January 28, 2014
Thankfulness Changes Lives
"I thank my God every time I remember you." Philippians 1:3 (NIV)
A winter Saturday afternoon found me cleaning our basement storage room. There were boxes of papers to sort, bins of holiday decorations to shuffle and other assorted items to realign neatly on the shelves. I'd estimated it would take me an hour or so to tidy up the space. Except I hadn't factored in one thing.
The items I straightened and stacked weren't spectacular; they were common articles found in many basements and garages. But the fragrance of precious memories clung to them. Memories of events that changed my life. Memories of people who touched my heart. My pace slowed significantly.
I gently folded the ivory lace dress my daughter wore for her baby dedication at church over two decades ago. My mother bought it for her and continues to think of her grandchildren, picking up special trinkets and treats for them. She has a knack for making others feel loved.
I thank my God every time I remember my mom.
A hand-sewn stuffed bunny rabbit sat perched on a corner shelf. My college roommate Kelly lovingly crafted it for one of my children when they were young. For over 30 years, Kelly has been a thoughtful friend who never forgets my birthday and faithfully prays for my family.
I thank my God every time I remember my friend Kelly.
I found an old key on a greyed leather keychain. Turning the keychain over I saw a simple word scrawled across the back: pool. Our former neighbor, a widow and retired school teacher, had a built-in swimming pool and we did not. Without children or grandkids nearby, she gave us a key so our young family could take a dip any time we wished.
I thank my God every time I remember Mrs. B.
Memories surrounded me as I sorted through yearbooks and photo albums. Old friends. Precious relatives. Former church members and coworkers. Pieces of my past. So many of these dear folks played a part in my life. Remembering them brought a smile to my face and a few salty tears to my eyes.
I whispered a prayer of sincere thankfulness for all of those people who helped shape my life. Their encouragement, advice and sometimes mere presence were blessings to me. God even used the relationship bumps to help mold my character and teach me life lessons.
In today's key verse, Paul writes to the believers at the church in Philippi declaring, "I thank my God every time I remember you." Just calling to mind the image of these loved ones gave the apostle reason to be grateful to God. But Paul didn't only thank God, Paul also told his friends of his thankfulness.
Could we do the same today? To not only thank God for those in our lives but also let them know how grateful we are for them? Dare we divert from our daily routine to take a moment or two to shoot off an email, make a phone call, or even send a hand-written note to someone we thank God for each time we remember them?
Gratefulness brings contentment and contentment brings peace—peace in knowing all the pieces of our lives string together to make us who we are today.
Grab a pen or pick up your phone. Someone is waiting to hear how thankful you are for them. It might just make their day. And yours.
Dear Lord, help me to take time today to not only thank You for the many special people in my life but to joyfully tell them as well. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Want a go-to-guide for reaching out to and celebrating the special people in your life? Everyday Confetti, the new book by Karen Ehman and Glynnis Whitwer, will give you tons of ideas and recipes for making your loved ones feel cherished. When you purchase it from Proverbs 31 Ministries, you'll be eligible to receive a PDF on getting organized for the New Year.
Visit Karen's blog where she is giving away a memory-making basket of thankfulness and a copy of Everyday Confetti.
Need a guest speaker for your women's event? Invite Karen to be your presenter. Click here for a list of her topics.
Reflect and Respond:
Who in your life are you grateful for? Make a list. Then, after each name, mention a few reasons why.
Take time today to contact at least one of these people and let them know why you are thankful God placed them in your life.
Colossians 2:6-7, "Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude." (HCSB)
© 2014 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.
Originally published Tuesday, 28 January 2014.