"I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for the love of family and friends."
It's my Facebook status, and it makes me smile. Overwhelmed was my defining word for decades.
Overwhelmed with laundry, kids, homeschooling, marriage, emotions that felt out of control, to-do lists, fear. Always overwhelmed.
I got sick of hearing the word come out of my mouth, but it was the only one that was sufficient to express the almost constant state of my drowning soul.
Yesterday was my forty-fifth birthday, and Jeff asked me how forty-five felt.
"I'm overwhelmed . . with the love of our family, God's grace and goodness, you. It's better than I ever dreamed it would be. I'm so grateful."
Another popular Facebook status this month says: It is not happy people that are thankful. It is thankful people that are happy.
My transition from overwhelmed with life to overwhelmed with love isn't coincidence. I discovered intentional thanks-giving four years ago, and it has changed my life.
For sure, there are still plenty of challenges, strong emotions, kid stuff, to-do lists, and laundry. But they don't eat my lunch like they used to, because the act of thanks-giving puts and keeps them in perspective.
In the midst of a heartbreaking loss, there's the love of family gathered around.
On the days when there's so much to do I don't know where to start, there's a sense of gratitude for a full life.
When my "want to" has gone AWOL, there's the awareness of productive days past and the peace and confidence to stop and rest.
Living life with my eyes wide open
to a God who is
personal, present, and participating
Here's some of what I've seen this week . . .
~ this clear, cold, 21 degree, quiet morning
~ my birthday gift made by my daughter-in-love
~ another birthday gift made by my girl
~ the precious gift of her heart in words
~ whooping up on everyone in cards ;)
~ finding an old gift from my girl
~ precious words penned by Josh fifteen years ago . . "The day I accepted Jesus into my heart was a very important day because on that day I was saved from my sins."
~ the peace in his eyes fifteen years later
~ overwhelmed with gratitude for the love of family and friends as I relive this day through photos
How has His love overwhelmed you? What are you thankful for today?
As we give thanks for all His gifts, our hearts are prepared to celebrate The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Jesus. I'm so excited to read this daily devotional beginning December 1. We will be discussing it at Winsome Reads, a Facebook book club. Join us?!
I'm giving away a copy of The Greatest Gift!
The giveaway will be open through Sunday at midnight, and I will announce the winner on Monday. Enter below!
We're celebrating Thirty Days of Thanks by focusing on gratitude here for the month of November. Join us every day or any day by posting your thanks-givings in the comments, at Winsome Woman on Facebook, and/or on your own FB wall!
Labels: Thanks-Giving Stories, Thirty Days