Eucharisteos: true thanksgiving. Ann Voscamp describes this word in her book, One Thousand Gifts, “in the original language, ‘he gave thanks’. Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks.”
“Eucharisteos, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning ‘joy’.”
Jesus gave thanks for giving up his life for us. Huh?!? Why would someone do something so hard and yet do it with thanksgiving? Why? Because He loves us.
So today, on our quest to record 1000 gifts, list Three Hard Eucharisteos. Mine may seem obvious. But the world in which I live in, I see broken families, tragedy, sickness and crumbling foundations. I choose to see the grace of forgiveness, being thankful even when it’s hard and having joy in the small things.
222. Planet Earth Just 5 minutes of news and you are reminded of the fallen world we live in. It can make one want to just hole up in their house with their family and just hide. I can’t do that. I can’t be afraid of planes crashing or terrorist attacks. I am so blessed with the means to be able to travel this wonderful world that God created. I have climbed high mountains, sailed foreign seas, walked centuries old streets and embraced cultures so different than mine. There are risks involved, but they worth it when you see the sky against the Swiss Alps, zip lined through the Costa Rican jungles and ridden the dugout canoe in Sierra Leone. God has created a majestic, breath taking, and beautiful world for us to enjoy and give honor to him.
223. Family You might be saying, “Hmm. Isn’t that obvious?” Well, my family isn’t perfect. There I said it. We are sinful, make mistakes, get angry, hurt each other’s feelings, forgetful, lazy, and I could go on and on and on. …..Oh, Wait? Your family is that way too? Sometimes it is soooo hard to love the ones closest to us. Sure I gave birth to three of the people in this picture and I would give my life for them, but honestly, parenting isn’t the easiest job. There have been times when I may not have even liked one or the other a time or two. And Superman there? We’ve been married 26 years and I’ve had to pull out the proverbial 2×4 from the back shed to knock him back to reality. Families are tough. Oh yeah, and I’m not so easy to live with either. So combine all of our issues and crazy personalities and it could be a disaster. Yet, my heart feels like it will explode with love when I think about them! I’ve made it so far through the temper tantrums, teacher conferences, and couples counseling by the grace that allows us to make mistakes, forgiveness to love even though we’ve made those mistakes and the full, undeniable knowledge that I love my family in every circumstance. In the same way that God so loves us.
224. The word of God. Yes, the bible. I am so thankful that I don’t have to search any more for the truth. I know too many friends and family that are living with worldly ideas, new age “wisdom”, or just their own ideas. This bible that I read and try to live by is hard. God has given me rules to follow that go against my fleshly nature. “What? I have to love those that hate me? I can’t go out and just do whatever makes me feel good? It’s my life! Aren’t I in charge with my own happiness?” To follow God’s plan for my life is painful sometimes. Change is hard. Especially when I have to admit to areas in my life that are destructive to me or people around me.
Stepping out of my comfort zone to do what God is calling me to do is scary. Walking into the homeless shelter 3 or so years ago and loving on very broken women, who might smell, be toothless, drug addicts or have mental issues was frightening. But it has made me less judgmental, more sympathetic and has expanded my heart to twenty times its original size. God knew where I needed to be.
As I mature in my faith, I know that going to church isn’t about pretending that I’m now perfect. Church is about acknowledging that I am sinful and always will be. And that I worship the God that loves me just the way I am. I don’t have to do a thing to make Him love me more. But by having faith and living the life He wants me to live, my life is so much more joyful, certain and precious.
What hard things are you thankful for? I’d love to hear.
I am thankful for you!