“It’s only when you live the prayer of thanksgiving that
you live the power of trusting God.”
—Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
Happy New Year! I gotta tell you that I just LOVE January and would venture to say it is one of my favorite months in the year. I mean, who doesn’t love new beginnings, fresh starts, plans to improve and fervent hopes to draw closer to God? A fresh, new page in our journals where we can learn to trust Him more than ever before. I kind of see it like packing away the hurts and disappointments of 2011 along with the Christmas decorations for a house stripped bare of twinkle lights and greenery. I don’t know about you, but whenever all decorations are down and put away and I vacuum, I step back and smile with a sigh of contentment because I see a simpler, cleaner, less cluttered house than before. Just like I long for my life to be. And my New Year’s resolutions!
Yes, I would like to lose that five pounds I put on and yes, I want to get back on the treadmill five days a week, but the truth is I don’t want to clutter up my January with resolutions I may or may not keep. I would much rather choose just one that I give my heart and soul to, so this year I am devoting myself to trusting God more.
Now, how do I propose to do that? Well, I am reading one of the most phenomenal books right now called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, a New York Times bestseller from Zondervan that is billed as “a dare to live fully right where you are” through the power of thanksgiving (http://onethousandgifts.com/). Suffice it to say that this poor, little book is littered with ink from where I’ve underlined sentence after sentence—or maybe I should say revelation after revelation—that speak to my heart. Since I am a dyed-in-the-wool fiction reader, the only way I can read non-fiction books is by using them as part of my morning devotional along with my Bible reading and worship, so that’s what I do and it has been a total blessing.
Anyway, one of the sentences I underlined this morning was “Thanks is what builds trust,” and I blinked, realizing that it’s true. You see, I have this habit of writing Scriptures I love down on index cards and using them as bookmarks in my Bible and various other devotional books. One of my favorites is Hebrews ll:6 which says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
Now, I know this is going to sound silly, but whenever I pray this Scripture, I ALWAYS close my eyes right after the phrase “believes that He exists” to test in my mind’s eye whether I really do or not, and the same thing always happens every single time. It’s like my life suddenly flashes before me with bullet-fire memories of all of God’s blessings, and my eyes immediately prick with tears and my heart pulses with passion. Because I DO believe that He exists and all I have to do is remember the countless blessings He’s given me over the years, and faith swells in my heart anew.
Ann Voskamp believes that is the reason the Israelites kept recording their past, so they could trust God for their future. She says, “remembering is an act of thanksgiving … this turn of the heart over time’s shoulder to see all the long way His arms have carried” us. I couldn’t agree more.
So my one and only resolution this year is to remember all of God’s blessings on a daily basis and to thank Him for those and those yet to come because as Ann Voskamp so beautifully points out, “remembering with thanks is what causes us to trust—to really believe … and it’s only when you live the prayer of thanksgiving that you live the power of trusting God.” And as God’s Word says in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
I don’t know about you, but I want “straight paths” that lead to the will of God because as Katie O’Connor learns from her sister, Faith, in A Heart Revealed: His will is … the path to our highest pleasure.
Here’s to straight paths in 2012 that lead each of us to His peace, His joy and His amazing presence.