Sixty-Six Gifts

I have battled the better part of the last six years trying to overcome my discontentment. The discontent that has contaminated a huge portion of my life since a day in August 2010. When I found out I was pregnant. Not from a pregnancy test but from days of endless vomit.

There have been many moments of overcoming. We’ve found ways to do life that keep me balanced.

But the underlying issues has remained.

Then a pastor spoke on it at a conference in May. The Lord ripped my heart open as he talked about thankfulness.

It seemed so basic, that thankfulness could unlock pieces of my life that had held me back. Thankfulness that could release a depth of joy that I have been craving, praying and desperate for.

That was at the start of my summer. The season where the Lord gave me a word and I couldn’t even speak it out because it evoked weeping. It was going to be a challenge. But I was ready for the growth it would bring.

This was to be the “Summer Of Softening”.

Where he took my heart that experienced hardening and gave me a heart of flesh. A heart that beats, feels and breaks to a whole other level. A heart suddenly broken over needs in my community that I had overlooked for almost two years.

A heart that wept over “the least of these”.

Summer marched on and I allowed the Lord to breathe his breath that melted me day by day.

Camp came and so did the message on thankfulness again.

Thankfulness releases grace. Again, so basic.

Thanking God releases more of his grace into a situation and we can handle what we didn’t think we could.

It made so much sense, and I was excited to try this principle.

Halfway through the week I was overwhelmed and I thanked God that being at camp was our job and that our family was able to minister together.

Grace was released. I soared on wings like eagles for the last half.

Then we got home. It was hard. An hour after we walked in the door the house was already a mess and the kids were screaming, despite how overwhelmingly exhausted I was.

But I pressed on in the practice. Not in perfection. No in many, many mistakes that led me to desperately grasp thankfulness.

Then a couple of days ago I heard the Lord tell me to read Ann Voskamp’s book “One Thousand Gifts”.

I didn’t want to.

I knew the basis of it. A depressed woman learns thankfulness and springboards to help millions of people.

Too simple. Too fake.

On our way to a 24 hour getaway, just the two of us, I knew I needed to stop at the bookstore and pick this up.

Boy, were my conceptions totally and completely wrong.

I wept. Bawled my eyes out reading Ann’s painful story of real, gut wrenching tragedy that led to her go on a journey of asking the question “is God really good?”

She began cataloging things she loved and was thankful for. Small things throughout the day, which then transformed into thankfulness.

I can’t explain it all, you just need to read it too.

So that morning, 48 hours ago I started my own “one thousand gifts” list in a beautiful navy and gold journal my husband had surprised me with weeks earlier.1000gifts

In just two short days, only putting things on my list that I am experiencing in moments, I have sixty-six items.

Sixty-six things that I would not have noticed that are gifts if I hadn’t been looking for them.

My heart is changing. I can feel myself healing.

20. When someone chooses to trust me.
21. Safeway apple fritters

22. Teaching pre-marriage with Andrew
23. Realizing how far we have come together
24. Rain on the windsheild 
25. Cuddling Amayah at bedtime

3 thoughts on “Sixty-Six Gifts

  1. Monica, Thank you for reminding me that I need to do this again. Being thankful for three things a day is something I have been doing since my brother died. It has helpmed me see and focus on the beautiful gifts in life.Summer has came and I kind of put it on the back burner, but reading your blog reminded the importance of being thankful again. Thank you for being a vessel for Jesus to work through and being honest and open.

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