17 November 2013. That was the day I wrote the very first entry on my list of gifts. Also known as a gratitude or a thankfulness journal. Counting my gifts.
I knew I had them. But emotionally things were rough for me. Hard. I could type out why and what I was feeling. Instead I will tell you what I remember. Sitting on the stairs crying out to my sweet husband. “I can’t come up with even one gift. Not one thing that I’m thankful for.”
You see, a friend had invited me to join little book-Bible study of Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. I did. Somewhat hesitantly. Because saying no and staying home is always easier. Not getting involved, not sharing emotions or lack of emotions takes no effort. But somehow I went. By the grace of God I went.
And not only did I make some friends who will always be dear to my heart, but I managed to find that first gift–babies learning to crawl. I found it. And more gifts came the next day. Coffee in my cup. Chore charts. They weren’t fancy things. They didn’t have to be.
It is in the counting them, the writing of the words. Taking those pieces of the day, no matter how mundane, and finding the beauty. Realizing these little things–and some of the bigger things. And not just letting the day pass and the bumps in that day drag you down.
And then one day I woke up and the monotony of the day, the grey winter skies of that season of my life were brighter. The struggles that came with it seemed weaker.
This is why I write. I want others to find that joy that comes with gratitude. It isn’t easy. Especially those first few. Well, honestly, that first thousand didn’t come easily. It took me 13 months to the day to record 1000. Encouragement may lie in the fact that the next 1000 were easier. I’ve taken breaks, but find that when I stay in it, my joy is greater. When my joy is greater, I can shine and others begin to shine also.
I am thankful for Ann Voskamp, her book, and my friends who are gifts, Melissa, Janene, Jen and Jen. You know who you are.