in pursuit of gratitude

I woke up angry.  Or I arrived there quickly.  Isaiah was standing beside our bed a few minutes before six, saying, “More milk?”  We give him what he wants at that hour — fill his little cup and tuck him back in bed with his blankets.

In minutes, he was back by my bedside.  He wanted to go night-night with mommy.  Figuring it was the only remaining chance to get him to go back to sleep, I pulled him up beside me.

He didn’t go back to sleep.  He tossed and turned, drank his milk, touched my face with his hands and then his feet.  “Stop,” I barked at him.  He smiled at me in return.  Things were not going well.

At seven I gave up, angry.  Angry that I could not have my quiet time with God this morning.  Angry that Isaiah would probably be grumpy later on in the day because of his shortage of sleep.  Angry because as hard as I try to get up earlier in the mornings, Isaiah keeps getting up earlier, too.  Angry because I felt like God owed me a few minutes of solitude and preparation time before having to face the day.

These words from Ann’s blog, A Holy Experience, greeted me as I checked my blog feeds this morning:

Give up
the bitterness, the anger, the sadness

for what isn’t,
that you wish you had.

And embrace the gift of what you do have.

For therein
is really what you want more of:
Joy.”
-Elizabeth Elliot

My heart sunk with remorse at my anger.  What would have been my most convincing argument toward God — God, I won’t even be able to meet with You alone this morning! — was crushed in the realization that God had not allowed Isaiah to go back to sleep.  What I had was a happy boy, an awake boy, ready to greet the day.  And I could not even be thankful for his health and his happiness and the night of rest God had already granted me.  Instead, I propped up my worthy idols and asked God to worship them.

Today, I am going to join the Gratitude Community and start making my own list of One Thousand Gifts.  I’ve loved reading other bloggers’ lists of gifts from God, but I’ve resisted starting my own list because (sigh) I like to be original and different and not give in to the trends of the blogosphere.  But I give in.  Because my gratitude is worth nursing more than my pride.  I released my idols this morning and stepped into the day with my little Isaiah.  I took him to the park, and in my head, I began to form a list…

1. 73 degrees at 9 a.m.  Ah, sweet relief from the heat wave!  The soft warmth of sunlight on my face, and the morning air rushing over my face…

2. My little boy in pursuit of friendship.  His little hand cupped inside an older child’s…

3. The delight that splashes across his face in watching a black lab…

4.  The familiar faces of women in my neighborhood.  Their presence convinces me I am not a stranger here.

5. The bread dough on my stove, slowly, slowly rising…

6. The anticipation of seeing my husband tonight…

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  1. Thankfulness is such a sweet blessing!

  2. Oh, that’s good.

    • Betsy
    • August 26th, 2008

    I’ve been in the same place you described a lot this week. I have been trying to be thankful also but it is a challenge for me during a week like this one. I think writing down things is a good idea.

  3. Carrie,
    I frequent your blog often and am encouraged by your writing. I am not much of a writer and simply struggle with articulating my thoughts… however, I have been pondering lately how to bring the Gospel to my everyday life. In light of this post I am now starting my 1,000 list of “grace gifts” to attempt to remind my little mind. Thanks for the great encouragement!
    Jody

  1. September 3rd, 2008
    Trackback from : day two « passage

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