It’s been given to me . . . a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing into my lap (Luke 6:38). That pretty much sums me up lately. It’s joy. And just in time. My time of mourning is over. I’m throwing off the black clothes and grabbing some color out of the closet. And here, in this place where there is dancing,  some of my dear sweet friends, are struggling. Struggling with tough stuff. Grief, fatigue, physical ailments, relationship troubles, job loss, career change, cancer . . . it’s all so much. So much to bear.

Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens and therefore fulfill the law of Christ.”

I firmly believe that God has gifted me with encouragement. Ever since I stepped into the light of Christ, I’ve felt an urge to push others towards Him. Ask any of my friends, I am your biggest cheerleader. I believe in you . . . because I believe in Him. He who is able to do far more abundantly beyond what we could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20)

And it’s been my recurring theme these past two years and now into 2012; Counting it all joy. I’ve written about it, studied the book of James like a crazed woman, sang about it . . . experienced it. The truth is that we find the deepest intimacy with Christ when we are at the end of our ropes. And when we are thankful.

A friend invited me to her home for lunch this fall. She’s such an amazing person. A mom to four, homeschools, an amazing cook, an amazing teacher – just an amazing friend. She and I sat chatting over a beautiful but simple lunch, me a little too excited that there were pomegranates, and she brought up this book. This book about gratitude. A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It only took me 5 months, but I got it, and was devastated by chapter 2.

It is the overwhelming fact of our ingratitude which makes it to hard to believe that God is good. It is my unbelief in His goodness and my failure to thank Him, for the millions of gifts He gives, that presses me down. And that’s all changing.

I said my words for 2012 were going to be joy and peace. No. My word will be gratitude. Because I am grateful that He has grace on me, an often flighty, excitable, sanguine, woman. A silly woman who loves Christ, who loves my children, my friends, my family – furiously. Enough to ask you to come with me on this journey.

Please check out Ann’s site, and watch for my Thanks-living posts as I take the Joy Dare to count One Thousand Gifts this year.


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