most wonderful thing!
Thanks for reading my thankfulness list! I’m thankful that you did! 🙂 And if you did – I challenge YOU! Share them however you want, even if it’s just a few things. But be thankful – in everything!
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)