Monday, November 15, 2010

One Thousand Gifts

Today I was driving to an appointment I was late for, after leaving a bank that I got lost trying to find, and I got stopped at yet another red light. "How is it not even 9 AM and so many unfortunate things have already happened?" was the first thought that came to my head.

As I'm reflecting on the happenings of the morning, I glance over to the sidewalk and see a woman sitting there with her back to me. She's staring off into the distance, and I can tell by the look on her face that she's tired, weary, worn-down. Clearly this woman is in true need, and has true troubles.

My mind replays the morning in a new light as I'm staring at this woman, tears welling up in my eyes.

I am running late to an appointment to see a Doctor that I'm not going to have to pay for because I have a job with health care benefits. I'm late because I couldn't decide what outfit out of a billion choices I was going to wear. I'm grumpy because I had to stop at a bank to deposit money into my account. I am irritated because the directions on my iPhone caused me to go a few minutes in the wrong direction and now I'm not going to have time to stop at Starbucks for coffee. Even reliving the morning in writing makes me disgusted with myself- the same shameful feeling I had at that light, staring at a woman who was far less fortunate.

For a while now, I've wanted to follow in Ann Voskamp's footsteps in her blog series called One Thousand Gifts. She writes on how gratitude can change your life and how it already has changed hers, and how to notice the plethora of gifts surrounding us- from obvious things like a house, car, food, and so on... to the things that go less appreciated like how it smells after rain, or hearing a bird chirp outside. No thing is too big or too small to be thankful for. It's encouraging to read others' lists and see that everyone sees God and gives thanks to Him in different parts of their day. Everything we have is of Him and for Him.

As much as I hate seeing the ugliest parts of me, like how inattentive I am to the grace that abounds, it reminds me of how ugly I am when I come to the Father, and how perfect I am in His sight because of the righteousness his Son died to wrap me in.

So, with only a few minutes of today's ingratitude exposed in this post, I continue it with the beginning of my list of One Thousand Gifts:

1. I am thankful for the needy woman on the corner, staring off into nothing, with thoughts and concerns I'll never know of running through her head...her presence symbolically showing me my true self.

2. The time in the day to sit at my computer and process my thoughts onto a blank screen, with no distractions, calm music in the background.

3. The first, shocking bite of cold air every morning when I take my first step outside, showing that winter is indeed upon us.

4. Google.

5. Strawberries, because they are not in season but they are still everywhere. And I love them. Even though they sometimes give me hives.

One thousand gifts...and that's only scratching the surface. Join me?

And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.-1 Chronicles 29:13


  1. I love this, and needed to read this today. Good job!

  2. THANK YOU! I needed this post this week. You rock!