A few years ago I started a list. Inspired by Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience I started writing down my thousand gifts. This simple habit caused quite a change in my usual Eeyore-like demeanor. It is safe to say that I am not usually a “glass half full” type of person. Starting the list seemed self indulgent to me. It seemed like a modern “feel good” exercise and I was skeptical as to just what the outcome of it would be. As I scratched out my list in a notebook, everything from the seemingly mundane to the miraculous, I began to notice things. I began to see beauty all around. I began to see how much I was loved. My focus changed and I saw that even on the most difficult of days my heart could see God’s goodness to me.
But at some point I stopped counting. The list stopped abruptly somewhere in the 700’s for reasons I don’t remember. Maybe I thought I got the point? Maybe I got lazy? Maybe I turned a joyful exercise into a requirement? Count on me to turn a joyful experience into a task and rob it of its joy. At the fresh start of this year, in which I am on a quest to discover more of grace, I decided to take up the Joy Dare again. I picked up my pen and a crisp new notebook and started to number the gifts again, starting back at #1 because there is grace to begin again. It feels comfortable and seven days into the new year I feel the joy in the counting return. I take a moment to notice the sky, the blossoms, the twinkle of lights against the rainy day, the sparkle in my son’s eye, the steady arms of my husband. In this renewed habit I begin again to see the everyday beauty of God’s love for me. Each gift scratched in pen a testament to love. Not just a general, all-encompassing love but specific love. For me. It’s mind boggling really.
Taking the dare to see joy and count God’s gifts
1. Aaron’s “I love you” 2. Nathaniel’s giggle 3. Jeremiah playing with Lego’s
4. camilla blooms 5. our cozy school room 6. left over tacos for lunch
7. quiet in the sunroom while I shower, which means the boys are getting along 8. Nathaniel singing praise songs in the aisle at Costco 9. Aaron & boys doing devotions
10. well loved Christmas decorations 11. big stack of new library books 12. bright blue sky after days of rain!
13. the book “Because He Loves Me” by Elyse Fitzpatrick, life giving! 14. a clean house 15. Aaron & Nathaniel on the couch watching football together
16. gifts for friends – just because 17. lots of fresh fruits and veggies 18. a growing awareness of what it means to be loved unconditionally by God