ice skating pair wins gold

When Chinese favorites Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo realized they had won the gold, they couldn’t hold back their happiness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And sitting in front of my television set as this historic victory happened, I couldn’t believe how tears welled in my eyes just watching the celebration!  I had been quietly cheering this couple on ever since I heard their sweet love story and how they had chosen to come out of retirement to fulfill one last skating dream..a gold in the Olympics.

There’s nothing like accomplishing a life goal, is there?

The feeling that your hard work and dedication have finally paid off.

Well, we are setting out on a little journey towards a very specific goal every Thursday for the next eight weeks!

Our journey is life.

Our goal is joy.

A Journey to Joy!  Doesn’t that sound rewarding!?!?!?

Working our way through the pages of Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ book, Choosing Gratitude:  Your Journey to Joy, we will uncover together some secrets to a peaceful, joy-filled heart.

Last week, we talked a little about Joni Eareckson Tada’s wheelchair being her life struggle and how she has to make a daily choice to either choose gratitude or not choose gratitude as she faces life as a quadriplegic. 

Then we learned a little about the introduction:  “Your Invitation to Transformation.”  Nancy starts this section by sharing very transparently the struggle she often faces of living a life of gratitude when so many things cause her to feel fretful, negative, or resentful.  I love when she says that she has finally come to the realization that “gratitude is truly her life preserver.”

When we are able to look at every thing this world throws at us and somehow muster the words, “Thank you, Lord,” then we’re on our way to becoming mature Christians.  She shares that, “Gratitude is a lifestyle.A hard-fought, grace-infused Biblical lifestyle.”

Then in chapter one, “The Power of Gratitude,” we started talking about whether or not we are going to worship or whine when faced with a difficult situation.

I remember reading a book by Jill Briscoe years ago when Nick was first diagnosed with a brain tumor.  One of the chapters challenged women to say “why not me?” instead of “why me?” when facing a difficult season in life.  I began looking at Nick’s journey with cancer and my journey as his mom as something that truthfully could happen to anyone, so in reality “why couldn’t it happen to us?”  Jill then went on to say that after realizing that we are not above the world’s pain, we must decide if we are going to resist the pain or accept it as something God can use for His glory.

This chapter, “The Power of Gratitude” goes right along with the thought of accepting our pain.  It then takes this concept a step further and challenges us to look our pain straight on and say, “Thank you, Lord.”

Just tonight Olivia had a friend stay all night and they dressed up and wanted me to take their pictures.  They wanted to do all kinds of poses and change costumes and honestly, I was getting tired.  After we were all done and Olivia sat down in the kitchen, she randomly turned to me as I was doing dishes and said, “Thanks for taking our pictures, mom.”  I can’t tell you what it did for my heart to hear those simple unrequested words come from Olivia’s mouth.

I believe that when we say “thank you” to God, He smiles.  And I believe that when we can manage to mutter these words even in our dark valleys, He not only smiles but also places within us a strength we never knew imaginable. 

There truly is power in our gratitude. 

And Christian gratitude has a depth this world cannot understand, because we are thankful for more than just a sunny day or no rain at a wedding.  We are painfully aware that our gratitude finds its roots in something much deeper than the weather..our gratitude comes from understanding that ..  “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

So, next week we’ll look at Chapter Two:  “Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude.”

Until then, do not forget the faces of the skating pair above.  Remember the thrill they experienced from their hard-earned victory?

You too will experience victory on this journey to joy!

Your Thankful Reading Partner,