Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cultivating A Grateful Heart Combined With Childhood Memories

One Thousand Gifts Devotional

For over a year now I have purposely been working on cultivating a more grateful heart. There's been plenty of roadblocks and failures along the way, but I will not allow them to stop my pursuit!

This morning I was reading Devotional 4 - Thinking Grace out of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts Devotional and, in it, Ann was talking about watching her son, Levi, sledding straight out to the sheer edge and going down it "...more than once or twice." She talked about waiting for the tears, and realizing that it wasn't about that. It was about the wonder of it all...seeing it in Levi's eyes...the thrill of trying what doesn't seem possible, and noting that "...that's always where fear meets faith and the face of God."

As Ann talked about this wondrous winter scene, she challenged me, once again, to be grateful in all things. As I read, my mind wandered back to a day long ago, when I was just a girl myself. I was 11, I think.

We had one of those really snowy winters and it lasted long, and the snow was deep. I remember bundling up warm one day and traipsing through the nearly foot-deep snow...out the gate...across the lot...down the winding path...past the old oak tree that marked the spot where my childhood pet, Frisky, was buried...and round the hill to the open field where we gardened in summer.

I remember the open, empty space stretching out before me. It was edged with autumn's weeds along two sides, but now they were caked in icy whiteness. The highway lay beyond and below the old garden spot and fencerow. The bluebird houses that my dad had stationed along the path and on the fence posts were empty now...their summer residences flown away, and the forested hill rose high above me.

I grew up under this hill and I loved it! Every season it offered up new and wondrous gifts to anyone who would take the time to enjoy them, and it offered quiet solitude and solace to all who chose to partake of it. But I had never seen the hill like this!

The whole wintery scene lay open, yet covered, before me! The garden area was one solid blanket of deep, undisturbed, whiteness. The forest trees, each outlined in thick, icy hoariness stood tall above me and beyond that and overhead was the brilliant blueness of a cloudless sky. Below the trees the forest floor lay hidden except for an occasional twig or bush that stubbornly protruded through here or there. Grape vines looped and wound through the trees, hanging low in places, as did bittersweet and other vining plants, but they, too, were outlined in thick, icy hoariness.

And oh! How it sparkled! Everything sparkled! Everything sparkled because the sun was shining and God's creation hadn't been disturbed! I remember stopping right then and there...thanking God for allowing me to witness the beauty of His creation in such a new and wondrous way!

Everything was so still! So un-messed up! So clean! So fresh! And I'm thinking now...just like the start of each new day. Just like a clean heart before God (Psalm 51).

And, yes, I was grateful! I have carried the memory (and the quiet, and the solitude) of that one beautiful day that was, and it has been, literally, etched in my heart, for over 40 years now and, still, I am grateful to God for it! I will continue to be grateful for it, and will visit as often as the Lord allows it to enter my mind, for as long as I live!

Have a blessed day!

~Rebecca <3

One Thousand Gifts - #283 - lost ground (reclaiming it), #284 - Christ's work on the cross, #288 - mosquitoes in the back yard (Are they really a gift? Oh, yes! Bat food!) :)


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