The Journey to Becoming Radically Thankful

My kids and I recently discovered a sweet story at our library titled Sweet Beauties by Elvira Woodruff. It is the story of a young girl named Darcy in Ireland in 1845 during a severe famine. She notices the beauty of a spider web dipped in dew across her milk pail and the towering castles formed in the clouds. She stores up little treasures she finds in nature in the hem of her dress, from pebbles to dried flowers. Despite the loss of their potato crops, their home, and their eventual immigration to America, she is the one who continues to treasure the gifts around her and bring hope to her family.

I began a journey nearly 14 months ago to become a radically thankful woman (thanks to the inspiring read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp). In this process, I have recorded over 900 sweet and precious gifts that I have seen in the everyday mundane moments of life. I have witnessed a merciful God display His glory through the simple beauties around me. There have certainly been times when I didn’t feel like recording my gifts. There were many a night when I struggled to sleep, was crying out for mercy, and the Lord gently reminded me to count my blessings. I opened up my list and began again. There have been many a day when everything seemed to fall apart, and yet there was still grace on display to be observed.

I have observed the treasures of…

…the joyful giggles from my little girl

…the ability to dream

…taking a nap in the sunshine

…my daughter’s sweet attempts of catching snowflakes on tongue

…the warmth of a down comforter on cold winter nights

…the blue dawn to awaken my body in the morning

…Daddy snuggling up with little ones reading stories

…The ability to extend nourishment to my child at my chest

…Seeds lying dormant beneath my feet preparing to sprout in a few short months

In the progress of this journey, my heart has been radically changed. I have been less susceptible to discouragement and depression. I am less inclined to a spirit of negativity, which is my destructive pessimistic self. I am enjoying life at a whole new level. I am seeing how precious and sweet this life is. There are gifts to be discovered in this adventure, even amid the trial and pain.

Being a loving mother can be such a challenge, but when I stop and pray for eyes to see the treasures, I will be able to dig deep in God’s goodness, and see the cute dimple on my baby’s cheek even amidst the late night feedings. I can see the sincere blue eyes and gentle reminder “It’s okay, Mommy”, from my daughter’s lips even when I am crying in frustration at my failure. I become more free to throw out the to-do list and romp around with my little ones and treasure the moment.

Being a supportive cheerful wife can be one of the most difficult pursuits especially when you may think he has made a stupid decision or he has thoughtlessly forgotten your request or overlooked your need. But when I stop and pray for grace to see, I see a faithful man who diligently provides for all our needs. I see a man that will love me to the day I die. I see a man who willingly romps around with the kids playing dinosaur, dragons, and hide & seek even after a long day of work.

This journey has been hard…but so good. It has been a gift of grace in my life. It has been a gentle reminder that I have only one life to live. I want to make every moment count for eternity. It has caused me to slow down, to observe, to express my thanks, and to see the joy of the Lord abound in my heart.

I cannot stop. I am a work in progress. I still have my days. Today, I am losing my voice due to a cold, my miserable attempt at a craft project with the kids ended in disaster, my little man (who was potty trained 7 months ago) continues to have frequent pee-pee accidents when he gets distracted or excited leaving me beyond frustrated. But when I stop, rest, reflect, and observe, I see the gift of the blessing of staying home to nurture my little ones, healthy food to nourish our bodies, a daddy close by to help in a disaster, and three little munchkins who never cease to make me laugh.

This year my goal is to record 1,000 gifts over the duration of this year on top of my 900+ list. I want to have a record of 2,000 gifts by the close of 2012. Care to join me on the journey? Ready to find true joy among the mundane? I find it works best to record my gifts every morning during my devotions as I reflect upon the previous day. You may prefer buying multiple little journals and scattering them around your house to record the moments.

Check out A Holy Experience every Wednesday where Ann shares her gifts and you can link up with yours too!

Oh that we might be like Darcy, the little Irish girl, who observed the sweet beauties…to be able to stop and think about the gifts that surround us even when life gets difficult. Would you care to join me? Ready to have your mindset transformed?

I love how the Message translation puts Ephesians 5:4, “Let no crude language or foolish joking be on your lips. Christians have better use of language. Thanksgiving is our dialect.”

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening” (Psalms 92:1-2).

“Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord, it is fitting for the pure to praise him” (Psalms 33:1).

