the act

*A note before you read this. After doing an audit of my blog in 2022, I have decided to leave content that speaks to the Christian I was at the time this was written. I no longer identify as Christian (and haven’t for a very long time.) I chose to leave these posts because it is who I was then and it is important to me to be honest and true with every iteration and evolution of self that I experience. I may decide to add comments to the end of posts like this as well

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.


5 thoughts on “the act”

  1. Love this. Love you. Love Ann. And I love the power of gratitude to change perspective, the power of grace to beautify pain. I love the way God shows through “little” things — tracing dates and patterns and discovering hidden glory in words.

    May your workshop tomorrow be a sanctuary, filled with Light, overflowing with praise.

    Love, Jeanne

  2. Ann’s post had me in tears this morning (tears before breakfast, right?) and yours did it again. Seems to be my thing lately, crying. But you my dear friend have come a long way baby. Of course you would begin again today. God knows. He sees. *hugs*

  3. What a difficult stretch I see you are walking! I am so very sorry for your losses. How wonderful that God is shining light into the dark places and already causing your comfort to overflow to others. May He strengthen you to keep counting, thanking, praising.

    Ann’s list brought me here today, and I smiled to see we have a mutual friend in Heather Goodman. So nice to meet you.

    Grace and peace to you in Jesus, Michelle.

  4. I haven’t read Ann’s book yet…and probably won’t have time to start it until my Spiritual Formation class wraps up next month as there is a lot of reading required for it. Still, I like what I’ve read and heard and I’ve been blessed by what I’m seeing in everyone’s lives.

    Journals are awesome tools. They help me get my thoughts on straight, but like you wrote, they are a wonderful way to look back and see how God has been working and how it all ties together. Thanks for sharing this.


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