I knew I wanted to read this book when I saw it recommended on a blog I love. The reason I knew I needed to read it was because the woman who runs this blog lives these truths out- she lives and breathes gratitude. She has challenging days. She has known trials. Yet when she speaks of a trial, it is always to praise God for another mercy in the middle of it. She finds God's Gracious hand in the middle of pain, she finds a beautiful sunset at the end of a long day. Her archives are filled with posts that are a breath of fresh air- and it is the lovely scent of gratitude that perfumes them. Reading her posts made me want to have what she has.
So, one day, when I had (very minor) dental surgery planned, and was inwardly complaining about it, I decided to try looking for the mercies. They were there.
1. My dentist has very gentle hands.
2. My dentist talks to you while he works.
3. I had a family member who got the whole day off from work to take me, and would be waiting in the waiting room the whole time.
4.The rest of the family got to stay home...that is a blessing!
5.The weather was excellent for a drive into town.
6. I would be missed while I was gone and told so many times when I got home.
7. I had a new book at home to read when I got back. :-) That is a special blessing!
And there is was...Gratitude welling up in me for things I never would have seen. And I knew I needed this book. And now I think we all need this book.
"Gratitude is a lifestyle. A hard fought, Grace infused Biblical lifestyle. And though there is a sense in which anyone can be thankful- for God has extended His common Grace to all- the true glory and the transforming power of gratitude are reserved for those who know and acknowledge the Giver of every good gift and who are recipients of His redeeming Grace. This book is about discovering what makes gratitude truly Christian. And how it makes life, even with all its bumps and bruises, a joy to behold."
God commands us to give thanks, to Glorify His name with Thanksgiving, to Praise Him. Our gratitude also blesses those who hear it and see it, because it points them to the One we are Thanking. Gratitude blesses us too...keeping us from sin. Nancy Leigh quotes D. James Kennedy, who says that an ungrateful person is one step away from meeting their needs in an illegitimate way. I agree. We want what we don't have and we don't have what we want. We envy those who get "it" first. And yet what are we missing that we need? We live in a fascinating world of blessings...and yet we miss the daily blessings showered upon us. Like Nancy says, we think our soap and tea come from the grocery instead of our Gracious God.
This book goes deep... this book talks about being grateful in affliction and terrible loss, like the death of Nancy Leigh's brother as a college student. He planned to be a missionary.
His family gathered to praise God after he died...not because it was easy and they felt like it, but because God was worthy. There is a reason it is called a sacrifice of praise, Nancy says. "Our hearts were breaking even as we tried expressing them. But what we were really saying was 'Lord, you've not given us the privilege of understanding why You would take this young life that was so devoted to You, and we may never understand your reasons this side of heaven. But LORD we trust you. We know you don't make mistakes. And what we really want even as we grieve the loss of son, brother and friend--more than anything else--we want you to be glorified.' And he has been."
That is awesome, the way a heart can praise God in the midst of pain like that.
This book is so full of truth, and the writing is beautiful.
Choosing Gratitude will be on my top books of the year list. I intend to do the thirty day devotional included over the next month, as part of transforming my mind to think in grateful terms. I was blessed to receive this book from Moody Publishing to review.