Finding gratitude in the backstory
PHOTO: Daniel Reche from Pixabay
I recently experienced a “victory.” It was a time and place where God showed up. And it deserved my full attention to the details of how.
This week I taught about “Discovering Contentment” at an evening event we call “A Taste of Stillness.” It’s just a taste, an appetizer for a full weekend of uninterrupted quiet with the Lord at a “Dare to Be Still” retreat.
It’s a dare to believe that life can go on without you for two days and a dare to believe that when you “draw near to God, He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)
On a Tuesday night, fifty women gathered around tables and listened as I shared insights about how I am learning to be content not only IN all things but also FOR all things. The ladies then spent thirty minutes in silence before the Lord considering their own places of wanting more in order to be satisfied.
The setting was beautiful and peaceful. Many ladies came by way of personal invitation, some bravely came alone.
The day before, I sat down with the Lord feeling appropriately inadequate to teach to some very broken-hearted ladies when my life’s journey has been much easier.
I began to list the people who would make the evening possible:
JESSICA who oversaw all the important details
the PRAYER TEAM
KANDI, who would bravely share her own journey from pain to peace
BONNIE who decorated tables, painted clipboards, wrapped presents, made centerpieces…. and HER HUSBAND who built a gate (“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.”)
JAN who graciously served up the cookies and tea
JULIE who designed a coloring page
DANIEL who ran the sound system
LEVITES who set up and took down tables and chairs
JOY who set up the “Dare to Be Still” retreat table
KATE who submitted our Sunday bulletin announcement
ADELE who administers the retreat registrations
ANN VOSKAMP who taught me about gratitudes through her book, 1,000 Gifts
JONI EARECKSON TADA who taught me God deserves our thanks both IN and FOR the circumstances of our life
PJ whose story pushed me back to God for more understanding
ANNIE who has lived a life of contentment before me every day of her life
PASTORS who support the “Dare to Be Still” ministry because they believe “Be still and know that I am God” is for real
PHOTO: Dani Géza from Pixabay
And I hadn’t even started with my list of gratitudes to God for the amazing relationship with Him that makes contentment not just a not just a wait-for in heaven, but a reality on this earth.
Have I bored you with the details, or did you justifiably just skip over them wondering what the point was?
The point is this: God is the giver of every good gift and our pause to thank Him can move us from our desire for More to our contentment in the Enough that He has already given.
Ann Voskamp teaches how we can follow the Lord’s instruction in I Thessalonians 5:16-18:
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
She describes how we can live all day long in conversation with the Lord:
“God whispers His love,
and I murmur my thanks.”
Pull up a chair and sit still
Where have you experienced a victory in your life? Who did the Lord usher into your picture to make that possible? Remembering is a joy-filled and humbling experience. Contentment is the result.
How about taking a few minutes to consider the backstory of one of your victories?