With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I’ve been pondering the difference that a heart full of gratitude makes in how we view our homes. Read on to find out why I see our current home differently than all those before it.
We’d never weathered such a storm. I’d been sick before but this was different. Three weeks bedridden confirmed what before we had only suspected. Multiple sclerosis was now in the ship with us and it wasn’t smooth sailing.
In the midst of the tumult, we were convinced of one thing. We needed to return to the US for medical attention and we needed to do it quickly. MS was hardly known in our country of service and we needed the God given wisdom of experienced physicians.
We booked our tickets and made our appointments and packed up our house and parked our car and shipped off our dog and cried our goodbyes and tried to leave well and clung with all our strength to the God who is good and only does good (And doesn’t leaving always feel like one long run on sentence? It absolutely takes your breath away).
We had very little idea of what life would look like when we landed, but we had confidence that God was leading us. And wow, what a spectacular experience to walk in the way that He had prepared for us. From the hugs and concern of our friends, to the comfortable, dependable car, to the earlier doctor’s appointments, to the food shower, to the rent free housing in the exact place we love to land, His grace was everywhere, abounding. We didn’t deserve any of it. It was all too much. It was only His grace.
I could write a post on each of those things, but it was my response to our house that surprised me most. It’s a great house despite the fact that the front door doesn’t open unless you kick it, the curtains have all shrunk and are no longer floor length, the windows are drafty, the paint on the walls is scuffed and there’s brown and yellow swirl carpet in the kitchen.
At other times in my life that would have been a list of complaints, but this time it’s just a list. I truly can’t bring myself to utter one complaint about this house in spite of the stylistic and cosmetic quirks.
There’s only one explanation for this complete shift in my perspective: When my heart is continually overwhelmed with thankfulness for God’s abounding grace to me, I see things differently. Thankfulness changes my perspective. How else can you explain the fact that I actually laughed out loud when I saw the psychedelic kitchen carpet for the first time? J Thankfulness allows me to lighten up, minimizing the material, so I can focus on what’s truly important, the fact that God has been so exceedingly kind to my family.
I’m not saying that I have stopped caring about making my home beautiful or that I’ll be putting down brown and yellow swirl carpet in my dream house. Thankfulness doesn’t ask us to forsake our God given desire to create beauty. Thankfulness ushers us toward a greater perception of God’s goodness, inviting us to see to the beauty BEYOND the material, to search for the grace of our precious Lord Jesus in every imperfection who alone can redeem all things.
Modern day poet and passionate proclaimer of grace, Ann Voskamp sums it up this way in her book One Thousand Gifts: “When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn’t all become gift?”
How else could brown and yellow carpet or multiple sclerosis be a gift, except that I’m filled with gratitude for His overwhelming grace towards me.
Are you missing His grace to you simply because it’s wrapped in an imperfect or even undesirable package? Will you join me on the path of thankfulness to a greater awakening to His abundant grace?
A heart of thanksgiving is something we all desire. One blessed reader will receive a copy of Ann’s powerful, life changing book, One Thousand Gifts to encourage them along that path! To enter, just answer the question above or leave any comment on this post. Pass the word on to your fellow missionary moms for an extra entry (If you do this, please leave a separate comment letting us know!). There are no geographical restrictions. The winner will be drawn on Monday, November 28th!
(Post by: Shilo)