Monday, November 21, 2011

a week of thanks: day one

{from wooden hive vintage silverware}
No one receives the peace of God without giving thanks to God.
Thankfulness is the deep, contented breath of Peacefulness.

i work with the kids at our church.  my business card says that i am 'children's ministry director' but sometimes i think i am learning more from these kids than they are learning from me.

this month we are exploring what it means to have an attitude of gratitude.  i've been so excited to share the life changing power of this virtue that i practically want to do cartwheels and bound from a trampoline into the rafters shouting - 
this will change your hearts forever kids!!  
don't wait until you're old like me to figure this one out!!'  
{we meet in a gym so the cartwheels and trampoline jumping are actual possibilities on a sunday morning...lucky me}

last week i was reminded that in this process of shepherding kids and their parents, God is further impressing his truth on my own heart.  

gabrielle is 10 years old.  her height would convince you she is nearly a teenager...and so would her wisdom.  i see her cross-legged on the floor in front of me as i teach on sunday mornings.  long dark hair...slender face full of wonder...eyes that are searching...ears that listen {and understand}.

last sunday gabrielle approached me after the service.  tears bubbling up in her bright eyes.  she wanted to talk.  i prepared myself to counsel, comfort, guide...none of those things were necessary.  gabrielle would be the one guiding this conversation...she would leave little need for a response from me.

her grandmother had died.  two weeks ago.  through tears i heard the story of her love and adoration for a woman who had taught her much {especially about Jesus} and loved her well.  they had lived together.  now there was a gaping hole in their family.  with brutal honesty gabrielle explained her struggle with God during this season.  angry that her grandmother lived only into her 60's.  angry that she didn't have more time with her.  angry that her life was now filled with a deep sadness...and then...

a light started to break through in her eyes.  she smiled faintly.  words of wisdom beyond her years were spoken...
this morning we learned that the Bible says we should be thankful in ALL circumstances...even the hard ones.  you told us that even during hard times there are still things that we can thank God for.  i realized that i can thank God.  i can thank him that i got to live with my grandmother and learn so much from her.  i am thankful that i can tell my younger cousins about her because they probably won't remember.  i'm not angry anymore.  i'm thankful.

in that moment i saw the peace of God that is ushered into a heart when room is made inside for thanksgiving.  i saw the living truth of God's word penetrating the heart of a 10 year old girl and literally changing her from the inside out.  holy ground.

please share some of your moments of gratitude with us this week...
they remind us to give eternal thanks to the great giver of gifts...