Yesterday, Dave and I listened to his pastor’s sermon from this past Sunday. It is part of Rusty’s sermon series called “Discovering God’s Will for my Life.”Both of thought this was a particularly important sermon for us to hear given where our paths are taking us these days; it seemed quite timely that we hear a sermon about discerning God’s will.

Towards the end of the sermon, Rusty reminded us that one of the key ways to be sure we are walking in God’s will is to maintain an attitude of gratefulness. He pointed out that people are often very specific about negative things in their lives – traffic, too little income, a fall-out with a friend – but are often very general about the things they are grateful for – life, good health, friends. He encouraged us to be more specifically grateful, and I was really taken by that idea. What am I grateful for in my life now, even though much of life seems difficult to me at the moment?

For one, I am grateful that my journey is uphill. If my own life, my reading, and my study of history has taught me one thing, it’s that all the best things come after hard work. No easy relationship is that great; no wonderful job is that easy; no gorgeous garden flourishes without effort. When we are climbing uphill, we know we are moving toward the amazing things ahead; maybe that’s why we so often talk about heaven as if it’s above us – we have to climb to get there.

Secondly, I am grateful that even though my journey seems to be uphill, I’m allowed to walk up it, not sprint. God has graced me with enough income and enough time to find my next step rather than hurtling me down a steep incline toward what’s ahead.

Third, I am grateful that I have friends and family who not only support me unconditionally but also challenge me to think deeply and pray meaningfully as I move forward. I’m not alone in this, but I am also not supported by some flimsy, “nice” friendships. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who hold me accountable and love me while I struggle. Wow.

Finally, I am grateful to be learning how to love more unconditionally, more deeply, and more truly. I can be quite a controlling and judgmental person, but more and more, I see God miraculously and laboriously working me out of this. I am learning to let go of things and to watch God do God’s thing. That’s the biggest blessing.

So what are you grateful for today? Where do you see grace caressing you? How do you feel grateful as you seek your next steps on this journey?

Tree of Life – from Zoecarnate