Thanksgiving Always Precedes A Miracle
Kevin & I + baby have been in South Africa for 21 days, and I'd say the biggest lesson I'm learning is gratitude/thanksgiving builds trust in the Creator.
When I arrived in South Africa, I started reading, "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. Her writing is a bit over the top... a bit dramatic for my taste. There are moments when I actually need to put the book down because of her writing. HOWEVER, the truth she writes about from her own discovery of thankfulness is blowing my mind.
In the midst of re-rooting a family to a new country, searching for housing, believing God for a car, finding medical care to deliver our baby and figuring out how to pay for said baby, it is easy to fall into stress and worry. But stress stands in direct opposition to what He directly commands in John 14:1, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me."
"If authentic, saving belief is the act of trusting, then to choose stress is an act of disbelief... atheism. Anything less than gratitude and trust is practical atheism." - Ann Voskamp
Last week, I nearly had a nervous breakdown. Just being real. Giving birth to your first kid is all about the unknown. Especially in a new country. And the unknown began to overwhelm me where I started crying uncontrollably. It felt too much. Not knowing anything about delivery, not having a midwife/doctor, not knowing where I'd deliver hospital/home, how we will pay for the delivery, etc. It all felt too much and I couldn't take it anymore. After minutes of crying Kevin prayed for me and I started to calm down.
Kevin refers to the night as "our trip to crazy town."
But now I see such sin in the way I choose to respond to stress.
Mark 16:16, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
So how do I move from my sinful worry state?
"And gratitude lays out the planks to trust." - Ann Voskamp
It might be why the Israelites kept recounting their past - to trust God for their future.
So I give thanks.
I notice the little gifts God gives throughout my days.
I started my list of 1,000 gifts.
And my gratitude is turning into trust.
Trust in what is unseen, not what is seen.
And it makes this transition to a re-rooted life much easier because I no longer need to control, but I trust my Creator to take control and lead my family.
Here is the start to my 1,000 God-Gift List:
1. Shadows on the wall - an outline to reality
2. God's voice in my ear
3. Sand between my toes
4. Wind off the sea
5. Child's laughter
7. The kick of my boy in my belly
9. Creative outlets
10. My husband's sweet, gentle touch
11. Spontaneous dinner with friends
12. Laughing hysterically with my husband
13. Sipping tea in the early morning
14. A good book
15. The smell of baking in the oven
16. Car rides with the windows down and wind in my hair
17. Watching Cambria create
18. Sincere worship by Pi at Silver Palms
19. Long emails from friends
20. Used paintbrushes
2-3 grateful items a day, and my list of 1,000 gratitude gifts will be done in a single year