“And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful” Colossians 3:15.
Thankfulness is transformative.
I have found that since I have been on this 25-day challenge to identify things for which I am thankful that my heart is changing. The Apostle Paul tells the church at Colossae, “You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator” (Colossians 3:10). I can see after these last eight days that in agreeing with God’s declaration of “It is good” how thankfulness is a skilled instructor. Were it not for God’s image within us and His Spirit to lead us into truth (Jn. 16:12), we would be completely blind to recognize any of God’s graces.
Maybe that’s the reason for so much complaining and discontented-ness. Our hearts are not at peace, enjoying the richness of God’s gifts found in nature, relationships, His Word, and His Church. Rather, our hearts war–against others, self, and God through criticisms, contempt, and struggle for control. That which God has declared good, we have sought to overpower and misuse…and when we can’t, we grumble. In point of fact, we grumble because it’s our way of recognizing that we aren’t God.
Thankfulness has been transforming because it is a daily dose of humility, recognizing how very little in my life is there by the power of my own hand. It is transforming me because it is reminding me that I am not God. It is causing me to see God’s power for good in my life in a way that leaves me clinging to and cherishing His grace–each and every last one.
Today, I am clinging to and cherishing, with thanksgiving, to these graces:
1. The testimony of one whose father was healed of stage IV lung cancer. It is inspiring deeper faith in my prayers for my mother as she battles who own cancer.
2. My children will return home tonight. Their time away has felt like a growing black hole in my heart, just waiting for the opportunity to suck me in. Sometimes we recognize God’s goodness when for a moment in time we take absence from it.
3. Coffee. I know it sounds like a tired refrain, but how thankful I am that God created the coffee bean and led some brilliant chap to discover how to make it into a warm, welcoming drink. I’m pretty sure God did that just for me! I love my coffee–its smell, its flavor, the way it makes my heart wake up to the opportunities of a new day. Yes, of course, I need it (and that addiction is for another post), but even if I didn’t depend on it, I would desire it for its beauty. I have convinced myself that in heaven there will be an everlasting cup of coffee from which I can eternally drink. (That probably makes me a heretic, huh?)
4. Monday. I am thankful for Monday. It’s okay if you need to read that sentence twice–it’s not one that finds its way into much print. Yet, Monday is a marker of redeemable opportunities. No matter how bad last week was…and in point of fact, it was bad, Monday reminds me that we can try again. Does not Monday stand out as the day which most epitomizes grace? I know I’m not the only one that marches into Monday forgetting the week before and wielding hope like a forager’s blade searching for the week that is better than last.
5. Health. I marginally struggle with an auto-immune disorder. I am so thankful that the last several weeks have been marked by incredible physical strength. Twice I thought I was ebbing into an episode–but the storm passed by! I have been feeling so well that this afternoon I am even going to darken the doors of the gym.
How about you? To what grace are clinging? To what grace are you cherishing?