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About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

32 Responses to The Journey to Becoming Radically Thankful

  1. Diana October 13, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Thank you Lindsay for this post. I stumbled upon your blog via Pinterest (I LOVE that site!). Your heart for the Lord is breathtaking and in particular this post on being thankful is exactly what my heart needed to read. Thank-you.

  2. Lauren March 2, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    I really needed this today…so many things we take for granted that we should celebrate and be thankful for! Instead of dwelling on things that are negative, I intend to focus on the many blessings in my life.

  3. Mary January 30, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    Thank you for the mention of the book Sweet Beauties by Elvira Woodruff. I got it from the library and we read it today. What a sweet story. It will be our book of the week this week. We will read it each day. Thank you for passing on great resources and books for young children. I am a mom of 3 small ones also.

  4. gretchen January 21, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    Your posts are very inspiring to me, Lindsay, especially your 2012 goals recently was something that I needed to read, somehow. Just wanted to thank you and say please keep up the good work! :)

  5. Lorraine January 21, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    Dear Lindsay, I am so grateful for this ministry that the Lord has given you. I have been blessed by the ways you share so deeply from your heart and am encouraged in my own walk with Him. I love your perspective and each post challenges my thinking and causes me to seek the Lord. Your blog is definitely on my 2012 list of gifts for which I am thankful!

  6. A Heart of Praise January 20, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    Thank you for this post, I needed it. :)

  7. Bethany R. January 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    I’ve been starting my days by giving thanks for 5 things. That has really helped to change my outlook, especially during difficult times.

  8. Alyssa January 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    This is a very timely reminder for me too – thank for you for your honesty and humility in sharing, it is truly an encouragement! I will be reflecting on how thanksgiving can be my dialect :)

  9. shawn wolf January 19, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    I too am losing my voice today from a cold and my little one the same age as yours is regressing in potty training as well. It’s nice to know that other Mothers have the same stuggles. Great advice on counting my blessings. Indeed God is good.

  10. Trina Holden January 19, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    thank your for your testimony of how counting the gifts has changed your life. I’m starting up my list again and am at 240. :) This year I’m counting the gifts in the same book I journal and pray in, and it’s helping me to remember to add to it daily.

  11. Bethany January 19, 2012 at 6:12 am #

    We decided as a family to record our blessings…the things we are thankful for. I pray it does change each of us into more thankful people who get less easily frustrated because we remember all the ways we are blessed.

  12. Carley January 19, 2012 at 5:58 am #

    How did you know I needed to read this today!? God spoke through you to me….thank you!

  13. Blessed Mama January 19, 2012 at 2:56 am #

    Very true!

  14. Celise January 19, 2012 at 12:21 am #

    I read your post tonight and felt the first stirrings of hope in a heart that was bogged down with depression. I pulled out my journal and listed ten things I am thankful for. The tears starting flowing and I feel excited to live each moment of tomorrow. I don’t want to miss one smile from my babies or an opportunity to teach them. Being thankful is a gift from our loving Heavenly Father and I have been throwing it away the last couple of days. Thank you for being His messenger and reminding me.

  15. Ayla January 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    A friend of mine sent me Ann’s book about a year ago. It changed my life! Now I love to “pay it forward” and gift the book to friends and family in hard times. My sister was suffering from postpartum depression so I sent a copy to her, when a relative was diagnosed with cancer I sent one to her too. Ann is my hero! <3

  16. Sarah Isaac January 18, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    Beautiful post. Read about One Thousand Gifts on your blog and have been on a similar journey. Thank you for sharing your heart and being honest about the demptation to be depressed or discontent. Press on, sister!

  17. Tracie January 18, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    For those who are looking for a good read, I recomend Kisses From Katie, by Katie Davis. It is an amazing true story of an 18 year old girl who leaves her life in America behind to follow God’s calling of going to Uganda. She became Mommy to 14 orphaned girls. It has made me redefine what it means to be thankful and praise God in all situations. Katie has a beautiful testamony to share in her book!

  18. Autumn January 18, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    What a faithful reminder, thanks Lindsay. Reading Ann’s book now and encouraged to take joy in the simplicity. I also felt similar when reading “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment”. Not quite as easy of a read, but an excellent encouragement.

