Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Pursuit of Thankfulness

It’s been year since I posted on this blog. It’s good to be back and in the swing of things again. The past twelve months have been filled with some pretty huge changes for our family.

Our oldest graduated high school in Kenya, then started University in the US. Our youngest started high school. Two of our three kids learned to drive. We spent almost six months in the States on a sabbatical that didn’t turn out to be as restful as we hoped. Then just over a week ago, we left our oldest in the US to fly back to Africa, leaving our youngest at boarding school on the way.

It’s been pretty emotional for me as I learn to adjust to a mostly empty nest while I miss the boys, but God showed me something profound—at least for me—recently. He showed me that he wants me to have a heart of thankfulness, even when things get tough.

Usually when January first comes around, I pray that God will give me a word or a theme for the year. This year, God has reminded me of how much I have to be thankful for in spite of the loss that comes with an empty nest and other changes we’ve been through. My boys might be far from home, but they both love their schools. My daughter’s still at home which means I get at least another year with her before she graduates. We just moved into a new house and despite the fact that we don’t have stable electricity at the moment, I’m thankful to be able to spend the night in the same bed every night again.

So this year, I’ve decided that I’m going to write down the things I’m thankful for through, then read through them at the end of the year as a reminder of how good God has been. Because He is faithful, no matter what season of life we’re going through.

What about you? Do you ever get too busy with life to remember the blessings? What ways have you found to purposefully thank God for His love and grace?

Praying a blessed 2016 for each one of you!

Lisa Harris

17 comments:

  1. That's a lot of change, Lisa! My kids are in elementary school, and it's hard to imagine life without them at home. It's easy to think of blessings as prosperity and to feel a bit "left behind." But when I remember that true blessing is the happiness that comes from peace with God, all's well :) Have a great 2016! Enjoy your time with your "little" girl.

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  2. Love your comment, Patricia. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  3. Hi Lisa, it's easy to go through our days asking and asking God but forgetting to thank Him for everything He gives us. Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts had an impact on me a few years ago helping me to begin being more grateful and I did actually go through the exercise of journalling things I was thankful for each day. In recent times, Sara Hagerty has a monthly "Adoration" journal with a verse for everyday of the month focusing on some aspect of God's character. I've enjoyed using this at the start of each day as it takes me into a time of thanks and praise. The psalms are also a great source for stimulating thanks as well.

    Wishing you a lovely last year with your girl. Standing with you and your hubby in prayer for the year ahead.

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    1. Appreciate your insight Ian. I really do need to read Ann Voskamp's 1000 gifts. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  4. Wow, that's a lot of adjustment, Lisa. Praying that you will rely on God through your days and be able to sustain the thankfulness. It's usually self-propogating! Thanks for your reminder to be thankful. I think of sunsets and stars and every breath I take, and the fact that God loves my kids even more than I do. Blessings to you.

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    1. You're so right, Janice, that thankfulness can be found in the small things around us God created!!

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  5. You have been through a huge amount of change Lisa. I can't begin to imagine what adjustment you face purely on a geographical level. From the shops of the US to the poverty of Zambia. From the cold of the US to the terrible heat Africa is experiencing right now. As for the empty nest, how hard to have to leave the boys on the other side of the world! Blessings my friend.

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    1. Thanks, Shirl. . .I'm definitely feeling the heat, but thankful for the breeze. :-)

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  6. You have been through a huge amount of change Lisa. I can't begin to imagine what adjustment you face purely on a geographical level. From the shops of the US to the poverty of Zambia. From the cold of the US to the terrible heat Africa is experiencing right now. As for the empty nest, how hard to have to leave the boys on the other side of the world! Blessings my friend.

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  7. Good to see you back again, Lisa. Shared this on FB, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google. Hugs.

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  8. Hi Lisa, It's great to have you back on the blog. :) I hope you settle in quickly in your new home. Praying this year will be easier for you. Take care xox

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    1. Thanks, Narelle, I'm expecting a quiet year anyway!!

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  9. Welcome back, Lisa :) That has been a big year for you! I definitely try to focus on things that I'm thankful for. Today, I'll start with stable electricity!

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    1. Yes, you definitely realize how much you appreciate something when you don't have it. LOL

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  10. Sorry your sabatical was not as restful as you had hoped. It sounds like you are returning with the right attitude. I loved Ann Voskamp's book. Even before that a friend started me using a "Blessing Book." I keep a pretty blank book by my bedside to write down at least one thing every day. It is very rewarding to look back over past entries. (I start a new page each month so I have some idea of when it was that I was thankful for that particular thing.)

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    1. Love your ideas, LeAnne. Thanks for sharing!

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