Yesterday I began my day reading about gratitude in Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts. She writes, Lament is a cry of belief in a good God, a God who has His ear to our hearts, a God who transfigures the ugly into beauty. Complaint is the bitter howl of unbelief in any benevolent God in this moment, a distrust in the love-beat of the Father’s heart.
At one point she quotes from Habakkuk 3:18-19: Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hind’s feet, and makes me walk in high places.
Later in the afternoon I was sitting outside with Y’shua reading and listening. I told Him I wanted His River of Life within me to be so full it is like a plump gusher, filling a room with His presence anywhere I go. He told me, if you want that, then get down and surrender, not just one knee but both, and raise your hands in gratitude. And I did. I told Him He could have whatever it takes to make me like that. I saw a bare patch of grass that looked like a giant footprint heading towards an un-mown field. I felt the Spirit tingling through my body and Y’shua whispered, I will make a way. Follow Me into uncharted territories. It was a sweet time and my heart was full as I walked back to the house.
So how was it that forty minutes later during dinner in the kitchen my heart was grumbling with complaint, indignant about an extra meeting we had to go to that would take two hours out of the evening, indignant about the fact that I was going from there to spend the night with two other girls on the farm to give a friend the night off and my day had been so full I hadn’t found time to pack, indignant that I had no choice in what to do with my time, indignant over the words you must that made me feel more like a micromanaged child than a mature contributing adult? So I showed up at the meeting in a roomful of people who I’m supposed to be reading the Word with and praying and my heart was resentful.
But somewhere in the midst of that time the Lord made me remember how recently that sweet time in the afternoon with Him had been. He reminded me of the proclamation I had made that He could have it all. Surrender. And suddenly I can see how this is all just a ploy from the enemy to steal the gratitude and surrender out of my heart. Of course this evening would be hard. The enemy of my soul is mad. I scribble in my journal—How the enemy fights hard to steal my joy, to plant a grumbling seed in my heart, to tempt me to pick up my self-rights and indignation at them being ignored. Y’shua fight for me. Help me ward off this darkness, to choose life and surrender, obedience and joy. Because it is a choice. Ann Voskamp states, “God does not give rights but imparts responsibilities—response-abilities—inviting us to respond to His love-gifts.”
And it’s a love-gift to be on this farm. No matter how difficult it gets I know that. It’s a daily battle here—gratitude. In some respects it’s so easy because the Spirit of God is walking with me and, well, there’s just so many things about God and His goodness to be grateful for. And in other respects it’s not so easy because the days are long and I’m tired and I constantly lose or have to lay down the small pieces of personal space or time I think I have. But in the end it is a choice. Last night I fought and when a song began to play at the end I made myself stand and raise my hands and belt out the words.
Bless the Lord O my soul, O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
And worship His holy name.