Wednesday, July 28, 2010

But . . .

"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 leg
s in the water, but I hate that I'm even thankful for such a simple thing.

I am thankful for the two da
ys 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,
God is a refuge for us."

Psalm 61:8b

Gratitude List

147. A Safe Refuge
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 c
an become gratitude


  1. I love your message, and I'm going to pray this week for more progress for Ethan and no more headaches for you.

  2. Thank you Catherine. You are a blessing.