"When there is reason for gratitude, there can always be found a reason for bitterness. It is here we are faced with the freedom to make a decision."
Henri J. W. Nouwen
I've shared this quote before.
I came to face to face with the truth of it this week.
As I was writing my Gratitude List for the week, I realized that with just about everything for which I was grateful, in some way or another, I was also ungrateful.
I am thankful that my parents are here with us, but I am not thankful they are in so much pain.
I am thankful for the lift that helps Ethan get in and out of the pool, but I hate the fact he needs it.
I am thankful that Ethan is kicking his legs in the water, but I hate that I'm even thankful for such a simple thing.
I am thankful for the two days I haven't had a headache this week, but the other five days with one, not so much.
I am thankful beyond words for the friends that come to visit with Ethan, but I can't help but wonder why others haven't stopped by to see him.
I'm thankful for time with my family in Mobile, but I wish I could be there more.
I could go on and on.
But, I won't.
Because somewhere between Monday morning and today, I had to make a decision. A decision to give thanks anyway and leave the "Buts" to God.
I wrestled. I cried. I told God all the things I was not thankful for.
I did what the Psalmist said to do in Psalm 61.
I poured out my heart before God.
The pouring out of the ingratitude made room for the gratitude.
It was funny, as I trusted God to be honest, to tell Him exactly how I felt, I couldn't help but find myself saying "but" again.
God, I hate that Ethan can't walk but I know you love Him so much more than I do.
God, I hate that I am excited about him kicking his legs, but I know it's a miracle. I know it's a special gift from you.
God, I hate my parents are hurting. I don't understand. But I know you have a plan for every moment of their lives.
God, I hate these stupid headaches, but I know they aren't unknown to you. You'll make a way like you always have before.
God I don't know where you are, but you said you would never leave me and I know you won't.
Remember these are examples.
There was a lot more.
The inverse of Nouwen's quote is true . . .
When there is reason for ingratitude, there can always be found a reason for gratitude.
Jesus is the Reason.
He's in it all. We just have to make a decision... to see Him.
It's hard not to be grateful, when you are in the presence of the Lover of Your Soul.
"Pour out your heart before Him,147. A Safe Refuge
God is a refuge for us."
God is a refuge for us."
148. Ethan kicking his legs in the pool
149. the battery on the lift working
150. a kind lifeguard
151. silly moments
152. having Seth with us in Mobile, after so many trips without him
153. a dead battery that turned a trip into many new memories
154. a niece willing to be squeezed in-between her aunt and uncle in the back seat
155. lunch on the causeway with people you love
156. the "I'm home" phone call
157. promises and the One that guarantees them
158. hearing, "Shishe, you know what"
159. watching the great nephew watch a movie
160. that my nephew's wife is part of our family
161. being able to take my parents out shopping
162. a more than generous sister
163. a capped oil well
164. friends that remember
165. that I don't have to make myself presentable for God
166. that Jesus did it... for me
167. The Reason ingratitude can become gratitude