As I prepare for the new school year, I keep finding myself in the company of two of our local language teachers who are graciously giving me space in their classroom to work. They like to ask me questions about what a school policy means and even what different English words mean. On Sunday I was working on putting the finishing touches to my substitute folder one of local language teachers asked me a question. He asked, "What does the word rejoice mean?" We talked about it meaning that you are celebrating a happy or joyous event. He then asked if you could say you are rejoiced meaning using it as an adjective. "No," I explained, "it is only used as a verb." It is something that we actively do. He went on about his work as I did mine. I did not think of our conversation again until this morning when I was reading the book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp. On page 176 of her book, she says, "but to give thanks is an action and rejoice is a verb and these are not mere pulsing emotions. While I may not always feel joy, God asks me to give thanks in all things because he knows that the feeling of joy begins in the actions of thanksgiving." So in a practical way I have started my list of One Thousand Gifts and am on number #85. (Note: I have been working on this for week or so.)
Here are a few gifts from my list.
4)Roses blooming in a dry and dusty land.
12)Children fascinated by a kite that went as high as the string that they had.
21) School starting three weeks later than planned.
31) Sore muscles from exercising.
48) Clean water to drink
55)Brain tired from studying calculus
68)Not having to walk all the way home.
80)Big D being my escort as we went to fetch his sister at a friend's house.
85) Internet even if it can be slow at times.
Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. Phil 4:4
Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the God's will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thess 5:18
I find that the more I am actively thankful the more I can trust in God and what He has for me that day. When I am ungrateful, I don't even want to be around myself.
For more about Ann Voscamp and her book, check out her blog Holy Experience.
Dear God, Thank you for all things, big and small. May we rejoice in you remembering that it is an action. Thank you for who you are and that you are a God to be trusted. Amen