Praise God!

This summer, we taught the kids about King David. We told them about how David praised God for everything! We use his psalms in our prayers every day, he was the most prolific praise-writer ever! And, to make it camp and fun, we pulled in a skit and challenged the kids to act like David– throw their hands up in the air and yell, “PRAISE GOD!” whenever they were thankful for something. After the first week, it was something the staff started doing without thinking. We just praised God for every breeze in the hot Texas sun, every moment of affirmation from our kids, every night that we went to bed exhausted, every meal, every shower, everything! It became more of an exhalation than a thought. It was our attitude and our way of life.

Thanksgiving is an awesome opportunity to think about gratitude. Am I only thankful on this day for all my many blessings? Or am I thankful EVERY day? Am I thankful with every breath of every moment of every day? Is it my attitude, or a special occasion?

I am so thankful for so many things. I am thankful for friends that are more like family, for a “sister” and “brother-in-law” that care more about me than my own blood relatives. I am thankful for a family that provides for me and loves me as a family is supposed to, and I’m also thankful that they are a challenge to me to live my life for ME by living my life for Christ. I learn my own flaws and weaknesses from those who are closest to me.

I am so thankful for the friends that led me closer to Christ this summer. I am beyond words of gratitude for the ways that God worked through them and in me during my ministry this summer. I had never experienced community or unconditional love like that before, and the Holy Spirit truly blessed me. I am so thankful that God’s grace brought me into this world a Catholic, and that the Father’s love has assured me of the Truth and Beauty of the Church. And I am thankful every day that it doesn’t matter what else I might be grateful for, because God’s fatherly love, limitless mercy, and Jesus’ life and death and resurrection is enough for me.

I am thankful for the laughter of a small child, the breeze blowing through my hair, strumming on a guitar, my head hitting the pillow at night, and the feeling of security in the walls of my home. I am grateful for sporadic kindness, the opportunities I have to be more childlike by being with children, and for social networks that ensure I never really have to “miss” anyone. I’m thankful that I’m not stuck working like I was last year, and that I don’t have to go home to an empty apartment this holiday. I praise God for all the ways he has provided for my material needs, the ways He has molded my heart, and the opportunities He gives me to respond to His love by giving it to others. And I am thankful that He smiles down with a true paternal compassion every time I fail to do so.

I know I have too much to be grateful for… and I’m thankful that I have been given the grace to know how blessed I am. “Praise God!!” and Happy Thanksgiving!

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