Extraordinary and Ordinary at the Same Time

Image by 4653867 from Pixabay 

Yesterday, July 24, 2019 marked the five-year anniversary of God blessing me with my miraculous healing from the two rare lung diseases that had me on the verge of a double lung transplant. I am so grateful to the Lord each and every day! And so it was a momentous day, not just another day.

By the same token, the fact that I CAN have ordinary days because of my healing is a tremendous gift. And that’s how yesterday was just another day.

I began by going to the Grand Reopening of my favorite grocery story after it underwent major renovation. In the afternoon, I went to church and practiced with the organist in preparation for doing the special music at both of our services this coming Sunday. From there, I visited with my parents until it was time for me to come home and make dinner. Other activities included devotional and prayer time, finishing the book, Letters from the Land of Cancer by Walt Wangerin Jr. (pastor, professor, and inspired Christian author), and getting ready for a jaunt to Maryland in a couple of days to help my bestie pick up her dogs.

I realize I’ve probably got you yawning and your eyes glazing over from boredom. I know, there was nothing special about what I did yesterday–except for the fact that I did move through the day, easily, busily, and as a healthy 60-something. Because God loves me, whether my circumstances are good, bad, or indifferent, each and every day is both ordinary and monumental. This was true yesterday, today, during the ten years I dealt with the lung diseases, and every day of my life.

Soli Deo Gloria! (To God Alone be the Glory!)

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God + Gifts = Joy and Thankfulness

Like most people, I have been encouraged at various points in my life to keep a thankfulness journal. Being the office and school supply nerd that I am, I could never start one until I’d located the perfect blank book and pen. I’d begin eagerly enough, but before long the delight with my stupendous stationary and the enthusiasm of tracking what I was thankful for at the end of each day dwindled until the entries stopped. I always wondered why I found this so difficult to do. My personality is of the glass-half-full variety, and I’ve been blessed with what Rachel Carson calls “the sense of wonder”.

One day, I picked up a book by Ann Voskamp entitled One Thousand Gifts, knowing nothing about it. Her beautiful use of language and unique way of expressing ideas drew me in immediately. What she wrote not only made the light bulb go on for me, but was life-changing. When sharing with a friend her struggle to cultivate joy, despite recognizing her many blessings and being thankful for them, this friend gave Ann a challenge: make a list of one thousand gifts God has given you.

That last phrase reverberated in my mind and heart–gifts God has given you. Gifts. God. Has. Given. You. GIFTS GOD HAS GIVEN YOU! This simple shift in semantics was transformational. Instead of thankfulness being about me, what was I thankful for, now became what God has given me. And so I started another journal.

Now that my focus was on God and the gifts that are all around me, my list grew and grew. I couldn’t wait to find the treasures God would put in front of me each day. Some items were simple, such as snuggling with my dog on the couch, the scent of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, or the finch watching me from the underside of my living room awning. And some were more complex–marveling at the wonder of my salvation, God’s grace in a moment of weakness, or a new revelation into a verse of scripture.

And what I discovered was that I became filled with joy by seeing God’s hand in every aspect of my life which then triggered a deep sense of gratitude.

I no longer struggle to record in my journal. Some days my problem becomes not being able to STOP recording gifts–indeed, a good “problem” to have! It proves once again that when we focus on God instead of ourselves, we open ourselves to being filled with God’s joy and in turn, we respond with praise and thankfulness.

“Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and forget not (one of) all His benefits.” Psalm 102:2 (Amplified)

“Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad” Psalm 35:27a

(Check out Ann Voskamp’s wonderful inspirational blog, A Holy Experience It also contains information about her book One Thousand Gifts.)

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