Misplacing the Gifts

A few years back, I read the book entitled One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It encourages the reader to record a list of blessings –gifts– that are present in life. In short, it’s an invitation to express thanksgiving for all the things we already have, thereby cultivating a heart of gratitude and joy. So I picked up a journal and started writing…

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The scent of rain (Which I recently discovered had the really cool name of petrichor. Sweet!)

Watching my children sleep

The blackness of my husband’s hair

Tiny toes of newborn feet…

The list continued to grow, adding up to a few hundred gifts, before my writing turned toward other venues and the list was casually set aside. Until recently, when a few friends decided to revisit One Thousand Gifts together. So I dusted off the cover of the journal that held my “Gifts” and began adding to my inventory of wonders…

Spontaneous song and dance in the kitchen (Yes, life really is a musical in my house.)

First glimpse of my son after too many months of overseas’ separation

The memory of Dad’s voice calling in the cows…

The journal pages and my heart overflowed with gentle reminders of grace as I read and prayed. Until the morning I misplaced the gifts…

While sitting with a couple of Bibles, a few notebooks, and a stack of books (my small plethora –pardon the oxymoron– of study materials), I reached for my Gifts journal only to find it wasn’t where I remembered placing it. I glanced at the stack of books sitting near me but didn’t see it, so I moved to another room and began sorting through piles of books and places where it might be hiding. After a few minutes of fruitless searching, I restlessly returned to the bedroom.

Determined to continue with my devotional time, I picked up the top book entitled Breathe from the stack beside me, only to find the Gifts journal resting directly beneath it… Misplaced gratitude, right there beside me all along, buried beneath the invitation to Breathe.

In that simple act of discovery, I couldn’t help but wonder: How often does thankfulness stay hidden from my life?

And I am at a loss to find it — until I take the time to backtrack. Until I return to a place of rest and devotion. Until I accept the invitation to breathe and discover the Gifts right there at my fingertips.

It’s amazing how naturally gratitude is found in moments of rest.

Breathing in life releases the Gifts and stirs the soul toward thanksgiving. A thanks so often slow in coming when we’re busy searching for it in the hurry and clutter of a too-full life. Gratitude squelched with the blow of that one phone call or email that knocks the wind from us, leaving us confused and unsettled. Grace, seemingly absent when it’s buried beneath heavy hurt. But when we slow enough to catch our breath, we lift the weight pressing down on gratefulness. Inhaling life, we are freed to exhale thanks and joy. A joy that has been there all along, simply waiting on us. Waiting for that next breath so it can infect us with its contagious overflow.

Gifts – always present.

Resting in the moment of here.

Right beside us.

Where God is.

Always.

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