Today’s Thankful Thursday post comes from Crystal Tripp, a woman whose inner grace and humility seems to shine through everything she writes. I am honored to share this lovely reflection on what it means to choose gratitude.
I Choose Life
The obligatory Sunday visits completed-cards have been opened, gushed over, and filed away for safe-keeping. The flowers have withered. Another Mother’s Day has come and gone. Before long, the grills will be fired up & the ties will be retired to the back of the closet after their one time mandatory display around the necks of our fathers. Father’s Day will soon be a memory. These rituals play out in most homes across America and love is expressed whether true or feigned. I personally do not particularly care for these Sunday ceremonies as I believe the two people given the designation of my mother and father have long since let me down. As He is faithful to do, while typing that hostile statement, my heavenly Father speaks to me in that ever-present, still, small voice – reminding me that He has provided. I have not been forgotten.
I often fall into the trap of discontent, thus allowing the seeds of bitterness to sprout which subsequently leads to a failure to live – essentially death. I am frequently reminded, like so many other things, gratitude is a choice. This choice (that I have to make on a minute-by-minute basis) has nothing to do with my biological parents (or anyone else for that matter) or even my particular life situation…it’s about me! In the middle of a seemingly ordinary life filled with mountains and valleys, I choose gratitude. I have countless things to be thankful for, too numerous to discuss here but in this season where moms & dads are celebrated, I choose to honor those men and women God placed in my life that have love for me beyond my comprehension. I know that my omniscient Creator hand-picked all of these people (including my biological parents) just for me – each with a unique purpose like a tapestry with bright and dark colors included to create the most beautiful picture. I am grateful that His thoughts are not my thoughts because I don’t always know or understand His plan.
Father, I know so many times I come to You with an obnoxious list of wants & desires. I dare not say needs because I know You have already provided for my every need. Forgive me for failing to always realize that You are the Provider and You have not forgotten this child despite my ever-wandering heart. As Your word says, Your grace is sufficient for me. Lord, You have gifted me with a multitude of mothers and fathers in my life – most of whom would willingly take me in as their own. These dear hearts often don’t understand the choices I make, but they love me just the same. These beautiful men and women have mirrored the love of Christ – accepted and even forgiven my faults, cheered me on during personal struggles, demonstrating love for me that cannot be denied. Some are young and some are old. I am grateful for all of these-some have shared their parents with me, never fearing that the love shown for me would detract from their own supply; the many who have served as mentors when I was wandering; and the few that have allowed me to perform some of these same duties for them. Father, I thank You that all of these people have taught me Your promises, corrected me when I erred, encouraged me when I hurt, & demonstrated for me what it means to love. There are specific memories I’d like to thank You for – I’m sure I will fail to mention them all but Father, please know, I am grateful for Your divine hand of care. I can still remember sitting on the front porch with the two ‘seasoned’ ladies next door as a small child. Never once did they grow tired of my presence and endless questions or ask why I wasn’t playing with children my own age – they frequently allowed me to pick the blooms from the flowers they had nurtured for years. They accepted those plundered petals as if they weren’t treasures that belonged to them anyway. My heart warms as I remember their kind eyes and the comfort of their pats on the head. Once again, Lord, I thank You for them. You also provided me with a priceless 4th grade teacher – she never questioned why I arrived at school at such an early hour and was always glued to her side. She bought all the useless items I was trying to sell and placed them on her shelf as if they were her most prized possessions. I don’t know if she was aware of the life-long impact she would have on my heart – now she is with You and I can’t tell her myself. Will you tell her for me? I have precious friends and their dear parents – essentially relatives who in a world of ‘trying to be good enough’ & feeling ‘the need to explain’ give a quiet acceptance, never expecting anything in return. Lord, I thank You for their hearts and am grateful that DNA is not the only way to be a family. I will never be able to adequately express the gratitude I feel for those who love me so I’d just like to say thank You-Your grace is unspeakable. Amen
Wisdom has taught me that a life without gratitude is not worth living. That isn’t to say I am thankful for every situation and never express sadness or fear but focusing on my blessings allows me to keep it in perspective. I choose gratitude…I choose life.
And from His fullness, we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16 ESV
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
– Thornton Wilder
About the Author: I’m a simple woman leading a complicated life but am maintained by the unspeakable grace of a loving God as I struggle to care for an aging ad difficult mother.. I have found that He is teaching me profound lessons through ordinary, everyday things. In addition to my love for writing, I enjoy reading, gardening, & Cardinals’ baseball (GO CARDS!) When I can find the time for it I blog over at diamondonashelf.wordpress.com