By my bed sits my little book of gifts. When I decided to jump in and take Ann Voskamp's challenge to come up with 1000 gifts of my own, I wanted to see if her way of seeing through the world through small pieces of God's grace could really make a difference. So I found the perfect size notepad with pretty pink flowers covering it and wrote down my first gift.
1. clean white sheets to rest my very tired body
When I wrote my first gift I was in a season of months on months of very little sleep, a needy baby boy, a new business, and a roofing project going on around me. I was so very tired in every way and the first gift I saw was my bed, to no one's surprise, and the crisp white summer bedding that waited for me at the end of every day. As my days let up, my gifts began to come more and more as I ran my pen across my paper and started to see...started to hear...started to feel. By the time I wrote down my 100th gift, I knew this gift numbering thing was slowly changing my heart.
100. breath of fresh air
101. swinging on a front porch
102. toes in the water
103. breeze through the windows
104. warm homemade bread with melted peanut butter
105. baby's head on my shoulder
As my gifts started to pile up, my eyes began to see the everyday pieces of God's grace all around me. Once I found myself in the 2 and 3 hundred's, I was becoming very aware of what God gives us everyday and how I was living letting it all go unnoticed most days. Rush here, do this, be there, make that, get this, go....go...go. The pattern in my life had me worn thin and the only thing saving it was the new time God carved away for me after months of long days and this little list that was helping me recognize the beauty all around me...his grace.
I began to have a patient heart as I walked through my days to stop and really know God was with me. I could feel him in the sunshine against my face on a warm day and the touch of my baby's hands wrapped around mine as he learned to walk and the sway of that old swing on our back porch as I closed up many summer nights with my biggest boys and the sip of hot flavored coffee on my lips. These things that seem like everyday occurrences are really second chances...over and over again, day after day, God gives me many little pieces of His grace to embrace and my heart is filled with his joy.
My heart has found a place of stability as I keep penning away my gifts of grace... But as I watch around me, I wonder if I would stay in this place of grace gift searching and seeing if my life suddenly fell apart. Sure money is tight and I've been throwing up while my baby grows inside of me and we have crappy insurance, but my life is good. It is blessed. The gifts I count keep getting put down each night before bed and I am thankful here.
I drove home from the doctor's office the other day and out my window were pink ribbons tied to trees alongside the very church where my dear friend stood and said goodbye to her baby boy almost 3 years ago. Only in that church today stands another mother who is saying goodbye to her very own sweet young girl and the pink ribbons have me thinking about her, and my friend, and the hearts of those who have truly felt loss. How do they see God's gifts when the very gifts that came from their bodies are passed on way too early? I stand in awe at the faith I see them living out as they walk this life with less of who they created.
303. time to see
304. a mothers love
307. a mothers trust
311. a mothers surrender
316. a mothers grace
I see these mothers and they are being used by God, surely they are. In my time of blurry vision I found this list making of 1000 gifts to help me lift the fog and see the gifts around me. I am finding through their faith in what has and is happening in their life, that my own is being taught to keep seeing and believing and trust that God gives grace through all things. The mothers who have felt loss deep in their guts are standing tall as they lean on their Savior to help them step into their days filled with little pieces of God's grace. They do not go unnoticed and the grace they are leading their life with speak volumes to me as I have been searching for the little pieces of God's touch through out my every day life. These mothers who have stood in the same church and shed similar tears and said goodbye way too early to the ones they've shared a heartbeat with are some of the biggest vision of God's grace that I have found... grieving mothers willing to stay true to the one who gives and takes away...and still walks away saying, Blessed be Thy Name.
My book is filling up with the wonders of God's second chances that are all around me. But watching these mothers is filling my heart with truth that even in the deepest places, you can feel God's grace. Even when you have no daily list of all the precious gifts you've seen or felt, the heart can be filled just knowing the Deliverer of second chances. And some days that is the only thing I need to write down for the day...
325. I know Him. Blessed be They Name.