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Thankful Hearts: Favorite Places

November 20, 2018

 

Tuesday, November 20

 

Thankful Hearts: Favorite Places

 

Today, I am thankful for… the PLACES I have been.

 

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good…”Genesis 1:31

 

It is 4:30 AM and I am caught in my reflection as I stare out the window at the quiet city beneath me.  The sky is still dark and the city is still, resting.  I am standing against a window in my downtown, high-rise loft. Swaddled in my jammies, my hands embrace a warm cup of coffee, and I bask in the soft glow of my Christmas tree lights that are just a little bit too early in the season, taking in the peace of the morning. Ever since I can remember, I have been a morning person-a super early morning person to be precise.

 

My love of mornings started when I was young. I credit my love of mornings to my Grammie and those precious moments we shared in the early light of day with me in my jammies, her with her coffee, making breakfast for the family.  They were the moments of my childhood that I remember fondly as she reflected on life as she cooked.  She taught me the secret to smooth grits and the way of life with her words of wisdom. 

 

Southern Grammies, have a particular way with words of wisdom.  They seem old-timey and sometimes outdated, yet they always have authentic truth.  They feel raw and strange to the mind of a child but weirdly familiar to an adult. She had many.  

 

Some would make me laugh. 

 

Some would make me roll my eyes. 

 

Some stayed forever.

 

As I think about these moments, the one-liner that floods my mind is,  “Remember the good times because they get you through the bad times.”  

 

Perhaps it is because with each year, it reveals more and more of the accuracy in her words.  Perhaps, it is pulling at my own reflection of all the places I have experienced-both physical and emotional.  

 

In my 42 years on earth I have been a lot of places!  Raised as a child of grandparents and parents in the airline industry, travel was sort of a built-in part of my life and it has remained.  I have traveled to four of the seven continents and over 22 countries. Travel has gifted me to hands and feet painted with henna for an ornate wedding in India, a great meal over the sunset in Italy, toasting my first year wedding anniversary with French Champagne in France, swimming with Humpback whales in the Dominican Republic, celebration as I crossed the finish line of the New York marathon, and the midnight hike to witness the sunrise in Hawaii.

 

These moments have allowed me to revel at God’s majesty both in scenery and in his people. These experiences have allowed me to see God’s goodness.  These experiences have taught me valuable lessons about my day-to-day life.   It has also exposed me to the sheer wonderment of his work in creating travel vessels that deny the basic aspects of air and water.  I mean think about it-an airplane defies gravity and a large cruise ship defies sinking!  It reminds me of the awe in which Genesis was written and the beauty and amazement of everything God has created.

 

It is pretty amazing to stop and think about, right?

 

The better part of these experiences is that I know God wants me to experience and enjoy all that he has created. He wants us to marvel at his work around the world. He allows us the gift of travel in our physical bodies to experience just how vast this creation Earth is and how much he loves us-all of us.

 

He uses these experiences to also reveal to our hearts that our physical world is only one world of experience. For in this life, we experience the emotional places too and boy, oh boy, have I been to so many of those places, if I listed them out we would be here for days!

 

The emotional places I am talking about are the everyday places we experience in our hearts and in our minds.  These are the moments of euphoria like the day we found out we made the volleyball team, our wedding day, the birth of our children and grandchildren, when we received a well earned promotion, and countless other moments of joy.  These are also the emotional places of stress, anxiety, fear, and unknown. These experiences have taught me valuable lessons about my day-to-day life.

 

It is pretty amazing to stop and think about, right?

 

The emotional places are often less glamorous than the physical places but by no means any less significant.  These are the places in our life where God calls us to appreciate and give thanks to the blessings that he gives to us daily! From the simple pleasure of making coffee in a Keurig, to indoor plumbing, to stable internet so you can check Facebook; all the way to the moments of greater gratitude like a clean health report, news that people we care about are safe during a storm, or relief that a loved one is okay.  

 

Oh the places we will go.  

 

For we have been so many places already and there are indeed more that await.  God’s beauty and love awaits us at every place we travel.  He assures us that everything he does is for good-our good.

 

It is pretty amazing to stop and think about, right?

 

Additional Reading: Psalm 104:10-13, 24; Psalm 66:4; Isaiah 44:23

 

Lord, I come to you today thankful and grateful for the experiences, people, and places that I have been.  My heart is always in awe of you and that awe is magnified when my eyes bear witness to the splendid colors of your sky, the vastness of your ocean, and the beauty of your mountains.  I am thankful for the means, the ability, and the freedom to travel to the different places you have created as part of earth.  Those experiences have created wonder, tolerance, understanding, and gratitude and I know that those experiences have brought me closer to you. I know Lord, that I have been often less thankful of the emotional places that I have been; both good and not as good.  The good places have been really good!  These places have been filled with memories, experiences, moments, people, happiness, joy, and love.  They are also the places when it is easy to be caught up in my own human condition and to be less reliant that these are too your places.  The not so good places have been hard, sometimes really hard. They are places that have been occupied by fear, unknowns, sadness, grief, wonderment, and loss. They are the places where leaning into you is often my solid ground for I need you to ensure me of your presence, your strength, and your love. Lord like the physical places I have been, these emotional places have created a deeper sense of faith, love, trust, and gratitude.  Lord, everything that you do is for my good and I am so grateful for all of the places I have been and the places I have yet to go.  I feel you by my side always and I know that you are my protector, my center , and love everlasting.  Thank you for allowing my heart to be open to receive you and all the abundant blessings you deliver to me daily. In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

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