It is inching nearer to 4am and my alarm will ring in 4 short hours, but here I am. Whether it is an early evening iced tea or God wanting my attention, I do not know, but I do know that He will have to provide extra strength for the day tomorrow.
In my hours of waiting for sleep to come in the wee hours of the morning I have been reading through Oprah Winfrey’s 2014 book entitled What I Know For Sure. I expected to read 10-20 pages and then set it aside for the night, letting my heavy eyelids win this match, but sleep will not come and so I am now 100 pages into a book that is already shaping some of the outer edges of my heart.
Each page is filled with wisdom, with each turn a sentence or two making waves in my soul in an unexpected and glorious way. She is convicting me and encouraging me and, in the spirit of Brené Brown (I see now why they are friends), helping me to remember that holding shame is the “greatest burden of all. When you have nothing to be ashamed of, when you know who you are and what you stand for, you stand in wisdom.”
She also speaks of the practice of gratitude, specifically noting that after years of maintaining a habit of writing down five gratitudes per night, a break allowed her to lose the ability to look for as detailed of blessings throughout each of her days. The practice of writing each night changed how she lived each day, what she experienced as her life moved along.
As mentioned, this was a particularly rough year for me. There have been many things beyond my control, and surely some things in my control, that just crumbled. There have been losses, collapses, and times of desolation. Through all of this it has been a point of mine to look for the blessings. I never did that with an intent to gloss over the hardships, but instead to see the care and love of God through hardships. Some days it has been easier than others, but nevertheless it’s remained a goal.
I hope to begin creating a habit. I want to seek out the gratitudes. Though my heart is plagued with anxiety these past days, I have also been more stable in who I know myself to be, and so I would like to look through my days, “name and claim” the blessings that God has given me, and allow the anxieties to pass. Because ultimately I am under his wing, he is the protector of my heart, and he is the one who remains the same.
With that said, today I am grateful for:
> Getting an outside glimpse at what I have so that I am able to value it. <
A friend in from out of town brought a fresh pair of eyes and a thirsty heart to our community this week and it has been a refreshing reminder of the very different and special blessing that I have in community. Not all regions have people who seek each others’ hearts well, who want to mature together, who jump into the deep end in conversations without the need to wade through the shallow end first. I am thankful for friends who have hearts that match mine.
> Snapshot moments <
Several times lately I have been able to enjoy a particular viewpoint looking in from the outside of a moment that I am a part of. Whether it’s during a quick stepping away to refill a drink or use the restroom, I turn back toward what is going on and pause to just take in the sight. Friends gathered around tables, kitchen counters, living room couches….I look and see faces a-glow, spirits engaged, and laugher and joy twinkling from eyes and mouths. I am thankful for friends who love, who seek, who sing, who rejoice, who pause, who pray, who embrace. Each action is a gift. Each is a dignifying moment. Each is a window into the heart and mind.
> Rest <
This week especially has been a gift in rest (although as I’m typing at 4am, perhaps not today). Being immensely blessed with the ability to work from home has allowed me to take it easy after a season of perpetual motion. I never stopped moving this past year, both figuratively and literally. God sees all and knows all and has graciously allowed me to be a part of an organization that doesn’t micromanage or over-boss but trusts it’s employees as the professionals we are, knowing I will complete my work and do it well, whether it’s from an office desk or my living room coffee table. My heart is healing, one PJ-clad work day at a time.
> Reading <
I am ahead of schedule of my 60 book goal this year. The books that I have consumed so far have changed me. Oprah says in her book that “Reading opens you up. It exposes you and gives you access to anything your mind can hold.” She continues, “It gives you the ability to reach higher ground. And keep climbing.” This has been true for me, especially in these most recent weeks. What a gift.
> Breeze <
There is something healing to the soul about a springtime breeze blowing through an open apartment.
Needless to say, God has blessed me today. I want to keep looking for blessings each day that goes by. I hope I will continue to share them here. There are other blessings from today that I don’t even have words to explain now. I hope I will someday soon.