Begin With Thankfulness

It was the day that three strangers spoke encouraging words into my heart that I decided I wanted others to receive that same gift. Their gentle and warm nudges spoke so much encouragement into my tired and weary heart. It forever changed me and it didn’t take long before I had a desire for my husband to receive that same type of encouragement. I spent a few weeks longing for my husband to have that same experience and I was frustrated that others were not providing that for him.

I soon realized that it was ME that needed to take action rather than waste time in complaint.

The problem is, I had no idea how to pray and hear from the Lord. Yes I could pinpoint dozens of times when I saw God moving in my life and even nudging me to do things. But to sit down and actually pray for someone and seek to hear the Lord was completely different and foreign to me.

I was terrified.

We were in a season of our 3 year old getting out of bed after we laid him down for bed each night. I would sit ouside his door for about 20 minutes and take him back to bed multiple times until this transition and routine was set. I decided that every night as I sat outside of my 3 year old’s bedroom, I would utilize this alone time to pray for my husband. It was challenging for me, and I had to practice understanding how to hear His voice as well as having the Faith that I could actually hear the God of the universe.

In that season, I realized that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17). If my intentions to pray for my husband were pure and full of love, then the words of encouragement and affirmation were good and perfect gifts.

My Father did not need me to be perfect, He only needed my heart.

He would use my willingness and desire to please Him through loving my husband. That understanding grew my ability to hang onto Faith the size of a mustard seed; Faith that I could pray and hear affirming words from the Lord to share with my husband.

Faith in my ability to hear encouraging words from the Father grew as I began to act out my new knowledge of the verse in James 1:17. If every good and perfect gift is from above, then I wanted to start taking notice of everything around me that was good.

My mind began to shift to an act of thankfulness in every moment of life.

My posture changed to a heart of gratitude for everything that was good. If someone unexpectedly paid for my coffee at Starbucks, I would whisper to myself, “Thank you God”. When I’m running late to an appointment and the traffic light turned green, “Thank you God”. There were always those tiring days when I didn’t know what to cook for dinner and I had not been to the grocery store. Yet I would open the freezer and oftentimes receive a quick thought about what items to use to create a quick and tireless meal. “Thank you God”.

I began to realize that there are so many things in my life that are good, and they all came from my Father. The more I took notice, the better I could sense His presence. As I postured my heart to thank Him for daily provisions, my mind began to grow in understanding just how good He is. As I pondered all the goodness that He continually pours out into my life, I began to grow in my ability to hear His heart towards me and those around me.

Begin with thankfulness.

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