Thankful: God’s Extraordinary Blessings In An Ordinary Life…

I am thankful…

for the extra flavor ice cold milk releases in cereal.

for a quiet house after a wonderful day of lively noise with my five boisterous children.

for the rhythmically soft tapping of the keys as I type this sentence.

for the gift of hearing.

for the gift of taste.

for the gift of sight.

for the gift of touch.

for the gift of smell.

for the way a deep breath of air, thick with oxygen, warmly embraces your entire torso.

for surviving the sometimes sophomoric and selfish decisions of my teenage years.

for memories, the gift of remembering…(wait—what else was I going to write here?)

for the gift of looking back on the past with God’s wisdom in the present.

for wisdom, for the Holy Spirit helping me to learn from my past sins and mistakes and to apply that learning in my present.

for the Holy Spirit helping me to learn from the sins and mistakes of others and to apply that learning in my present.

I am thankful…

for the gift of studying accurate accounts of history.

for books. Wow. Boy oh boy I am so very thankful for books.

for curling up in a warm house, on a comfy couch, under a soft blanket, surrounded by a symphony of stillness, in good health, with a peaceful conscience forgiven by King Jesus, under the sovereignty of the triune God, and reading a delicious book.

for biographies…and the way that truth, in all its complexities, roughness, and bitter-sweetness, is still more desirable, captivating, comforting, relevant, and inspiring than the most skillfully woven work of fiction.

for the valiant stubbornness of Truth—unchangeable, reliable, supportive, benevolent, encouraging, helpful, confident, and liberating—and the way it boldly dares to firmly stand regardless of the vaporous fog of popular opinion that descends attempting to conceal and suffocate it.

for the way that Truth—if it could laugh and if we could hear it—would do so with unalarmed and sublime mirth at the preposterousness of the aforementioned fog’s childishly earnest attempts at victory.

for our first house, especially the way the previous family took such thoughtful care of it.

for the overwhelming crush of joy, pride, hope, and inspiration that arrives with secretly seeing another person do the right thing without knowing anyone else was looking.

for other humans.

for the delight of variety God that shows throughout humanity and creation.

for the way that God creates each human being meticulously by Hand rather than producing us mechanically and generically by assembly line.

for the way that God is more concerned with relationship than production.

for the utter relief that comes from realizing that life really isn’t all about me.

for God’s help in getting over myself—i.e., the intense megalomania that each human insidiously suffers from even if we don’t realize it—and the powerful alleviation such “getting over” produces, similar to making it through the Wednesday of a particularly oppressive workweek or summiting a rather imposing mountain and realizing that truly it is all “downhill from here!”

I am thankful…

for the inefficiency of long sentences (see above!)—and they way they almost universally confuse everyone except the writer—that nevertheless always succeed in making me smile, bringing me joy, and filling me with an almost guilty satisfaction, kind of like making a forty foot putt for triple-bogey in golf.

for golf… ‘nuff said. 🙂

for the little smiley face at the end of the above sentence and the way my eyes tear up with joy almost every time I write one.

for crying—especially tears of joy, understanding, love, and even, yes, of pain and sorrow. Crying is the exhaust for our souls and minds and hearts in this winding world; without crying I honestly think I would simply eviscerate.

for the powerfully refreshing sleep that lovingly cradles you after intensely crying your eyes out.

for Summer, especially because it generously allows Chicagoans to briefly dance with lady golf.

for the first warm breezes of early Spring that seem to chivalrously beat back the last menacing skirmishes of Winter’s icy chill.

for wind chimes and the way they expertly tango with Summer’s breezes.

for naps, especially during such aforementioned dancing marathons.

for deep naps where you wake up unsure of who you are, where you’re at, and what day of the week it is.

for the way that God subtly and self-confidently reveals His amazing personality throughout His creation, especially in the supreme joy and amusement He must get the first few seconds after humans wake up from deep naps.

for sleep, especially for the last few moments of consciousness after an unusually tiring day before you plummet into a linen abyss of pillowed slumber.

for words, especially in the English language, and the way they can be chopped and sliced and added into a sentenced pot of simmering mellifluousness and aromatic loquaciousness.

for long words (see above) that aren’t used to confuse or show-off but rather to enlighten and equip; using long words is like introducing someone to a new restaurant: sure, the new restaurant isn’t necessary (and you could just keep eating at McDonald’s), but its prime rib, au jus, asparagus, and garlic mashed potatoes are simply too delicious to miss!

