Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thankfulness: Naming the Gifts, Living in Grace

When I first started blog, it was part of an endeavor to focus on the simple delights in life, seeing the hand of God in my life, and thankfulness in everything. It's about this pursuit to live life to the fullest in Christ. I certainly don't have it all figured out (knowing God is the journey of a lifetime), but by God's grace, I want to learn step by step what it means to walk with Christ and to know Him.

As I was starting up this blog, a friend told me that the theme of my blog reminded her a lot of Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts and her blog, Intrigued, I decided to check out the site and ended up ordering the book. This book has turned out to be a profoundly influential one in my life. The subtitle of One Thousand Gifts sums up so well how I want to live: Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. Ann says:

"'Wherever you are, be all there.' I have lived the runner, panting ahead in worry, pounding back in regrets, terrified to live in the present, because here-time asks me to do the hardest thing of all: just open wide and receive... This is where God is. In the present. I AM--His very name... 'Wherever you are, be all there' is only possible in the posture of eucharisteo. I want to slow down and taste life, give thanks, and see God." -One Thousand Gifts (p. 69, 77)

The theme of the book centers around the concept of eucharisteo, a Greek word that means giving thanks. The root word of eucharisteo is charis, which means "grace." And the derivative of charis is the Greek word chara, which means "joy." She talks about seeing God's grace in every aspect of our lives, and naming the gifts. It's all a very practical way of living out the "in everything give thanks" that God has called us to.

I resonate with Ann and her struggle to live fully in the present. How easy it is for my mind to mull over how I wish I had handled things better in the past, fear the unknowns of the future, or miss out on moments of today. "The secret to figuring out life: All is grace--because God is transfiguring all things for His glory," says Ann. I want to learn how to give thanks in everything. And in doing so, learn how to not be yanked back to the past or run ahead to the future, but to bloom where God has planted me, so to speak.

I want to start using this blog as one way of chronicling God's faithfulness and a tangible way of expressing thankfulness. Here are a few things I'm thankful for today, in no particular order:

* Rain watering the earth, bringing the new life of spring, and the thunder that accompanies it
* Quiet morning at home to relax
* Beautiful flowers on the table, a thoughtful gift from my husband
* Financial needs always met, sometimes in unexpected ways
* The cozy apartment we have been blessed to call home these past seven months
* Mercies new every morning, learning to trust His grace for my struggles and shortcomings
* Delicious, homemade granola for breakfast
* A godly, committed and loving husband, precious gift from God
* Encouraging words from my mom
* A job where I get to sample delicious, gourmet coffees

Care to join me on this journey? What are you thankful for? How can you practice eucharisteo today?