I had been walking with the Lord for years when my life hit a wall several years ago. Due to very difficult circumstances and sin, both my own and others, I came to a place that felt far from the Lord. In that season I realized that many of the truths I had known and even taught others, were good and true but not abiding in me. When things shifted in my life the reality of my desperate need for grace practices came to the forefront.
Over the course of the years that passed as I came out of that dark season, the Lord taught me some defining grace practices that have changed my life, my thinking and my actions. They have opened my eyes to increased intimacy with the One who never really was far from me.
These practices are grace practices because they are not about a to-do list or a legalistic approach to life. Having always been a relatively “good” girl, I realized that I was exhausted of being good for good sake. My motives were wrong and I needed real grace. When I walked through that sinful, dark season these grace practices became my lifeline. These tools the Lord taught me to incorporate were simple and effective for growing in intimacy with Him and filling my empty soul with life and light. I no longer was doing what appeared good but I was responding from a place of grace and filling. There is a huge difference.
One of these life-giving practices is gratitude. This requires taking notice of our day, of our gifts, and noting them with thanksgiving towards the One who gives all that is good and perfect. He gives us grace upon grace, according to John 1:16. So why not take notice of this? And like grateful children, give Him thanks for it.
In her book, Praying the Names of Jesus, Ann Spangler points out how the more her friend began to express thanksgiving to God the more she found to be thankful for. She says,
“It’s like that with most of us. We long for the tangible evidence of God’s love but we fail to see it, in part because we have not learned to be thankful. It’s not just that God likes to be thanked. It’s that we need to thank Him. Expressing gratitude is like holding a little celebration in God’s honor.”
What if our day was marked by celebrations of God?
When my boys were young, I would take them on nature walks to look for flowers, caterpillars, sunsets, clouds, trees. And in the midst of finding one of these little treasures and observing the uniqueness of its creation and the beauty it held, we would clap for the One who made it. We would pause right there on that sidewalk and put our hands together clasping for God.
I have been known to pull the car over in the fall to clap for the way God made a tree turn a brilliant red. I have encouraged my sons to do likewise and as they got older and felt it a silly practice I would say, “Can you do that to the tree? Can you paint that sunset? Can you make that flower bloom like that? NO? Then get your hands together for the One who can and did! He is worthy!”
They now know better than to argue the point, cause we ain’t moving from here until God gets a celebration!
That sweet practice was re-sparked in my soul as I began to walk from my sifting season. I often find myself clapping for God when I see something amazing, or He does something only He could’ve done. But I also daily practice writing down the list of these marvels. I want to remember His generous gifts and in turn it reminds me to thank Him for them and to see more of them.
Get to know the One you are celebrating by spending time in His Word. Drop your email below and I will send you my simple, effective tool for Bible study!
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