This is a guest post by Abi. Her new book, Re: Create comes out this month! I am so excited to share with you an expcert from an amazing writer and inspiration!
And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly…singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. …… And whatever you do…..do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17
After every birthday and Christmas my mum would ask me “have you written your thank you letters yet?” I was encouraged to write out my thanks to relatives and friends for their gifts and it was something I never rushed to do. It seemed a bit of a chore that I then had to write a letter, I said thank you at the time the gift was given after all. But writing a letter was a matter of custom, of manners, it was expected.
Saying thanks to God was part of the format of prayer that I was taught as a child, you reeled off your thanks before presenting your requests. I didn’t actually stop to think whether I was really thankful, I just knew I should be. A matter of politeness, or courtesy.
But the strange thing is, once you start; “thank you for the day, thank you for my food, thank you for my friends”, you start to think of more things that you can say thanks for and you begin to realise that ‘yes, actually, I am thankful’, and as the list gets longer, ‘I do have a lot to be thankful for’. A strange thing happens to your soul as it lightens and you become aware of God’s goodness in your life.
The practise delivers the feelings.
When we’re soul weary it is so easy to dwell on all that is hard and difficult, because we feel overwhelmed by these things. It takes courage and discipline to look for the good and at times we don’t really feel grateful.
If the only good thing you can see through your tears is that God is good, start here. There is no better place to be grateful, than in his presence, thankful for his comfort.
When we start to look for even the small things to thank God for we start to list more things to be thankful for. This practice of saying thanks breeds a hopeful and grateful heart and when we are looking for things to be grateful for we lose sight of the things we could grumble about.
How great that we get to focus our gratitude towards someone, that we get to thank God, for all that he is, for all that he has done through Jesus and for all that he is still doing!
There is something attractive about using pretty tools for tasks. This gratitude journal you can make is a beautiful book where you can record your beautiful thanks and praises. Write down the things you are grateful for as a thank you letter to God.
plain paper, card, fabric, strong or linen thread, strong tape, patterned paper, ribbon.
paper hole making equipment, needle, scissors, pencil, pva glue.
Collect white paper and intersperse some patterned papers through the stack of papers.
Cut your paper into your chosen spread size. Make 4 holes down the middle of the pages.
Sew the pages together with a hessian piece on the back of the spine. Start in one of the middle holes then sew to an edge and back again, and up to the other edge. Knot the ends of the threads together and trim the ends.
Your two pieces of card need to be slightly larger than your folded pages.
Place the cards on your fabric with a gap that will be the spine between the cards. Depending on how thick your paper inner pages are, leave a space large enough for the paper book spine to fit in between the two cards. Using strong tape join the cards with a gap for the spine of the pages.
Cut the fabric about 3cm larger on all sides than the joined cards.
Place the card on top of the face down fabric. Fold the edges of the fabric over the edges of the cards, tucking in the corners. Stick down the fabric with pva glue.
Stick the end of a length of ribbon near to the middle inside of the cover, to act as a bookmark.
Place your pages onto the cover. Glue down the end pages of your paper book to the inside of the cover.
Use your book to regularly write down your thanks, list the small things and the large things, the times of learning and discipline that may even hurt, and thank the Lord for his mercies, new every morning.
Check out Abi’s book here!
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It is the good that often competes with the best. – Oswald Chambers
Finding the “best” is extremely hard. What is “best” for you this summer? Is it a full schedule of activities? Do you need to step back and say “no”? Your best won’t look like my best. So how do you figure it out?
What is YOUR best?
Take the Challenge and find YOUR best this summer!