I recently stumbled upon a blog that touches my heart, as a Christian, as a woman and as a wife. You’re likely familiar with Jefferson Bethke, though you may not know him by name. His Youtube video of a spoken word poem entitled “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” went viral earlier this year. I saw it all over my Facebook, from friends and family all over the country. My beautiful cousin Rachel retweeted something he said on Twitter, so I began to follow him. He recently got married and he began to retweet things that his wife, Alyssa, tweeted so I began to follow her as well. This is how I happened upon her blog: Alyssa Joy.
In her recent miniseries on Gratitude, she wrote the following:
“A book that deeply touched my heart, and changed my whole outlook on life, is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. In this book, Ann talks about her struggle to give thanks to the Lord when life is hard, and in the mundane day-to-day events. BUT. When we do- when we choose to give thanks- the mundane becomes beautiful. The pain becomes beautiful too- because we see Jesus at work, instead of asking where He’s gone. We invite Jesus in to each moment, and savor His precious gifts.
Ann was challenged to write a list of 1,000 things she was thankful for and discovered the joy of looking for every moment that she could thank the Lord for.
Although I’m not at 1,000 yet, this list-making has brought so much joy to my life. Inviting Jesus in, taking a moment to reflect on His beauty, His work, His presence- in every moment.
So, every Thursday, I am going to write a list of things I am thankful for. I hope you will join me in this process. Hopefully we will get to 1,000 soon.”
And so, I’ve decided to join in on this challenge. Each Thursday, I will be taking time to write about at least 10 things that I am thankful for that week. I’ve ordered One Thousand Gifts from Amazon and look forward to reading it. I’ve also ordered two other books from Alyssa’s Recommended Reading List: Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother and Prayers of An Excellent Wife. I hope that these will teach me a lot and inspire me to be a better wife to Stephen. This also correlates nicely with number 9 on my 30 Before 30 list: Complete a thankfulness journal for an entire year.
- A God who orchestrates my life in ways that show His hand so obviously: there’s no other way that Stephen and I end up married. There are too many things about our lives and how perfect we are for each other that you just can’t chalk up to coincidence.
- My amazing and wonderful husband. He completes me, seriously. I am good on my own but I am great when we are together. He brings out the best in me by loving me just as I am. I want to be the best possible wife to him and look forward to raising a family with this amazing man! He continues to give me more and more reasons to love him every single day.
- Our incredible, weird, crazy family! I could not be more blessed to be related to some of the most kind-hearted, caring, fun-loving, adopting-random-people-because-we-love-everyone, give-you-the-shirt-off-my-back, people in this entire world. My family and my in-laws are a huge blessing in our lives and I feel so blessed to have these people speaking into our lives and into our marriage. We are surrounded by people who follow God in their lives and encourage us to do the same in ours. We could not be more blessed.
- The best best friends anyone could ask for. I have two sisters by bonds that I can’t imagine life without. Though we’re in three different states, we talk constantly and encourage each other in all of our pursuits. We understand each other and we have a similar humor. I am so so so so excited to see them in a couple weeks and to just enjoy being in the same state, let alone the same room! It brings me such joy. I just love them and their (my) family to death.
- We both have jobs. In an economy like this, when so many have fallen on hard times, we are both gainfully employed in jobs that we enjoy a majority of the time.
- Life-long friendships. Okay, so this kind of correlates with #4 (Sandi and I have been friends for 13 years!), but can I just say how awesome it is that Stephen and I spent Thanksgiving in the home of my Aunt Lori’s college roommate, Kathleen? How incredible that all of these years later, they are friends, and that their friendship would extend to them being my family too? How many people can say that? They’ve been friends longer than I’ve been alive and I can’t wait to be best friends with Sandi for 30 years!
- Getting pictures of my sweet nephew in text messages from my brother- I just love him!
- Weird family traditions, like my Mom, Dad, brother and I telling each other “Happy Birthday” on Thanksgiving because it’s Turkey Day and my parents are turkeys!!
- A beautiful home to live in
- Mashed potatoes. No lie. People who know me know how much I love potatoes.