I think I keep reliving the Garden of Eden story where Satan lurks and waits for that vulnerable moment and moves in.
Satan, of course, has enough venom for all of us, you know.
Never is there gratitude from Satan.
Ingratitude. That’s what he gives out.
Adam and Eve, too. They gave out some ingratitude.
God gave everything to them, everything good, and they disobeyed. Humans. Not grateful.
Likewise, God gives to me every day.
I am not always grateful, either. Sometimes I’m numb to it, busy, indifferent, taking things for granted. I have to be intentional, go against Satan to do something for another person, to be grateful.
This week I sat with an ice pack on my lower back, but I made myself do one thing: pass on photos of a man via Facebook, asking people to pray for him and if anyone saw him, to report it to Baxter County Sheriff’s Department so they could help him.
The word was that he was camping and biking in our area when it snowed and temperatures suddenly dropped to single digits.
My high empathy comes from being caught in a blizzard once and walking two or three blocks to get to my mobile home. (I had insisted to the teachers in my carpool that they let me out at the park entrance, that I could walk the rest of the way.) How quickly “I can make it” turned into “I don’t see how I can make it.”
I made it and so did the man whom I put on Facebook. I received word he was safe and warm. That’s all I needed to know.
I am grateful and fully believe the prayers worked. Prayers from far and wide. Intercessory prayers. Prayers from people who had never even met the man needing help.
I commented on Facebook that I’d be putting that God-gift in my Gratitude Jar. Since then, I’ve had a few people ask me about my Gratitude Jar.
Here’s my story.
A couple of years ago I read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.
I read it slowly. The first chapter was tough, because her sister’s death tore a hole in her world. Early in life, Ann Voskamp became aware of an abrasive world, a world of scarcity. She wanted a fuller life. She wanted to give up her discontent, cutting herself, her self-hatred. She longed for holy joy.
The chapters in her book reveal her process of growing gratitude, which changed her heart and helped her build a relationship with God the Father. The process changed her life.
She read scriptures and concluded that the fuller life comes to us if our faith gives thanks.
If we plant a garden, we get vegetables. But we must plant the garden and tend it in order to get what we want. It has to be intentional. We have to do something.
In her book, Ann Voskamp tells how she did something. She listed one-thousand gifts she already had. She wrote down a few each day. Once she began to write them down, she saw them as gifts, gifts God had already bestowed on her.
She says writing them down is like unwrapping love.
Her list included things such as: Jam piled high on toast. A dog curled up. Pink dawn. Frosted trees. Paper and pencils.
In the midst of divorce, debt, failing health, misery of some sort, writing a list helps us to see God is in the middle of it and taking care of us.
I just follow Ann Voskamp’s model. I write down the things that I see as gifts to me. I write them down and put them in a quart jar. (I do not remember to do it every day. It’s okay.) I reread them on New Year’s Eve and throw them away. Then I begin again on New Year’s Day: writing down something I’m grateful for and putting it in the Gratitude Jar.
It’s an intentional thing. It is a little thing.
No one reads them but me: Prayers at 3 a.m. when I get up to go to the bathroom. A kiss from my husband before we turn in. Cookies still warm. The found biker.
I keep it simple: a jar, a lid, scraps of paper.
May you also sip the holy grail of gratitude in the year 2018.
P.S. – Always learning. This week I learned that if you are struggling to comment on my blog from an iPhone, the website requires that you login to Facebook first (at the bottom of the blog). Then there are choices to post only here or to include the comment on my Facebook page as well.
Photo taken by Pat Durmon of Gratitude Jar in her kitchen in Norfork, Arkansas, January 21, 2018.