Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Can This Thanksgiving Really Be Different?

The greatness of God amazes me. Sometimes I can't see it. I get so entrenched in my little life that I begin to see a little God. I get so boxed into the four walls of my house, that I begin to box God in too. My eyes are so fixated on the piles of laundry, the boxes of clothes that have been sitting there for weeks waiting to go back into the attic, the cookbook laying open on the counter reminding me that I haven't planned for dinner yet....that I forget His eyes, the eyes that are keeping watch over the whole expanse of the universe, are fixated on me.

Could it really be true?

I'm not the first to forget. Even Israel said, "My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God." (Isaiah 40:27). Only to be reminded, "Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable."....(Is. 40:28)

Yes, I get that....God is the creator of the ends of the earth. His greatness is immeasurable. There's nothing that compares with him. To him, the nations are like a drop in a bucket, like dust. "All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness." (Isaiah 40:17). So why would someone so great care about someone so small?

It's because He is so great, that He can care about the small.

Imagine all the greatness of our Creator God channeled in to loving me...and you.

You see, the One who measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, also measures our tears in his bottle.

This One who calls the stars by name and "by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing," (Is.40:26) is the One who keeps track of the number of hairs on your head....and worries in your heart.

The arms that stretched out the heavens like a curtain, reach down and cradle the lamb against His chest. You are that lamb. "He will tend His flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young." (Isaiah 40:11)

How can we have eyes to see this great love all the time? How can we keep from forgetting, and live out our lives in the light of His great love?

Photo by VASQUEZ

Ann Voskamp says,
When there is an intentional slowing to whisper thanks to God — there is an incredible awakening to the burning love of God.

The ungrateful see little of His great love; but the grateful feel their heart is a shore and His love is a sea that never stops coming in. 
Only a grateful heart sees God’s great love everywhere.

I'm seeing how true this is. I've been trying to practice this....taking note of all of God's gifts and returning it with thanks. And I'm noticing something. I'm really out of practice.

And not only me, but my kids too. They only do what they see their parents doing. That's scary and exciting at the same time. It means that as I change, so will they.

So with Thanksgiving only a few days away, I've been thinking. I don't want to do the same old thing. "Kids, what are you thankful for this year?" "Umm..........." Is it really that hard for us to think of 5 things to write on the turkey's feathers? "My clothes, our house, food....." Yes, these are good, but I'm talking about something deeper, something harder, something that turns our hearts to overflowing with the knowledge of His GREAT LOVE.

I'm talking about a daily, moment by moment kind of thing....like breathing. Taking in everything, everything that He gives, and seeing it as a gift of grace, breathing out "thank you." It's not as natural as breathing (not yet), but isn't it even more essential? It's the only path to abundant joy in God.

So, I'm taking the dare...the Joy Dare as Ann Voskamp calls it. A dare to count His gifts. To not only open my eyes to His love all around me, but to go on a hunt for it! I want this Thanksgiving to be the start of something new...an endeavor to live a life of gratitude. Every day. Every moment.

And as I get back into my routine of laundry, dishes, and all the messes, what once tempted me to feel overwhelmed and defeated can be a gateway to seeing the merciful love of God.

Scraping the burnt eggs off the bottom of the iron skillet....I think of that mother across the sea who has nothing to give her children this morning, and I breathe, "thank you." The boxes of clothes filled to overflowing...of. every. size. "Consider the lilies of the field...if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you...?" (Matt. 6:30) When the kids fight and I abandon my gentle and quiet spirit, he whispers his tender mercy that says, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrews 10:22)

Because the greatness of God is not just about the great- how he marked off the heavens with the span of his hand, it's also about the small- how he knows every hair. every tear. every thought. every burden. And He cares about it all. And we give him thanks believing that he is working it all for our good. Because He. Is. Good.


Will you join me in pursuing joy in God through giving thanks?

Here are some links to help you begin this week...this Thanksgiving week!

When Your Tired of Missing Jesus (With the Printable)- Make your own Thanks Giving Tree!

15 Happy Ways to Teach Kids to be Grateful 
Take the Joy Dare

In what ways are you living a life of thanksgiving? Share it with us!