As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him--you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2: 4-5

Sunday, October 9, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

Have you heard of or read this book?  I had seen mention of it on countless blogs, but really had not given much notice to it.  I thought to myself, "I've done this before."  You know, Oprah's gratitude journal.  Which I kept for about as long as I do any journal--until the need for sleep eclipsed the need to write.  I noticed friends posting #207, #334, and #78, followed by things that they were thankful for--some unique, some interesting, some touching, some banal. But it's never been something I really wanted to do.  Until now.

What happened to change my mind?  Friday did. (Warning: what I'm about to tell you will probably convince you that I am a complete and utter mental case.)  As I was walking through the lunchroom, I thought about dinner the night before.  How Sarah had made the entire dinner herself.  How self-sufficient she was.  And then.  The morbid thought crept into my mind--if something happened to me, then she could take care of Daryl and the little ones.  All of the sudden, what I later identified as a panic attack, began.  I spent an agonizing 8 hours in the midst of a panic attack, trying to teach and pretend to all of the outward world that nothing was wrong.  Eight hours of convincing myself that I was having a stroke, a heart attack, a brain tumor.  That I was going to die and leave my kids motherless. (Wacko, right?  I KNOW!) Finally, at the end of the day, I got the courage up to go and get my blood pressure taken by the school nurse.  It was a little high.  Not stroke high, but definitely higher than it should be on medication.  I was crushed. Angry even.   I'd lost 90 pounds since my first diagnosis.  Started running 30 minutes a day.  Cut out most bad foods.  And still?

So I came home and did what most neurotic hypochondriacs do.  I consulted Dr. Google.  Typed in my symptoms and watched as time after time, no matter how I typed them in, the first five results were anxiety related.  Sigh.  Why?  Why now?  Why still?  Why couldn't I get control of this?

Dejected, disappointed, and ashamed, I lay on the couch and surfed the web.  And everywhere I clicked, it seemed as if mention of this book appeared.  So I went to the website and spent two hours reading.  Read the first chapter online, then found excerpts from the other chapters here and there.  And there it was in front of me--me.

How often am I too consumed in the "grubbiness" and chaos of my everyday life to stop and appreciate all of the amazing gifts that God has given me.  How often do I tell God, "It's not good enough."  "No, God."  "Not Your way, but mine?"  How long had I lived a life full of frustration and fear because of my desire to be more, have more, be in control?  And all the time, God had been giving me exactly what I needed at that very moment.  The hard times, the good times, and yes, even the messy times.

So it is, with a humble heart and great transparency that I begin my list, my one thousand gifts, and share it with you.  And hopefully, through this journey, I will learn to live fully in the chaos instead of wishing it different, and wake up to see all the ways that God shows me His amazing love.

 1. Daryl

2. Hannah

3. Sarah

4. Madeline

5. Josh

6. Charlotte

7. Little girl who never stops talking, revealing all that is in her heart and head

8. Being able to run.  I've wanted to be a runner all of my life, but have always been too fat, too lazy, or too out of shape (and usually all at the same time)

9. Becoming healthy

10. This panic disorder, that hides at times, and then emerges when I need to remember that it is all HIS doing

11. Josh being home

12. A phone call with my mom

13. A reunion with an old friend

14. Having Daryl home on a Saturday

15. A Saturday with nothing to do out of the house

16. A good night’s sleep

17. Hannah’s unabashed, unembarrassed love of the Lord and her unwavering belief in His goodness

18. Not being “obese” any more

19. 90 day supplies of my meds so I don’t have to worry about getting more during this rough financial time

20. Sarah working so hard to do well on her Socratic seminar

21. The confidence of Sarah and Josh

22. Time to do laundry

23. Marriage to my best friend

24. A laptop

25. Josh being at Toccoa Falls, and thriving

26. Daryl’s letter to Michael—a chance for me to see into his heart and his head, a chance I so rarely get

27. Daryl’s work—I miss him. I wish he was home. But it gives us the extra money that we so desperately need.

28. Charlotte’s head on my shoulder after nap time

29. A message at church so timely

30. Mrs. Conkle’s cookies—and the willpower to eat just one

31. The sound of Josh playing guitar in his room

32. All of my family home at the same time

33. The girls doing children’s church-that they are willing, and that they are spiritually and emotionally mature enough to work together to share the Word

34. Sarah singing in church

35. An unexpected break from AWANA’s

36. Clean, folded laundry

37. Finding a new way to cook fish every Sunday, so that everyone will like it and want to eat it.  I'm finding I like to cook, and that  something I make can actually taste good!


  1. *hugs*

    So proud of you for taking this step...
    It is amazing what He will do when you start giving Him the credit that He deserves for everything that He gives us!!!

    Beautiful list!!

    Be sure to check out Ann's blog (www.aholyexperience) tomorrow and look around at all of the other people (usually well over a hundred) that link-up that are on their thankfulness journey... it is SO inspiring!!

  2. I love, love the picture in your header!
    And I love wonderful posts like this one. Very transparent! I know you have a thousand, even more, gifts to be thankful for. May you see them all...

  3. What a start to your list! Congrats on the beginning of the multitudes! (Stopping by from Ann's)