the act of thanksgiving.

giving of thanks.

the act of giving thanks…

Two days from now, I’m leading a Visual Prayer workshop and our focus is this act of thanksgiving. The Spirit has led me to focus on one particular verse

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

and I’ve been following trails throughout the Bible, tracking down Greek and Hebrew meanings of words, going from one verse to another, book to book, and these aren’t rabbit trails leading me off into a maze of distraction.

these are all connected

Pencil and ruler in hand, marking sections to read at the workshop, I sat with Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts” last night.

Last year when autumn darkened the sky and the leaves , and my heart was dark still from grief, I started counting my one thousand gifts. Three a day because that was all I could manage and I couldn’t even manage a whole year of three a day.

I did this before reading her book, before knowing that she, too, understood the dark.

…and it changed my life, her words on the page like the manna in the desert, the manna–the “what is it?”–the mystery, her words of manna fed my soul last year.

I wondered this morning, when did I start the counting of the one thousand gifts?  I stood up and reached for the October journal–empty. November.

November 9, 2010 started it like this

yes indeed, God did it again. It’s all connected and if we only pay attention we see.

I started Visual Prayer June 7, 2008. My mom died June 7, 2010.

I started counting one thousand gifts out of grief over my mother’s death and hope for something, healing maybe, on November 9, 2010. One year later, a new spirit of hope growing in me, I prepare today, to teach the transforming act of thanksgiving.  November 9, 2011.

and I start giving thanks again physically, in this journal.

Last year when I started I acted, as in pretended to have faith. Hoping that the three a day thanksgiving would do something. Now I’m doing something to show others the transformation.

What started as an act is now a way of life.

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walk with him wednesdays
life: unmasked

I had to come back to this post to add this:
Ann Voskamp‘s post today, about God knowing and meeting needs…

“Gratitude is born in the heart. And it leads you to action.”

I should not be surprised that God is echoing here the cry of Ann’s heart.