How ‘bout them resolutions? Anybody still winning with theirs? I can tell you I’ve mostly kept up with one of them, but it’s neither the one I made about eating more heart-healthy fish nor the one about getting more exercise. (Insert list of excuses here. Take a deep breath. Get back on the plan with lots of grace toward self.)
The one that’s still sticking has been to review each day with gratitude and capture a memory in a sentence or two in my planner, as I discuss here. Each morning I review the previous day, finding that after a night’s sleep I’m better able to focus on what was memorable and look for things for which to thank God. I’ve had a few days where I skipped, but more often than not, I’ve got a note that reminds me that each day is a gift, whether the events were spectacular, awful, or just plain ordinary.
Recently, though, my friend Linda challenged me to look not only at where I could be thankful, but also pay close attention to God’s faithfulness. That grabbed my attention.
Why? Because here’s what I have been finding out in the gratitude exercise:
Sometimes, if I’m not careful, I can begin to pat myself on the back for how I’m finding things for which to be thankful as if I’m doing God some kind of favor by expressing gratitude in all kinds of circumstances. And frankly, when the circumstances aren’t so great—like the last several weeks in the Glass house with back-to-back-to-back viruses, a child with a broken foot, and tough school and work schedules—forcing a “gratitude attitude” can feel more like a ritualistic duty than a heartfelt expression of thanks. Like it’s something I’m doing that God should reward with brownie points and maybe supernatural Lysol for our house.
But when I focus on the larger picture of God’s faithfulness, the pattern of his care and intervention into my daily life, I am humbled and grateful in a deeper way.
A quick scan through my days shows me how the Lord gave us the wisdom we needed from doctors during various ailments and confirmed that he is restoring everyone to health, just as we prayed. I see how he surrounded my crutches-wielding child with friends to lift her spirits and carry her books, and how he’s been growing her faith in this small physical set back.
I see how God helped me carve out time for my seminary studies in the midst of a whole lot of mom duties, studies that are helping me better understand the Bible and help others. I see his faithfulness to provide financially through McLeod’s job, not just for us but so we can bless others, too, and how he has provided time in my busy guy’s schedule to get home for impromptu family ice-cream-nights and time with each kid separately.
I also see God’s faithfulness in another way: he is working all things out not only to help me navigate whatever daily events and circumstances come our way, but to transform me into a more mature and faith-filled person. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 offers up this bold prayer and promise, “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”
That’s a powerful reminder that God, the faithful one, is also the one at the controls. He is able to use every circumstance to mature us toward His ultimate goal of making us more like Jesus as we head toward his ultimate goal of uniting us with him forever. That drives me to gratitude for his faithfulness no matter how the day plays out!
For more inspiration on the faithfulness of God, you can’t go wrong with the classic hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” Hope it blesses you as much as it does me! Also, special thanks to my mom for the beautiful “Thankful For” plaque pictured above that’s letting me post my daily gratitude. Such a great gift!