You all know how much I love gratitude and crafting, right? I know I haven’t shared many crocheting posts lately, but if you follow me on Instagram (nudge, nudge) you will see a steady stream of crochet goodies and maybe even some other crafts. (Probably not, but you never know.)
This Thanksgiving season reminds us of the importance of gratitude. Of giving thanks. It encourages us to take time and remember. And I love seeing social media taken over with friends spending time in daily gratitude.
I remember when I first learned about this idea of year long, daily gratitude. I was given the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Ann was living her life as a homesteading, homeschooling, mother and wife. She was wrapped in the typical. In the normal. And friends, isn’t that right where we find ourselves too? Wrapped in the small, average, daily moments of life. So a friend challenged her to list 1,000 gifts. To practice daily thankfulness. And she said yes. This daily practicing of Thanksgiving changed her life. And her heart.
The Bible is filled with reminders to give thanks to God.
We are told to thank Him with our whole heart. With our entire being:
• “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart…” (Psalm 111:1)
We are reminded to proclaim His deeds to all those around us:
• “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!” (Psalm 105:1)
When we proclaim His deeds, we are offering a sacrifice. A sacrifice of gratitude. Because gratitude requires humbleness:
• “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me…” (Psalm 50:23)
Because, friends, when we practice gratitude, we are proclaiming the One that does great things. We are remembering that it isn’t us:
• “I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.” (Psalm 69:30)
Gratitude. All because of His goodness. It reminds us of His grace. In all seasons. It tells of the sacrifice we make when we do it.
Daily gratitude taught Ann to see the importance of the small, average moments. Small moments like the floating of bubbles up from the kitchen sink. She saw the hand of God at work in the big moments, in the big things. She even began to see God in the hard, messy moments. The suffering. Gratitude allows us to see our stories – the way God is working, in the midst of suffering.
Thankfulness changed the way she saw God. The way she knew God.
At the beginning of the year I decided to join Ann. I’m going to honest. I thought this listing gratitude was weird. (If you know me, this isn’t the first time I heard something, thought it was weird, tried it and fell in love) I mean, we practice daily gratitude at the dinner table with the kids. But when I decided to just do it – I realized. There is power in writing words down. The Bible tells us to write words on our heart. And there is a reason.
Writing things down helps us to remember. We remember moments as they were, without the filter of what happened later. I don’t know if you are like me, but I have an easier time remembering the bad. The messy. And I filter the good through that lens of the bad. It makes the good less good. It makes the beautiful less beautiful. It strips the grace away. Writing moments down, allows us to leave the moments to live as they were – pure. Unedited. It allows us to go back and remember God’s faithfulness and His grace. Completely.
Okay, so now onto creating a gratitude journal.
I prefer lined, spiral bound notebooks. They are easier to flip through and you don’t have to hold them open with one arm as you write. (Yes, this is a problem for me.) I love the $3 journals at target. But you can even make your own!
Staple some paper together with a colorful, thicker cover! We recently did this craft at our MOPS gathering and it was so fun! If you craft your own, get creative and make that cover stand out!
Okay, so here’s the real grit of it all: Use a journal that is smaller. I know, that seems counterintuitive, but a gratitude journal is best when it can be kept handy. So use something you can keep in your bag. Or keep it inconspicuously (or on a pile of books, because inconspicuous, I am not) wherever you spend time the most. I like to keep my journal on the kitchen counter. Because though I am not a big cook, it is the heart of my home. It is the place we meet one another, where we greet friends, where we connect with each other over food and stories. And so my journal lives there, in a corner. And when one of my littles comes to hug me, I write it down. I relish the single, small moment of gratitude. And later, when we walk through a difficult time – like the twos, potty training, notes sent home… I can remember His past faithfulness.
I can remember that He is faithful. That He is writing our stories, even now. That He is shaping us to better magnify Him. To better glorify Him.
And so daily gratitude keeps me focused on that. On the story. On the refinement. Daily gratitude reminds me to pause and celebrate. Because even amidst the hard and messy, there is grace. Beautiful, sweet grace. And for that, I am truly thankful.
Do you keep a gratitude journal? What are your must have’s for one?