Gratitude: an attitude of thanks
Faith: the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. More easily understood “trusting in something you cannot explicitly prove.”
I have learned to be overly attentive when I run across the same verse or thought several times in a short time frame. It is like God is crying out to me. He is saying, "Robyn, listen carefully. I want you to remember this, ponder this, live into this, trust me in this."
This has been the case in the last few weeks with two little words: Faith and Gratitude.
Of course one always anticipates the word gratitude being used in abundance during this time of year. We are, here in the USA, preparing for our Thanksgiving Day feast.
It is a time of celebration and family. The most traveled time of year. That means the roads are filled with families traveling to get to their loved ones to gather for a few hours over a turkey, some dressing, and other family traditional dishes.
Mine as a child growing up consisted of green beans, mashed potatoes, candied yams (with marshmallows on top), and fresh baked rolls. And don''t forget the giblet gravy and the pies. Oh my, the pies! We had them all, pumpkin, apple, cherry, and chocolate pudding pie. It was a day of abundance and a day of thanks. Gratitude oozed from my mom and dad and from each of my siblings. We often had visitors and they smiled through the year's gratitude list we would each share before eating our dinner. Often they would join in with their own gratitude list.
Being the youngest of four siblings, my memories are a bit different than my older sisters. Don't you find that you had different parents than your older brothers and sisters did, or vice versa? And it makes sense doesn't it. There are almost 8 years difference between my oldest sister and me. I know that I have moved from Germany to Maryland in the last 3 years and that in itself has changed me. How much changed for my parents during those 8 years. A lifetime for some.
But I found my family lived in full gratitude on those Thanksgiving days. A day set aside for remembering how grateful we all were. From new bicycles to near-death-experiences, we always had our lists.
And I must admit, living in Germany for almost ten years, Thanksgiving was a holiday I greatly missed. Germany's culture has it's own form of thanksgiving, but not celebrated in the same way. And I missed my own culture's way. Not celebrating Thanksgiving for almost ten years gave me a powerful appreciation for this time of year.
Faith on the other hand is not so often heard or talked about specifically at this time of year. And yet I have had several occasions where Hebrews 11 has been referred to. And Hebrews 11 is known as the Faith Chapter of the Bible. I've even had faith and gratitude compared. Now that was when I really perked up and listened, pondered, and asked God to clarify what He was trying to say to me.
I grew up with my mom calling Hebrew 11 'The Hall of Faith Chapter.'
It is filled with both the definition of faith and bible characters that have earned their spot onto a fairly short list of the historically faithful followers of God.
For me, these men and women have always been fascinating. I have wanted to live a life of faith from the time I can remember. And they set the bar so high. I have never felt qualified to be considered for the faithful list.
Names like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob make my heart ache to join them. I've traveled with Joseph through his abandonment to his position of power. I've struggled with King David from shepherding days to his murderous confession. Between Sarah and her disappointments and Rahab's courageous acts I have found faith to always be an adventure. But not necessarily all that much to be put on a gratitude list and talked about with smiles, and full plates and slices of pie.
Faith is hard.
Faith is getting a call to do something that makes absolutely no sense, yet deep inside you know you are supposed to do it. Faith is stepping out and doing that thing that you are afraid of.
Faith is trusting that God will be there when you are in the midst of that hard thing. Trusting that you are being led in the right direction and that you will be given whatever is needed to conquer or finish what it is you have started.
Faith is asking for things that are impossible and believing that you will be standing on the other side of that impossibility thankful that God showed up and did it.
Faith is remembering that God is God and I am not. Faith is knowing that if I have asked for something and it hasn't been given to me, I can be grateful that God is always out for my best. I don't know how many times I have said to women that I mentor and to myself, "If God didn't give it to me, it must not be good for me to have." Faith is being grateful in the midst of the disappointment.
Gratitude is thanking God for what has happened.
Faith is thanking God before it has happened.
And that was what was put together for me yesterday in a sermon on Gratitude and Faithfulness.
I'm pondering how I can enter into more faith. I want to be a faith-filled woman. I want God to get the glory for all He has done and all He will do.
I want to praise Him for the miracles that He has already blessed me with and I want to shout from the rooftops in the future miracles that He will perform.
I want to say He has already done what He said He can do.
I want to bring an umbrella in the middle of a drought to a prayer meeting for rain.
Would you consider joining me in the new year with a combined heart of Faith and Gratitude?
Start praying about it now. I am.
I will ask this question in December. Consider joining me in relaxing into 2018 a year of Faith and Gratitude. You will be reading more about this in the next few weeks.
So glad you joined me here today.
Because He is the I am, i am
~Robyn Rochelle Cox
Robyn & Biff Cox
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Robyn Rochelle Cox
WHOSE AM I?