317. A cool breeze to temper the warm sunshine
318. A convicting If:Equip study
319. The gift of coffee-time alone in which to get some contracted work done
320. Paypal (finally) getting my last name changed
321. Brooklyn "helping" me with the laundry
322. Gluten-free garlic grilled cheese from Dempsey Bakery
323. Brooklyn collecting the color blue
324. Safe driving as Adam spent his day navigating interstate construction in an Army bus
325. A 30-minutes pre-dinner nap for Brooklyn - unexpected rest for me
326. Clear roads as Adam drove to an Army school
327. Not having had to use our heater for over a week
328. Our slow apartment internet - uploading pictures takes awhile, leaving perfect time-slivers for cleaning and tidying
329. Hashbrowned eggs with purple potatoes and farm fresh eggs from my parents' chickens
330. Getting the front half of our apartment clean, even with Adam gone
331. Brooklyn taking a 3-hour morning nap
332. The way she makes people smile, like it's a game
333. Arkansas Children's Hospital [the mall we walk at is near there, so sometimes we see mamas with babies that are taking a break from treatment of some sort]
334. Getting to talk to Adam for over an hour
335. A dinner date with Brooklyn
336. Laughing and giggling together for five minutes - because the fuzzy red blanket on the couch has fringe
In looking over my list of gifts at one point last week, I was convicted about something - actually, a lot of things. Because "things" figure largely on my list. Not that I believe it's bad to be grateful for things - after all, shelter and clothes and daily bread are provided by my Father, along with everything else, and I should definitely express gratitude to Him for them - but objects that rust and rot and mold, that get lost and wear out should not comprise the bulk of my list, my thoughts or my emotions.
There's no risk in listing objects - nonChristians express thanks for things. When we're stuck for something to write down, we can look around and start listing. And if we're not in a particularly grateful mood, then we may get a little happiness from the envy-factor of what we're writing, if it's a public list. I'll write down that piece of furniture I found on the side of the road and refurbished - nothing wrong with that - that will show how clever and crafty and thrifty I am - ah, there's an issue. It may not be something that we consciously think --- but I know that I need to think and rethink before writing a Thing down on my list, examining my motive for listing it. Pride? Lack of gratitude? Hurry? Insecurity? Those things are the antithesis of why I'm listing gifts in the first place. So even when I do list a solid object, I should do so for an intangible reason - a need fulfilled, a moment created.
But the intangible requires open eyes, an open mind, and an open heart. We have to learn to look at every situation and find the silver lining - because there is a silver lining, somewhere, somehow, even if the most hopeful thing we can dig out of an otherwise bleak situation is that it brought us closer to God (which is really quite a good thing). We have to retrain our thought patterns to think in terms of positive instead of negative. We have to give up our pride and be vulnerable (for our own benefit, for the benefit of those around us who may be struggling, and most of all so that God alone receives the glory) - even if it means being grateful for humble things and humbling moments. And we have to embrace each gift, even the ones that are mostly thunder-cloud with only the tiniest sliver of silver, praising the Master of wind and waves as well as of glorious sunsets - because as great as a large umbrella is, a heavenly declaration of the glory God is better still, and He is the giver of all good things, visible and the invisible.
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him."
Won't you join us in counting (and recounting!) His mercies anew? Just grab a journal or notebook (it doesn't have to be fancy) and a pen and write them down, then join us in a weekly link-up to encourage each other by sharing all of the blessings we've spotted. Catch up on everyone's posts and add your own below (please stay relevant to the topic when linking up!) and if you don't have a blog, feel free to participate by commenting, instead!
Check out these #NewEveryMorning hosts, as well, and don't forget to use the hashtag on Twitter so that we can find each other!
Kayla [at] Renown and Crowned
Dolly [at] A Woman at Home
Kelsey [at] Faith Fun and the Fergusons
What intangible gifts have you received this week?