Thankfulness Journal

A little over a year ago I read a book that changed my life in many ways. This is the book and you should get it and read it if you haven’t yet. Click here to read more about the book – One Thousand Gifts – A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp.

(photo credit http://onethousandgifts.com/)

After going though multiple difficulties, the author starts a “thankfulness journal” that leads her on a journey of discovery with her Creator. Shortly after finishing the book I felt compelled to start a thankfulness journal of my own. When I read One Thousand Gifts I was battling a nameless disease that kept getting worse. I had constant debilitating pain and was crushed with a fatigue so severe, it would keep me in bed for days at a time. I was also wrestling with God and had even stopped praying for healing. I didn’t understand why He wouldn’t heal me or at least give me a doctor that cared. In the very least, I just wanted an accurate diagnosis. I wanted others to know my pain was real and there really was something wrong with my body. I wanted answers and I hated what was happening to me. I had to let go of doing things I loved due to my illness and because of that, I didn’t feel fulfilled. I was empty and hurting, vulnerable and hopeless…I felt abandoned.

“Losses do that. One life-loss can infect the whole of a life. Like a rash that wears through our days, our sight becomes peppered with black voids. Now everywhere we look, we only see all that isn’t: holes, lack, deficiency…It is in the dark that God is passing by. The bridge and our lives shake not because God has abandoned, but the exact opposite: God is passing by. God is in the tremors. Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will. Though it is black and we can’t see and our world seems to be free-falling and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us.” ~One Thousand Gifts

I started writing in my journal every morning and as the days went on, God began to press in close. As I wrote out my gratitude, He started whispering words of comfort and hope to my heart. Pretty soon, it became a habit in my life and once I started writing, I couldn’t stop. My thankfulness overflowed. I found myself even thanking God for my disease ridden body and for the hidden gift it gave – a beautiful humility and dependence on Him like I had never experienced before and a slower pace of life, one in which I had more time to enjoy the little things and find Him in unexpected places.

“When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. How can this not be the best thing for the world? For us?” ~One Thousand Gifts

Within days of starting my thankfulness journal I found a doctor who was able to give me a diagnosis. A tick-born bacteria was to blame for all of my symptoms. I began treatment that has helped my symptoms significantly. I still struggle daily with this chronic illness -whose presence may never fully leave my life, but I have found joy in the journey – as cliché as that might sound.

“The secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.” ~One Thousand Gifts

Keeping this thankfulness journal has changed my outlook. In spite of painful circumstances, there is always something (thousands of things) to be thankful for. I am blessed and undeserving of so many wonderful gifts and each day that I write out my thankfulness, I discover even more gifts. So, I thought I would share some of the pages from my thankfulness journal. Happy Thanksgiving! May we all be aware of how beautiful life is – not only in this season of Thanksgiving, but in every single moment.

In case you can’t see them, I typed out the pages below and in doing so just realized that “Coffee” and “Books” are both written twice. You might learn a lot about yourself if you start keeping a thankfulness journal! :)

Vivid memories

Typewriters

Stories

Nature hunting with Chloe

Birds singing

Praise music in my head when I wake up

Restful sleep

Security of family

Big bows in sweet blond hair

Carousels

Antique shops

Time with Ryan when we can actually finish a conversation!

Little pubs with good beer and yummy food

God’s grace!

Health

Chick-flicks

Cammie’s laugh

Chloe’s smile

Ryan’s back rubs

Hot coffee on chilly mornings

Grown up conversation

Clean laundry

Quilts

Snuggling with my girls

Books

My girls laughter

Hot coffee with cinnamon sprinkles on top and time to finish a cup

Caring friends

Music

The way a song can move my spirit

Anticipation of a journey

A clean home

My books

Cooper’s nuzzles

Little arms around my neck

Packing for a vacation

Melting butter on toast

Lazy mornings

The Crossing

Friends

Sweet prayers from little voices

Big hugs from little arms

Little feet that don’t stop growing – new shoes

Fairy tales

Movies

Weekends

Family days

Minds that are quick to learn

Warm showers

Pictures to remember favorite moments

Hands that are able

Legs that can walk and run

Eyes that can see God’s beautiful world and the faces of my loved ones

“Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant—a seed—this plants the giant miracle.” ~One Thousand Gifts

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