Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hard Gratitude

"Look at him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him." ~ Psalm 34:5 (MSG)

My cousin posted on Facebook that one of her choirs were singing "Follow the River." Curious, I began searching...

Follow the River will lead you home...

This morning I was led to Psalm 34 and was blessed. Of course, with Ann's book sitting on my kitchen table,  I am seeking gratitude...I am doing my best to be opened to the gifts that are given to me within moments...

The song my cousin is using in a school choir... that was a blessing this morning as I listened to the words.

Then Psalm 34 a psalm of "life"... real life was placed in my hands.

Life as described in Ann Voskamp's book.  Life as experienced by Job.  Life as I experience....

Psalm 34 is attributed to David when he outwitted Abimelech and got away.  How fitting scripture uses the name of "Abimeliech" that David outwitted. Abimelech is simply a "name" for any Philistine king.  Abimelech could also be the name of those things that pursue me.  Fear, uncertainty, anxiety, adrenaline rushes.... Like Ann, the author of Psalm 34 is not saying, "Life is always good and that I am happy at all times."  I believe the author is saying, "I CHOOSE to bless God at all times...ALL times."

Psalm 34:1-2 "I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise. I live and breathe God: if things aren't going well, here this and be happy:"

That is the journey I am beginning...and continuing as I pick up One Thousand Gifts.  But, it is not a new journey.
This morning I thought back to Joyce Rupp's book, "The Cup of Life", the book that launched me into this blogging/journaling.

This morning I was reminded of "emptying my cup" so that it could be filled with what God wills...what God intends to be in my cup for my health and so that I might be used by him within his world.

Emptying my cup..."God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears...When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot. God's angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray. Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see - how good God is..." (Psalm 34:4-8 MSG)

Eugene Peterson writes of the words within Psalm 34:
"...they're the words of a person who has simply decided to speak a blessing every chance he gets, determined to be ready to give thanks in all things. The reason of coures sn't because he feels great but because he believes that God is working through all things to bring forth good."
Peterson continues:
"Do you think of the Christian life as something that lifts you out of the realm of the mundane into something more majestic? If so, you're wishing in the wrong direction. The Christian faith draws us deeper into the stuff of creation: bodies, money, emotions, relationships. Some of the stuff we see is awful. And some of the stuff we feel is painful. 
"But it is precisely there, in the awfulness and the painfulness of life, that we discover something that transcends these things." 
"If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there; if you're kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath." Psalm 34: 18

While searching form the song Follow the River, I found another, Christmas Lullaby. The words of this song reflect on how she is like Mother Mary, bringing hope into the world.

I am also a Mary!  God calls me to empty my cup, to find him within the mess, the uncertainties, the fears.... of life...and to offer him praise!

That is hard gratitude, yet when I get this....when I live this truth...."I" fully receive God's hope and I bring hope into the world!

Peterson writes:
"The single qualification for being eligible for God's help is that we be in trouble. The reason we're in trouble doesn't matter, whether it's our own fault or someone else's. What matters is that God is right there in the midst of our troubles, stooping to pick up the pieces of our broken hearts and put them back together."
"Come children, listen closely; I'll give you a lesson in God worship." ~ Psalm 34:11

These lessons of offering gratitude within darkness, Hard Gratitude, God has given me...has put his word before me in so many ways.  He wants me to be able to bless him with my heart opened....within the darkness.  And when I do...when I am able to truly let him fill that space...I will be blessed and I will be a blessing.

Christmas Lullaby.....

May it come to pass....AMEN.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi


  1. Sandi, I bought two copies yesterday... one for myself, one for one of my friends. Haven't cracked the cover yet and have a busy three days ahead... but, at least I have access to it. ;) I am always amused that there are repeated messages we need. All this past year, I have been working, choosing, disciplining myself to give thanks in all things. It is not easy. And, here I find re-inforcement of that choice. Thank you and thank you. blessings ~ tanna
    ps I hope we will get to see Frost on the Pumpkin! ;) Love does help the brown look much better.

  2. Looking at the bright side has always made my dark days a bit easier to handle. :)