Thankful for Yellow and Brown Swirl Carpet (and a special giveaway)

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 beautyThankfulness 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)


26 Responses to “Thankful for Yellow and Brown Swirl Carpet (and a special giveaway)”

  1. 1 Kelly November 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Oh, I do so love her book! And would love another copy to give away 🙂 I’ve failed to gift-list lately- and I can tell! When I take the time to write down His gifts, I keep a happy heart!

  2. 2 Becky November 21, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    One Thousand Gifts is such an amazing book! I have only read a little of it, but what I did read was quite impactful…thanks for the post, Shilo! Thankfulness has turned my life around and has allowed me to experience God’s grace in a way I never had before.

  3. 3 Kara Coe November 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I have long loved Ann Voskamp’s blog–it makes me cry to just look at the photos, usually! And I finally read the book. Thanks for a beautiful application to the missionary life. I pray that God gives you health in every sphere of life!

  4. 4 Kara Coe November 21, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I just happened to re-read your first post on this blog–about creating beauty. It really puts your current thankfulness in perspective! Thank you for sharing both your passion for beauty and your perspective of gratitude.

  5. 5 sam November 21, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Well, I guess if you can love that carpet, I can love the smell of cat pee that greets me each time I enter this God-provided rental we live in. I hope you are getting some good medical care and experiencing some relief. Thanks for this post!

  6. 6 Ashley L November 21, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Well, I’ll gladly exempt myself from trying to win the giveaway on my own blog, but I loved Shilo’s question! This week I am choosing to be grateful for how absolutely messy and crazy so many of my days are right now. I like it when things are neat and tidy and things happen in an orderly way, but that is just NOT my life at this phase with 3 little kids! I was in a pretty bad mood (just ask my husband) as I left the house this morning for pre-school, 30 minutes late and with the house a total wreck even though we’d only been awake for an hour. God gave me a bit or perspective later on in the day and showed me that really, the mess and lateness was just not as big of a deal as I had made it. Not to mention the fact that I was late as a result of a baby unexpectedly sleeping in way later than usual! If that is not a blessing, than I don’t know what is! And besides, the messes are from my children… three incredibly treasured gifts! So, I will join you in thankfulness for my less than orderly life. When I see the toys all over and the finger food fallen on the floor tomorrow morning, I’m going to remember your encouragement! Thank you!

  7. 7 jolenesloan November 21, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Yes, and I’m joining Ashley…. I, too, want to thank the Lord for the messes that are left by my four wonderful treasures that God has given me (ages 9 to 9 months). How easy it is for me to look past their sweetness and get frustrated with the messy trails they leave behind. But, I am praying the Lord will show me the blessing of WHO is leaving those messy trails…. some pretty wonderful kids! Thanks for this giveaway. I’ve read so much ABOUT the book…. now I’d love to read it!

  8. 8 enrichedmamay November 21, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    I would love the opportunity to win this book. Thanks for this chance. I also want to say what a eye opener your post was to me. The Lord knew I needed to read this Today. I will be in prayer for you and your family. What a great testimony you have shared that enlightens my soul.

  9. 9 Heather Farr November 22, 2011 at 12:40 am

    You are such a blessing to me. I pray to be more like you each and every day. I get too hung up on the superficial things and not about what is most important.

    Thank you so very much!!!!

  10. 10 Ellie Marie November 22, 2011 at 12:43 am

    I wouldn’t mind winning that book as everyone is talking about it.

    I think for me the biggest challenge is missing His grace in the people around me because they aren’t always wrapped in perfect packages. I miss my son’s heart of compassion for others because I focus on the fact that he ripped up his new shoes on purpose because I told him he didn’t need new ones since his were still good (and his brother did, but his brother’s shoes were also three years old!). Being upset about the shoes, I miss the way he makes the wiggly toddler laugh so her mother can talk with a friend. I see my older son’s horrifically messy room, but I miss the fact that he shoulders hard work well and loves to volunteer with the elderly.

    Yet in each of these, and in the case of the other imperfect members of this family, I would miss even these imperfections if the owner of them was gone! After day of begging one son to stop talking so much, when he was away, the house was too silent. Each is valuable, even wrapped in a smelly adolescent body which eats endlessly, knocks over everything, and can not control emotional outbursts when they are tired. (Not to say I do that well at that control, either!)

  11. 11 Melody November 22, 2011 at 12:50 am

    Shilo, thanks again for sharing your heart and allowing us to see God’s wonderful grace and love in your life via the brown and gold swirled carpet and the MS. The Lord showed me a few years ago that HIS blessings and gifts look much different than what I would view as blessings and gifts. Thanks for sharing about Ann Voskamp. I’ve not read her book but will head over to her blog after reading of her here.

  12. 12 Christie November 22, 2011 at 1:12 am

    I haven’t yet read this book, but I’ve only heard very positive reviews of it. I’m so glad you shared your perspective on thankfulness in this post–it’s a great reminder to me. 🙂

  13. 13 thedeatleys November 22, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Shilo, this was SO encouraging! I know that it must be God’s grace when a stylish and talented decorator (such as yourself) can come to terms with yellow and brown swirl carpet, of all things! It’s our natural reaction to see and notice the negative, but what a difference it makes to choose a thankful heart, and to appreciate the world around us.

  14. 14 thedeatleys November 22, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I’ll be sharing this with my missionary friends via a link on my blog!

  15. 15 Laura from Pruning Princesses November 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Just the title was convicting. Thank you for sharing. I shared a link on my blog.

  16. 16 Aunt Chabela November 22, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing your heart!! I treasure to hear what God is teaching you! I would love to read this book. I’ve heard of it but have yet to read it. 🙂

  17. 17 Kaylee November 23, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Shilo! Your heart spills over into your writing.

  18. 18 Carole November 27, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I have heard so many great reviews that I’d love to read this book! Great Post. I’m learning each day to be thankful for the little things…

  19. 19 Tammy November 28, 2011 at 6:51 am

    I especially liked what you wrote when you said, “When my heart is continually overwhelmed with thankfulness for God’s abounding grace to me, I see things differently. Thankfulness changes my perspective.” Thanks for sharing your heart and blessing mine.

  20. 20 Carrie November 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Would love to read this book!

  21. 21 jessie November 29, 2011 at 5:59 am

    I so easily overlook Gods abundant blessings, thanks so much for the reminder. Would love to win this:)

  22. 22 Julie November 29, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    I know I missed the giveaway but I just love this reminder and had to say it outloud. Thank you Shilo for sharing about your faith journey and that God covers it ALL with his grace.

  23. 23 Shilo November 30, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Thank you all for this encouraging dialogue! You bless my heart so much! May Christ Himself encourage you today with His near presence! He is good!

  1. 1 Full of thanks | The View From Here Trackback on November 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm
  2. 2 Tuesday Topic: Thanksgiving! « Trackback on November 22, 2011 at 6:14 pm
  3. 3 Last chance for the giveaway! « Trackback on November 28, 2011 at 5:37 am

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