Outside my window, fat and fluffy snowflakes drift lazily down. Shimmering icicles adorn my eaves. Children's art is strewn across my kitchen table, still more covers every inch of a bulletin board. As I type, soft splashes sound from the kitchen as my youngest attempts to wash dishes. There is much beauty, much to be thankful for.
Yet my eyes are often closed to the beauty around me. Instead of priceless art, I see more paper to clutter up my already messy house. Instead of fragile beauty in snowflakes and ice, I see danger, cold, and nuisance. The child washing dishes could easily bring frustration as I know soaking of the floor, counter and the dishwasher himself will result. In so much of life it is easier to see the brokenness than to see the beauty. This is especially true during this season of personal winter. I doubt God, doubt His sovereignty, question His goodness and run from His plan. Others around me point out the beauty in this season, but often my eyes are too clouded over with pain to take note.
At the end of last year, I read several posts wherein people were naming the year. After reading, I pondered and a word jumped into my head. But I am cautious now, not sure that I truly can hear from God, so I played it safe. Without telling my husband my word, I filled him in and then asked if he had any ideas. Without hesitation, he responded with the same word I had chosen.
It would be tempting to decide that this was a sign from God that the broken relationships in my life will be restored this year. Neither Steve nor I think that is quite it. Instead, I see this as a year of personal restoration, a restoring of the years the locusts have eaten. There has been much darkness, much hurt in this life of mine. I have deep questions that spring from that pain, deep doubts about God. Depression and anxiety have stolen much from me. For 2011, we claim restoration in those areas of pain, doubt, depression and anxiety.
Restoration does not occur on its own. This will be a process, a journey and one that involves work. To begin with, I have decided to join Ann's gratitude community. Pain is blinding. Hurt closes my eyes to the beauty around me, to God's glorious workings. But when I begin to count, the blessings just keep adding up. Suddenly my focus shifts from the broken to the beautiful. Both surround me, it's my choice in how I see it. So here I am, taking a new step towards restoration and trust.
My thousand gifts:
1. My wonderful husband who got up with the sicky all night long.
2. The sick child who is blessing me with her presence today.
3. Tender words of apology, forgiveness and the ever important reconciliation hug and kiss.
4. Rice and applesauce for tender tummies.
5. Leftover rice that turns into yummy, delicious rice pudding.
6. No guilt in eating all the rice pudding before Steve gets home because he doesn't like it.
7. Rescuing the items close to the heater before they caught on fire. (THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, GOD!!!!!)
8. The beautiful artwork adorning my bulletin board.
9. Original cards that my mother makes celebrating each of us.
10. The card my dad wrote to my husband thanking him for his steadfastness and love for us. *tear*
11. My husband and family that support me as I become a doula.
12. Family that prays.
13. Little Big Planet
14. Shelves filled with books that line my bedroom and
15. gorgeous photos on the wall that my husband took
16. His many skills that extend from photography to computers to handymanery.
17. Family and friends that brought meals when my arm was broken.
18. Neighbours that walked my children to and from school.
19. An arm that is almost completely healed!
20. The little blond boy who is using a cracker sleeve as a sock puppet.
Now that I've started, it is so hard to stop! I am so thankful for this ever-abundant supply of blessings.