I press in like Elijah. He does not reply in the mighty storm, or in the breathtaking earthquake, or even in the consuming fire, but in a gentle whisper dancing before dawn on Ash Wednesday.
I hear it: gratitude.
He is calling me to return to the discipline of gratitude. I began my list of 1000 gifts more than six years ago now when my belly was just rounding with our third baby girl – a surprise! I learned from Ann that “thanksgiving always precedes the miracle.”
This Lenten season I return to that practice of looking for Him in the minute and the mundane. I am chasing the word “behold” this year. I’ve discovered it means “being held” by my Savior. It means taking a posture of wild-eyed wonder. It means pressing in to listen and witness the miracle. It means putting aside my addictions, my idols, my sacred cows, and braving the Word he has for me in this darkness.
For the last few months, I’ve been starting my day with music. I put together a Morning Worship playlist and I’m trying to fight the urge to reach for my phone and social media first. Admittedly, that’s become a reflex, a pathway. I need to reroute.
Instead, I’m turning back to music to ground me, to point me to the Father. And now I hear Him asking me to remove the clay from my eyes and see Him again in the everyday. I need to be intentional about stopping to notice, beholding the wonder of the world around me, and chasing His glory in all circumstances.
I’ve gotten away from the practice of listing my gifts. It’s been more than a year since I pecked out late night or early morning posts about how my Father was caring for us. Rest assured, He has. In fact, the blessings have been so abundant I had this little fear worming its way through my heart that people would think I was showing off. I wondered if celebrating the daily joy, the newlywed heart flutters, the glimpses of His glory, would somehow discourage others. I felt like a fraud while so many across the world are suffering.
Wednesday morning He chastised me. These words rang out in the darkness:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16).
The glory is His. It’s not for me to hide or be ashamed of or even wonder what others will think about my lists. It’s about my posture of gratitude. If Lent is about giving things up and turning our hearts back to our first Lover, then I believe gratitude may be the pathway out of complacency. I’m looking for that route with the more glorious view.
And so I continue my counting gifts – the discipline that lifts me, that lifts us all, that causes me to see Him in the every day.
Here are a few gifts from my week:
- That candle, my wedding scent – a reminder that Beauty always comes from the Ashes
- The way he laughs when he holds the baby, such light
- My smallest girl screaming out in pain after dropping a dumbbell on her toe – just a smashed toenail, nothing more
- Dipping spoons in bowls of soup and sharing life with this beautiful mama in the quiet
- The way his daughter, who has been reluctant to participate, just up and jumped the farthest on the whole Track team, following her daddy in Heaven’s footsteps
- This house that is so much more than a new roof, but a symbol of a new life and multiplied provision
- All my girlies piled on the big bed to read before bed, now a sacred practice
- The light in her eyes when she presented her book for an autograph and proudly announced she, too, was Filipina like me
- That book of poetry and homemade pear syrup she gifted me from her heart
- A phone call from across the ocean from my heart-friend who is navigating a transition and learning to make an old home new
I hope you will join me for the next 40 days. Let’s take time to count gifts again. I’ll be on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #GloryChasers if you want to post your gift lists. Maybe we can take back the internet in the process. Maybe?!