This last week, I finally reached the blessing of being thirty years old! And in light of this gift of continued life by the grace of my Father in heaven, I wanted to highlight thirty things for which I am extremely thankful. I’m humbled to be given the gift of life, thirty whole years of breathing oxygen thus far, and especially to have the gift of a redeemed life by grace… and just want to share (in purposefully random order) some specific thankfulnesses with you.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.
1. The one husband God has given me makes me dizzy with thankfulness—each day with him is a cause for praise. That I get to fall asleep in his embrace, cry on his chest, laugh in harmony with him, be the one he comes home to every night, gaze at his handsome profile across the table as he interacts with our children. That we create memories together, that we fill in gaps for one another, that we sharpen one another in our unity and diversity, that we serve the same God and build the same Kingdom, that my people are his people, that his family is now mine too, that our families melded into one. That his red hair complexion and his love of the psalmist David are what first drew me in, and are still two of the things that continue to draw me deeper every day.
2. Grace. The incredible, indelible grace of God, and how He graciously gives me so much of it that I simply want to let grace pour off of me and onto others around me. That I don’t have to understand it to receive it. That I don’t have to recreate it in order to reproduce it and regift it—because I can’t.
3. The written word, and the ability to write words with simple little taps of my fingers (talk about a grace). I don’t know what I would do without written words—I’m so thankful for written words.
4. My daily toil. The fact that I am called to daily toil. The specific daily toil God has put before me. The repetitive nature of that daily toil. How I get to improve on the same little tasks all the time. The way I get to try out new things all the time. That my toil involves making beauty, making messes, making chaos and making order in turn, making new things old and old things new. That it is for glory and because of glory. That it is good toil. That it aids generations—both the ones that eat its fruit now, and those that will glean from its dropped fruit in the future.
5. Windows, both physical and metaphorical. For my eyes to see that the world is much bigger than I regularly remember. For the sun to stream in. For dimply little faces to press against, peer through, cover with mouthmarks and fingerprints.
6. Theology (particularly right theology, hah!). That it helps me understand God and Scripture. That there is always more to glean. That it challenges me—that it makes me think, makes me need to know, makes me want to grow. That it shows me Gospel and grace. That it shapes me, that I cannot shape it.
7. My musical instruments—the one that I frequently play and the ones I desire to play more frequently. I am thankful for these things, made from wood, metal, gut—touched, plucked, thumped, fingered by me—full of vibrations, air, movement. That sound gets from these things into our ears—that these sounds reach my soul in ways not much else does. That the layer of dust on these musical instruments has not ruined that magic. That I can work harder, day by day, on including more music in my daily toil. And that if it doesn’t happen, there’s grace for that too.
8. Dates with my husby. Whether at home or out on the town, spur of the moment or planned in advance. Nightly connecting through conversation, weekly cheese & wine dates, occasional family dates on a weekend, the gift of “just us” dates for shopping or coffee or calendar-planning. I am thankful for time spent together (which is really the only qualifier to us as far as “date” goes), and thankful that we’re only 6 ½ years into the married lane—that means we, God willing, have many more dates ahead of us than behind us!
9. Water. What a gift—and what a picture, too.
10. The blessing of life, and that not only have I been given that gift myself but I have been given the gift of interacting with other lives—sharing life together with other lives—family, and friends who are as dear as family. The incredible fact that lives have even been made, created, formed, grown inside of my own body. The challenge of life, and how it reminds me that I need that Creator to continue creating and sustaining—because I’m just dust, and we know what happens when dust is left to itself. (Really—just look at my piano.)
11. My eleven children—they are such a unique blessing to me, and I am so thankful for each one of them. I never knew I wanted to be a mommy to eleven children… and if I’m honest, there is a big part of me that still doesn’t know I want that. But I am thankful for each child God has given to me. I’m so thankful to know that life in eternity is going to be so much bigger than life here on earth—each of these children has a calling, a purpose, a place in the history of God’s world and universe and plan. I am thankful that He chose to use my humble womb to add to His Kingdom. I didn’t know before just exactly what an incredible mercy that is—and I still can’t put it into words. I still can’t believe I have eleven children.
12. The internet. But you can’t blame me for this one, because without it, I would not have met my husband—and that is a slippery slope to all kinds of horrible “would not have beens” that are the makings of nightmares. Plus, in the wake of grief, the Christian community God has given me via the internet has been an incredible grace. And then there’s always the perk of quick communication, and easy access to… well… just about anything in the world.
