07 June 2015

sweep through the day

Let the grateful heart sweep through the day
that it might recognize in every hour
some sweet blessing.

-H.W. Beecher

After living almost a third of my life in Haiti now, I will never be able to forget how much I have.  How NOTHING I have to complain about. How GRACE it all is, and all unmerited.  

"All those orphans hungry in Africa"?  Those are Sofie and Lily's best friends and schoolmates.  "People dying in mud huts without medical care?"  Those are our neighbors.  Literal.  Living next door.  All the crazy percentages about no access to clean water, no good medical care, no employment, on and on and on?  Our village.  Our country.

It is impossible every moment in Haiti with lights and a laptop to not feel rich, to not feel too-blessed, to not feel so grateful.

But gratefulness is not just about having stuff and ungratefulness about NOT having stuff.  Haiti has also taught us that all the stuff or non-stuff is His, comes and goes, and is not necessary for living a life of gratitude.  

I can think of so many people right now who have taught us this, most of them, unaware.

Granny, whose husband left her in the night with 2 toddlers and an 8 month pregnant belly to search for a better life and drowned with 200 others in an overcrowded boat the next day.  She'll never tell you about that, or the 30 years since of hard work and desperate times.  But she'll tell you in a heartbeat His great faithfulness.  Every friend and first time visitor is quick to point out that they've never met anyone like Giselaine...whether you speak Creole or not, her JOY and indwelling peace are RADIANT.  Chronically praising the Lord.
Micheline, who walked by my house while I was trying to figure out how to hang laundry on a line for the first time in my life week one in Haiti.  She was singing as she passed, stopped to smile sweetly when she saw me look up, and has carried that song of praise into my home every other day for the last 8 years.  Her husband has deserted them countless times for years in the Dominican, years in Trinidad, now years in Brazil, only coming home long enough to add another mouth for Micheline to feed and to leave another baby for her to care for.  Five children, plus two others she "had to take in, their situation is so desperate", and all of the worries and cares that that, IN HAITI, means...and yet she continues to be the largest practical daily source of His peace, trust and modeled contentment in my life today.

Tah-tah and Job and their two live in the most pathetic pile of dirt and sticks our village has, clean as any home I've ever been in, and yet every single day when I pick her up first to go get our daughters from school, she smiles shyly, kisses my cheek, and responds, "So well, by the grace of God."

Matt has been trying to get Leme to complain for years, and I can tell you, it's just NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.  

I could go on and on, but the point.  Being grateful need not have ANYTHING to do with what we have.

These are grateful family because of Him.  And that is it.  

Any person, Christian or non-Christian alike, surely, could muster up an amount of gratitude based on beauties and good tidings in life.  Anyone can toss some thanks up in the air.  Lots of people talk about being "blessed" as if it CAME from the air.

But Christian gratitude, the kind I'm talking about here, seems to be based on the source of blessings...and the blessings continue to be poured out as Presence.  

Who He is. 
How He loves.
How He works. 
What He's done.
What He's doing.

As I started to combat my worries, temptations and sheer need Friday with deliberate gratitude for all of Him, it is making so much more a joy...and bringing me closer to He whom deserves all my praise.

a husband who loves the Lord
instead of a husband who is not here
daughters who love and enjoy and have each other
instead of girls whose petty quarrels can drive me insane 
a kicking miracle baby and good health
instead of fatigue and discomfort
free worship in my heart language with believers and my girls
instead of a service I'd never been to with no one I knew
the chance to worship with Sidewalk Prophets and our Emmaus family
instead of worry over how many will join us
this precious time bonding and teaching and discipling my girls

I am dearly loved by Him
He longs for and loves when we spend time together
He's given me His Word, His promises, His help
how gracious has He been this last month without Matt
how faithful to protect Matt and the girls and I
how faithful to provide
such great grace by which I've been saved
such faithfulness that has set me free and continues to
such power and care that enables me to grow in Him
such intimacy to meet me every time I come
the blessing of finding, again and again, true love in Him

send me your lists...or just make them

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJune 08, 2015

    Thanks so much ! These last two posts have renewed me. I have been struggling with fears and your words have helped me let go of them and hold on to Jesus. Thanks!