In February, my friend Monica introduced me to her friend Ann. Ann's "Endless List" has been an equipping tool in God's hand -- resetting my vision for developing a grateful heart -- opening my eyes to thousands of things for which I'd never considered giving thanks. But, its been hard work. I have been far from faithful.
So -- to help myself really -- I started a Gratitude Journal with my little Beauty Hunting Band. Today was our second gathering of thanksgivings. Do you know what? This was a tough assignment for the kids. They had a hard time coming up with things for which to be thankful. I was totally surprised. I had envisioned not being able to write fast enough for all the praise that would spill from their little souls. But no. Aside from Jesus and the Cross (which was a precious, reoccurring theme!) the lauding streams did not overflow.
I've been thinking about it all evening. Here's the meandering path...
Worshipers express praise. We must. We praise the one we worship. Our nature, because of man's fall in Eden, is bent to usurp the praises due to the Almighty by turning them on ourselves.
Only a soul redeemed, blood bought by Jesus, can truly offer praise to the Almighty. The nature of our flesh calls for praise to be turned inward. Giving praise to another calls us to humble ourselves. Humility is not natural, nor is it instantaneous upon regeneration. Rather, humility is cultivated by a mind continually being transformed by the Truth of the Word of God. As we grow in our understanding of the life giving truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ our actions express our gratitude. Our actions -- even Bible reading and prayer -- don't earn more of God's favor. But oh what a savory blessing is returned when we gaze upon the face of our Beloved in grateful communion! He refreshes our vision to see His benevolent hand in every tiny detail, of our days.
Why then this work of thanksgiving? Shouldn't it be a natural byproduct of a transformed life? Yes! But ... its lack is a symptom of mind transformation yet undone. Isn't laboring over lists of praise just another form of legalism? Hardly. To say "thank you" is to purposefully and intentionally turn my face from the gift to the Giver of all good things. He who is always faithful promises:
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 2:18 (ESV)
So what about these little ones and our Gratitude Journal? I must model thanks. My heart has been redeemed. Theirs? Only God knows. But -- I can point the eyes of their hearts to the one who transforms all of us, me and them, into His image as together we behold His glory!
We're beginning with the basics. Here's our current poetry memorization:
I'm glad the sky is painted blue
and earth is painted green
with such a lot of nice fresh air
all sandwiched in between.
Oh Lord, thank you that you are faithful. Even when I am not. Give me heart-eyes to see Your glory, the humility to give you the praise, and the courage to guide the children to you! May the habit of gratitude be a rut deeply trenched in their souls.