Today I am overwhelmed with thankfulness. I haven’t won the lottery, a trip to Hawaii or been offered something other than my minivan to drive. I’ve had a couple of quiet hours to sit here on my porch to read and pray and realize how very fortunate I am. I have a wonderful house to live in, a good job, amazing friends, a loving family and the list goes on and on. Yes, there are some hard things too – but that makes me normal. Everyone has difficult things to deal with at some point in their lives. One of the keys for me has simply been to recognize that even when I was at a low point, God still cared for me in so many ways.
When I was in the midst of a particularly difficult few months, my best friend and I would exchange emails listing the top 10 things we were grateful for that day. It helped me to keep things in perspective. Yes life was hard, I was emotionally drained and the drama seemed to drag on forever. But, when I took a few minutes to be grateful for all the many things that were good and ways I was blessed, my heart softened and I felt thankful. The list kept me grateful.
I love Psalm 16 because it’s about taking refuge in God and his loving care. I am particularly drawn to verse 6. In the midst of my sadness I didn’t feel as though I had landed in a good place, but now looking back I see that all along God had his protective hands around me, guiding me to just the right spot emotionally, physically and spiritually. Indeed, my boundaries have fallen in very pleasant places.
1 Keep me safe, O God,
for in you I take refuge.
2 I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing."
3 As for the saints who are in the land,
they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight. [b]
4 The sorrows of those will increase
who run after other gods.
I will not pour out their libations of blood
or take up their names on my lips.
5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, [c]
nor will you let your Holy One [d] see decay.
11 You have made [e] known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Life is hard!! There seems to be loss at every turn – job loss, the death of a loved one, an empty nest, a divorce, or an estranged relationship or ___________ (fill in the blank). Difficulties come in so many forms. Take a few minutes next time you are in the midst of personal crisis and make a list of the top 10 things you are grateful for – it may change your perspective a bit. Here is my list today.
1. Time to be still this morning
2. A beautiful day
3. The sound of wind chimes
4. A phone call with my best friend
5. Happy children
6. A vehicle that is paid off
7. Reconnecting with old friends
8. Pretty flowers on my porch
9. An upcoming vacation to the beach
10. The view from my porch