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I’ve always known that giving thanks was a good thing — what I didn’t know — was that expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father opens doors for the miraculous and the abundant life Jesus promised.
A few years ago, I came across Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts and it’s been one of the few books that have impacted me deeply. I loved Ann’s story of how the practice of giving thanks in everything not only changed her but her family as well.
I wondered if it would do the same for me? Would giving thanks produce the miraculous in my life? Because in so many ways, my life needed the miraculous healing touch of God.
As Ann had done, I began recording my gifts daily and numbering them. After I hit the first thousand, I began again. This year, I’m at 825. In the process of counting my gifts and giving thanks to my Heavenly Father, I found that it does change you and along the way I’ve learned some life-giving truths.
Giving thanks to whom?
God’s Word says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Jas. 1:17
A lot is being written about the benefits of gratitude in the marketplace but as a believer, I believe it makes a world of difference in knowing to whom you are expressing gratitude.
Every good gift I have comes from God. As I began counting my gifts, I became increasingly aware that even the air I breathe is a gift and that I can breathe is a gift. And who is the source of these gifts? Our Heavenly Father. Writing the gifts down and saying them aloud keeps me anchored in God and acknowledges Him as my Creator. In so doing not only do I cultivate an attitude of gratitude but my heart comes alive in deeper ways because I see that I’m loved in countless ways.
Awaken to joy
I don’t know about you but for years I’ve had conditions set in my life as to what would give me ultimate happiness. Some of the more recent ones have been — if only we could finish our house and pay off our debt; if only I could be a better mama and keep the house more organized; if only I could write that book I’ve been dreaming about for years; and if only I could have a better relationship with my husband — then life truly would be blessed and I would finally be happy.
Yet the reality is even if these conditions were met, they would never fully fill the longing in my heart. As I began counting my blessings and expressing my gratitude my perspective shifted.
Take, for example, the desire to have a better relationship with my husband.
After an argument with my hubby, I would normally write down why I was angry with him but now in the midst of my anger and blame, I’d be reminded how he’d taken care of the car so I could drive safely or how he hammered away daily to build a house we as family could enjoy or how he’d never complained about anything I’d ever cooked. And little by little, I began to see the amazing blessing I had in my husband. This shift in perspective was no small miracle — it was instrumental in saving my marriage and ultimately my family.
Gratitude precedes the miraculous
In her book, Ann shows how giving thanks preceded some of the biggest miracles recorded in the Bible. Remember Daniel and the lions’ den? Before he was thrown into the pit, Daniel was praying and giving thanks as he had always done — three times daily. Jesus before feeding the thousands broke the bread and gave thanks. And the night before He was going to face death by crucifixion on the cross, Jesus gave thanks.
In each of these stories the miraculous follows. God sent an angel to shut the lion’s mouth. The five loaves and three fishes are multiplied to feed thousands and Jesus comes back to life!
I’ve also found that we can give thanks in advance for the miracles we are praying for. Such as, Father, thank you for the healing work you are doing in my marriage.
Gratitude anchors your soul in God’s goodness and abundance
Cultivating gratitude helps us to anchor our soul in the truth that God is good and we can always give thanks despite our circumstances.
I know a friend who survived breast cancer only to face tumors in her brain a few years later. If anyone had reason to be down, it would be her but almost daily she posts encouraging notes of her faith in God and expresses gratitude for the small joys in her life. She is truly living out the miraculous.
And the thing about giving thanks — is that it helps you to live out of a place of plenty. When you realize you have more than enough, your poverty and scarcity mentality shifts to one of abundance and generosity.
I still have a long way to go in learning to live with a grateful heart. Because my natural tendency is the opposite — but I’m making steps in the right direction one day at a time.
It’s Thanksgiving time and no better time to practice the discipline of giving thanks. I’ve created a printable you can download here to help you count your gifts. I hope you’re encouraged to give thanks to our Heavenly Father and know the countless ways you are loved.
For more inspiration on gratitude, visit Ann’s blog where she has a wealth of resources on what she calls the holy happiness habit of giving thanks.
Get Ann’s book on Amazon — One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are