13. Crying. I am thankful for tears, and the strange gift of crying them.
14. The Psalms—reading them, singing them, praying them, writing them out, memorizing them, reciting them. So much found in the Psalter resonates with me, and I am so thankful that God in His sovereign grace gave us those 150 chapters to cling to as we walk through life and face so many of the emotions and scenarios that are addressed therein. The Psalms really remind me that Scripture is for me.
15. Food—cooking, baking, eating together, watching Food Network shows, its smells, its tastes, its allegories, its chemistry, its artistry—and how it reminds me of my mother.
16. Hot coffee, especially when it is creamy and frothy with sweetness and milkiness.
17. Wood—its strength, its grain, its versatility, its smell, its many facets, its presence in my home in various manifestations, the metaphors it paints—and how it reminds me of my father.
18. A bedroom that smells of Yankee candles, massage lotion, and freshly showered skin. ‘Nuff said.
19. Fresh bread—making it, smelling it, eating it, slicing it, breaking it together with those I love. What a gift, and what a picture it shows of God’s active grace.
20. I am thankful for Sunday. For worship and the depth and breadth of that, which I cannot fully comprehend. That I get to covenantally ascend into heaven on Sunday and worship with my entire family—that I get to share this not only with my children here but my children there too. For fellowship and the love that oozes from conversations, hugs, candies, handshakes—the passing of the peace and the breaking of bread that flows from the grace and Gospel ridden worship of Christ’s people in the beauty of holiness. For rest in varied forms. For laughter like on no other day of the week. For our family traditions—popcorn, ice cream, and movies with the kids; wine, cheese, and chocolate with my husband—for the way this day of the week embodies and influences our family culture for the other six.
21. Siblings. That word is fat and full to me, and I am thankful for the what, how, and why of that.
22. That in the course of my life I have had the unique privilege of not only knowing all four of my grandparents (and got to meet two of my husband’s grandparents), but also four great-grandparents and one great-great-grandmother—while I do not claim to fully comprehend the multitude of blessings that come from such multigenerational living, I do heartily acknowledge and embrace that there is indeed a multitude of blessings that I continue to reap from having known and loved (and been known and loved by) these ancestors of mine.
23. Living in the country, with trees and mountains, fields and wildlife as my close neighbors. And as the icing on the cake, living here in a house that we designed together and oversaw the building process together, and now consider it our privilege to turn it into our home and family refuge. There is more thankfulness in that than I can describe.
24. Hands. I love hands. I love having hands, holding hands, seeing hands at work, using my hands, massaging with my hands, feeling hands rubbing my neck, helping hands learn new things.
25. Modern medicine. In more ways than I could begin to describe, and for more reasons than you need to know.
26. Wisdom: the pursuit of her, the winning of her, the fruit of her, the love of her, the challenge of her, the Book of Wisdom about her, the fight for her, the desire for her, the receiving of her.
27. I am thankful for gifts. Take that in as many facets as you can conjure—I mean it each way.
28. Two sons and a daughter—here with me today. Their dimples, their laughs, their cries, their creativity, their struggles, their victories, their outfits, their crazy questions, their interactions, their artwork on my fridge, their photos in my albums, their bodies embraced between my arms, their varied redhead shades… I am thankful for everything about these three amazing children. So thankful that I get to be the one who daily participates in how God is shaping them, preparing them, using them, growing the Kingdom by them, and battling the Enemy through them.
29. Memories—they are hard to come by, but impossible to let go. And the scars they leave. I’m thankful for each one, both the bitter and the sweet, that God has engraved into me.
30. For thirty years, my daddy & my mama have been my counselors, and have loved me more than I even know (and I know they love me pretty darn deeply). I’m thankful for their hoary heads, the wisdom they impart, the love they shower, the grace they share, and how they not only keep covenant together so beautifully but encourage us to do the same. I’m thankful they are my parents, my neighbors, my friends.
It is certainly just the tip of the iceberg… but these are the first things that came to mind as I pondered thirty things which fill me with thankfulness. I thank my God and Father in heaven for giving these things to me, for giving me the eyes to see them, for giving me an avenue to share them so that He may be further glorified for His wondrous works. Amen.