I am thankful…

for peace…real peace (not just the absence of conflict)…shalom.

for peace, and not just the idea of it, but for being smack dab in the middle of it—physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually—even if for the briefest moment on earth. (For such brief moments are God’s down payment for the final and lasting peace that He will eventually establish for all who call on the name of Jesus Christ by faith. So let us sniff through clogged sinuses the faintest scents of Jesus’ Peace, trusting that He is expertly managing the kitchen, preparing the dining room, and leading His people to the Great Wedding Feast of the Lamb.).

for hope…not an irrational or placebo-like hope but real hope, the hope that a hang glider has on their first flight after they push off from the cliff soaring over a valley 2,000 feet below; the hope that comes from having had the best trainer, having now the best glider, and trusting that there will be a perfect place to land on the other side of a majestic but imposing mountain range.

for refrigerators, the 21st century treasure chests laden with edible loot and syrupy plunder that require no special key and no tattered map (and no salty nautical language).

for humans…as knuckle-headed, selfish, and despicable as we can be, I am so thankful for other humans, to share this life with them, to learn from them, to teach them, to grow with them, to encourage them and be encouraged by them, to protect them and be protected by them, to love them and be loved by them, and to love God together with them.

for sharing great news with other people, and receiving back their genuine excitement as well (e.g. announcing when my wife and I were excitedly waiting for each of our children to be born!).

for marriage…despite its inherent difficulties brought about by two flawed and recovering self-aholics living together in close proximity for a lifetime. I am so thankful for marriage!

for color, the rich vibrant color throughout God’s creation, and the ability to slow down, see it, notice it, appreciate it, and be inspired by it.

for medicine and the way it helps us to heal…especially medicines that unclog my nasal passages and allow me to breathe clearly throughout the day (and throughout the night).

for hardwood (or laminate, in our case!) flooring and the way it makes a room “pop”.
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for the perfect and everlasting Word of God, the Bible, and the way that the Holy Spirit uses it to encourage me, humble me, comfort me, convict me, reveal the LORD’s character to me, guide me, discipline me, break me down and build me up, and enable me to stand in the fiercest storms of life.
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for the ease of cleaning & sweeping hardwood flooring (as opposed to carpet, that devilish foe of my nasal passages, that arch-enemy of my ability to breathe clearly and sleep well, that bane of my respiratory existence…).

I am thankful…

for (relatively) clear skin…I’m sorry, but pimples stink. I am not thankful at all for pimples!

for loofah pads that help to keep one’s skin (relatively) clear by scrubbing off the outer layer of dead skin (hey—your epidermis is showing!) so that it cannot clog pores and lead to pimples. Did I mention I am not thankful for pimples? Just making sure…

for toes. Seriously; I really am thankful for toes (everyone’s toes, really, but even more so when we take good care of them). Even as we age, toes remain for me the child-like appendage of our physical bodies (along with ear lobes; wow, am I ever thankful for ear lobes). Toes are simply silly, but in a good way. They have a practical purpose, but they almost always make me smile when I see them. They’re like cute little people attached to the ends of big slabs of feet who rhythmically row together like oars cutting though the water allowing the slabs to move, and yet they each have their own personality, shape, and wrinkle pattern. I simply love toes…If they could talk, I don’t think I would ever stop looking at the ground, at least in the summer months!

for ear lobes!

for French manicures (and pedicures) on my wife—simple and timeless elegance. With a dress at the symphony or jeans around the house—simply the best!

for the ubiquitous, omnipotent, holy, untamable and compassionate presence of God in our lives…

for the way that God “writes straight with our crooked lines,” turning the lumpy coal of our poor, selfish, and unwise decisions into multi-faceted diamonds that reflect His fame, majesty, active presence, grace, mercy, Truth and unasham’ed love.

for poetry…especially sonnets. What a gift of revelatory expression, like the rising sun that burns away the fog and chill of morning to reveal lush fields, enveloping warmth, and further inspiration for more poetry.

I am thankful…
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for my wife of 15+ years! 🙂

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for the feeling of deep friendship/”not-alone-ness” that comes from receiving a letter, email, text message, or phone call from a loved one whom you haven’t heard from in a while.
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for the LORD’s reminder that, because He has enabled me to receive Jesus as my Savior & King, I am free from the weight of being in charge of myself…HE IS!
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for walking in the cold and unexpectedly stepping into direct, warming sunlight.
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for falling asleep each night and trusting where I will be–and Who I will be with–if I don’t wake up on earth.
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for the excitement each day at wondering what my family is going to prepare for dinner.
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for snuggling and reading books with my amazing children.
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for the satisfaction, at the end of the work week, from looking back and knowing that with the Holy Spirit’s help I did my best.
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for being undeservedly chosen, equipped, and sustained by the LORD Almighty to teach the Bible to others…that is, to introduce others to Him.
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for all that the LORD will do, for His fame, in and through me and my wife and children in the future.
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I am thankful…
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for healthy children with unique personalities
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for a warm beverage on a cold day
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for sleeping in a comfortable bed with my wife every night
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for a body that (basically!) works
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for heat in the winter (and a/c in the summer)
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for a local church congregation of Christians who encourage me and are so patient with me
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for being invited to a friend’s house for a meal (to be with people)
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for our living room furniture
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for my wife homeschooling our children (she is the best teacher EVER!)
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for the excitement of attending a long-anticipated movie on opening night and waiting, with a giant bucket of salty/buttery popcorn and a tub of ice-cold soda, for the previews to begin.
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for the fact that my heavenly Father chose to adopt me–while knowing every one of my horrific thoughts, words, actions and desires–and for the adoption price He paid for me: the brutal death of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. Staggering…
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for King Jesus…Seriously…The world has never seen nor even had the capacity to invent a person half as magnificent as Him…It is an honor to entrust my earthly and eternal life to Him…Selah…

So what are you thankful for?

And who are you thankful too?

Let Him know–He cares deeply about every detail of your life…