  19. Lorilee @ Loving Simple January 18, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    loved Ann’s book! I just read it in December. Being Thankful definitely makes a huge difference.

  20. MrsRing January 18, 2012 at 6:50 am #

    Beautifully said! Exactly what I needed during my morning coffee break today :)

  21. Kristin January 18, 2012 at 6:07 am #

    Thank you for your post!! As so many of us feel, no doubt, it was like God had you write that post just for me. You are being HIS hands and feet through your words to so many of us. Thank you for taking time to write and encourage other mommies. God bless your day today!

  22. Rebekah B January 18, 2012 at 6:05 am #

    I love this and I can’t wait to start, today! :) I have been worried and down, because my husband is out of town for the next 10 weeks. But, I know this will keep my eyes on what the Lord has given us and I will be a better wife and mother because of it. Thank you for your blog!

  23. Rachel January 18, 2012 at 5:59 am #

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts. It is a great reminder to me as I start my day. Grace and thanksgiving are so much sweeter than discontent and grumbling. Have a blessed day in the Lord!

  24. Laura January 18, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    Beautiful sentiments and a wonderful goal! My resolution this year is to let down the walls of cynicism, sarcasm, and negativity that distance me from others, so I can be a better wife, friend, and ambassador of Christ. I just read Ann Voskamp’s book, and find that thanksgiving is the way out. When my heart is thankful, there is no room for cynicism, just lots of love and trust. I, too, just started my own list of thanksgivings. Good luck with yours, and may our hearts be opened ever further to God’s glory!

  25. Ashley January 18, 2012 at 5:20 am #

    I totally agree with this outlook on life! I, too, stay home with my boys (ages 2 and 6 mths). It has been a blessing to me that God has revealed to me to focus on just a few positive, blessings, in my day to day (or sometimes even hour to hour) to get me into the next. Yesterday I was exhausted due to lack of sleep with my teething baby, but even as we sat up on the couch and he finally fell asleep on my shoulder I peeked down and noticed his rosy, chubby cheeks with white residue from drool and teething tablets. It melted my heart and kept me going until God revealed to me another “treasure” moment… Thank you for your blog! May God continue to shower you and your family with many treasures!

  26. Amy January 18, 2012 at 5:06 am #

    Oh!! what timing! 1) I was curious as to why you were listing things that you were grateful for and 2) God has been opening my eyes to see how selfish and completely UNGRATEFUL I am…”Part of me thinks…wow! 1000 things, uh, that seems like a lot…..”` But, my spirit is also reminding me of how many things I have to be thankful for. I would love to take your challenge…perhaps it will help me to keep up on my girlie’s blog too:o)

  27. Alyssa Faith January 18, 2012 at 4:45 am #

    Your thoughts reminded me of the passage in Romans 1 in which Paul is describing the UNthankfulness of the depraved world who has turned from God – “…what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or GIVE THANKS to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened…”
    Inversely, those who are redeemed do GIVE THANKS and their thinking becomes rich (rather than futile) and their hearts enlightened (rather than darkened) by glorifying God for the things he has made and given to them. Thanks for sharing this encouragement. Now to put it into practice!

  28. LindseyMarie January 18, 2012 at 4:41 am #

    This is so wonderful. I’m starting my journey to 1000 today. Thank you for your inspiring words.

  29. Leslie January 18, 2012 at 4:33 am #

    What a lovely message. Thank you for this perfectly timed piece, such wisdom. You have opened my eyes and heart. Thank you and blessings to you.

  30. Heather January 18, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    What a lovely idea! I just bought myself a gratitude journal…well a journal that I have now named the gratitude journal. Making it a habit to write down the blessings is the hard part for me. Between running around after my two littles and the duties of being a stay at home mama, I sometimes forget to actually get it down on paper. I am trying to be better about it though, and working on making it a before bed habit. Good luck on your goal of 2000!!!

  31. Rebekah January 18, 2012 at 3:17 am #

    I loved this. I, too, tend naturally towards pessimism and discouraged introspection… feeling condemned for my sin and failures. It’s so good to consciously remove my eyes from myself, and place them on our good, kind God! I think I need to buy that book. :)

  32. Emily January 18, 2012 at 1:12 am #

    Beautiful. May we all revel in the small and bountiful pleasures that surround us.
    Thank you for the reminder