Gratitude is a gift for all seasons.

Gratitude Is a Gift for All Seasons

The distance around my elliptical driveway is one tenth of a mile. I know this because I drove around it, watching the odometer—and then did it again just to be sure. This fall I’ve been doing a careful jog-trot around its leaf-strewn gravel, a compromise intended to jump start a flagging metabolism without putting undue wear and tear on aging joints and narrowing spinal interstices. Five times around with the dog makes for a half mile of elevated heart rate, deep breathing, and an uncluttered brain. Of course, the gift of those empty mental parentheses is that I get to decide what I’m thinking about while I’m avoiding loose stones in the path and thanking God for the fiery red Virginia creeper and the rusty orange of fading marigolds. Lately, I’ve been following the example of Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet who watched the nation of Israel disintegrate before his very eyes.   In Lamentations, he records the morbid details around the sacking of Jerusalem and the devastation of siege warfare:
  • Chapter 1 — The Lord is punishing Jerusalem for her serial idolatry.
  • Chapter 2 — Yes, it is time to lament the sin, the death, and the loss.

Turning a Corner into Gratitude

Then, twenty verses into Chapter 3, Jeremiah turns a corner and makes a choice. He leaves his mental parentheses open just long enough for an act of the will, and, shutting out the evidence for despair that lies all around him, he “calls to mind” a new thought that gives him hope:
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”  (Lamentations 3:21-26)
You’re invited to join me today at the writing home of my friend Jeanne Takenaka to ponder along with me the nature of a sinewy faith that summons gratitude when chaos reigns. Every blessing, Michele Morin
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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 30 years, and together they have four sons, two daughters-in-love, two grandchildren, and one lazy St. Bernard. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

42 thoughts on “Gratitude Is a Gift for All Seasons”

  1. Michele, I am grateful for the wisdom you have shared in this post! This is the line I will be thinking on today and sharing with others as well >>> “By faith, we can lean into gratitude for what has been given while at the same time waiting quietly and holding loosely our desire for all that has been withheld.”

    I’m going to choose to lean in this season!

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    1. It’s hard, isn’t it, to be thankful for the nos of God.
      I have a huge tendency to forget that he withholds only in love, and he gives only in love.
      Thanks be to God that his love and his wisdom and his holiness are all of a piece.

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    1. Looking at Jeremiah and Lamentations together this year has been so enlightening for me, too. He was called to the thankless job of notifying the nation of Israel that they were going to be conquered by Babylon, but even so, their assignment was to return to a faithful following and trust God for a good future.
      Even the structure of Lamentations is fascinating with it’s five chapters of alliterated lines following the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

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    1. I enjoyed working on it with Lisa’s group, and you can see it found its way into my thinking. And I’ve been reading in Jeremiah for almost a year, and that has given me so much appreciation for his context.
      Jogging seems like such an athletic term for what I do–it’s a good thing I’m in the woods where passersby are spared the sight!

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  2. If we quit remembering His steadfast love and get our eyes on the circumstances, it could certainly be depressing. We were discussing some of this in our Bible study last night. We were studying 1 Timothy 2 where we’re commanded to pray for “all men.” That includes those who seem immoral, even evil. I think if God simply removed most of them from power (and He could), we would have no incentive to pray for their souls like we should. We can’t look to political parties or anything else for deliverance any more than the Israelites were to expect Egypt to be their deliverance. Thanks for reminding us to keep our eyes on Him and be thankful.

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  3. Beautifully expressed Michele!
    He only witholds in love.. wrote this in my journal today, to help me remember the reason for His good “no’s.” May God be my portion!
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful post!

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  4. Oh, I so enjoyed reading the positiveness of your sharing this morning. The reminder that even in all, we need not despair. God’s sun will come up each morning to enjoy; although there are times that reminder is hard, but with that scripture in mind it makes for an easier day and brighter outlook. Have a nice Thanksgiving week.

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  5. Oh that flagging metabolism! I’ve had to make a decision to keep on with my exercise and healthy eating, while at the same time accepting the fact that my 60 year old body will never be the 125 lb toned body of my mid thirties. I just want to be the best me I can be for my age.

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