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November 24, 2009

Strengthening Gratefulness Muscles

By Sharon Swing, Co-Author Listen to My Life 

What would your life be like without gratitude?

Our friend’s 16 year-old son, Will, was diagnosed with leukemia this summer. His mom, Joan Kelley, has been writing a blog entry each night on Will’s CaringBridge web site: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/willkelley. Through her writing, Joan has given us a glimpse into a mom’s life, heart and soul as she walks with her family through this very difficult time. She’s not slapping on a ‘victory smile’ over her emotions. It is a refreshing, sometimes gut-wrenching, peek into the life of a woman who is learning new ways to recognize and respond to God in the story of her life.

Her blog entry has become a regular evening devotional for me. One reason I read it each evening is that she reminds me to ‘thank God for what is given; not allowing what is not given to spoil it.’ (Elizabeth Elliott) Although some days it is incredibly difficult and other days it is blatantly easy, she has made a decision to look for how God is showing up in her life. She has the discipline of writing it down, which is a great way to tell God she’s noticed what he’s up to and thank him for it. I think that helps her to be more aware of those things for which she is grateful the next day. As a reader of her journal, I can see that her gratefulness muscles are getting stronger. My gratefulness muscles get stronger as I listen in on her story, and then reflect on my own.

Her intentions toward gratefulness help her to recognize the beauty God is bringing forth from the pain. It’s just like God to redeem life’s toughest struggles – but do we notice?

SCRIPTURE REFLECTION

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

QUESTION

How might you strengthen your gratefulness muscles?

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