"Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then, it will be a really good day." Louie Schwartzberg
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Book-ends of Gratitude


posted by Susan Dominikovich on , , , , , , , , ,

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If I were at home in New Zealand right now I would already be well into the new year, 2014.  And I would be glad of that.  I would be glad to bring in the new year with excitement and in anticipation of what lies ahead. 

Excitement and anticipation has nothing at all to do with already-failed-promises to myself and half-hearted-but-hopeful-new year’s resolutions.  Been there, done that.  It also has nothing at all to do with a dim and grim hope that the failures and disappointments of 2013 do not repeat themselves.  Been there, done that too.

Excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead actually starts with looking back. 

Our body clocks still haven’t adjusted to West Coast time (or, we have become wonderfully accustomed to sleeping in and staying up late), so well into the wee hours last night I was thinking about my word for 2013.

Many words came to mind:  grief, change, hope, prayer, faith, friendship, loss, gifts, disillusion, joy, trust, betrayal.…

And then I realized that 2013 has been book-ended by the same word.  I started the year focusing on “gratitude.”  I learned to look beyond the heartache I experienced over a changed relationship and to see everything through a filter of “gratitude.”  I discovered the work of Louie Schwartzberg and kept a gratitude journal for myself.  I quickly learned that I had so much to be grateful for, I could no longer be sad and empty about things lost.

But then I experienced hurt and betrayal and injustice in new and unanticipated ways in October of this year. I spent many weeks in dumbfounded disillusion, having had my eyes opened to what lies beneath the surface of the heart of man.  I had seen evil at work in unexpected places.  I had seen lies and the destructive nature of those lies in relationships and ministry.  It was not a happy discovery.

However, in the eleventh hour of this year, a warrior-sister suggested to me that in time, I can turn my disillusion into gratitude.   Or rather, learn to become grateful for the disillusionment.  And I realized that I already was grateful.

Without the events of 2013 that hurt me deeply, I would not see so clearly now.  I would not have got into the habit of dwelling in God’s Word, deepening and strengthening my relationship with Jesus.  I would not have seen the workings of God so powerfully through healing and prayer and learned to rely on that power daily.  I would not have discovered the gift of vulnerability.  I would not now understand the role of friendship in my life and how powerful a verb is trust.  I would not have learned to protect myself and my family.  I would not have developed strong relationships with authentic people who play a key role in my life.  I would not have ministered and been ministered to.  I would not have discovered where my gifting in music lies.  I would not have stumbled across Sarah Bessey, Idelette McVicker and SheLoves Magazine.  I would not have been blessed by a global sisterhood of Christian writers.

I would not be writing. 

I would not have learned that I am a warrior too.

Gratitude. 

Grateful for what is behind.  Grateful for what lies ahead.

Gratitude

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