Monday, January 30, 2012

grace poured down {Remembering December: Part 4}

For the month of December, I counted doggedly to 1000, scribbling blue-inked gifts lists across fields of white paper, pounding new habit-nails on top of complaints, criticism and stress…. Hungering for joy.  In those moments, joy came slow, if it came at all.  I didn’t feel much of anything.  
But now, warm January sun streaming through the window, paging back through lists of hundreds and hundreds of graces - all poured down in just one month - the joy begins to well, deep and strong.  
All is grace.  I lived it, counted it, for 31 days straight, over 30 gifts every day (and for each one written, so many more slid past unnoticed).  
I review the gifts of December, and I remember… 

December 26

834. Cleaning out the toy cupboard 
835. Presents to give away
836. Poor people to give to
837. Ben carrying Arli’s present all the way there by himself, bouncing the bag along the ground, refusing to let me take it

838. Boys learning the joy of giving
839. Three boys, with no common language except joy and boyhood, playing wild in a threadbare living room
840. The ability to buy this family a ton of coal
841. That Jesus loves them enough to die for them

855. Having the perfect Christmas present for a friend: bamboo knitting needles
856. Her genuine pleasure
857. Being able to say God arranged it (I bought them in August)
858. The hope that their curiosity in God will grow
859. She and her husband pairing up with my boys to “box”
860. Fits of laughter all around

861. The stars on the way home862. Explaining to William how God knows each star by name, 
and William saying, “Does He just call them ‘stars’?” 
 “No, each one has a name.” 
 “What are they?” 
 “I don’t know - why don’t you ask God?” 
 “God, what are the names of the stars?”
863. The faith of a child

December 27

886. Twenty packages of cookies assembled for the neighbors
887. Planning ahead
888. Thirteen homes visited
889. Thirteen presents given

892. Thirteen conversations
893. Two or three interested parties
894. The Holy Spirit’s discernment
895. Words to explain things in this language
896. Open homes
897. This friendly, hospitable culture
898. The hope of glory

899. Discovering that our new street has four other ethnicities besides ours
890. James serving lunch when I got back 

909. The way Ben cuddles into me when I read to him before naptime
910. Led to open the word during rest time
911. The joy and challenge of personal goal setting
912. The way my “Year of Letting Go” (more on this later) is overlapping and dovetailing with my “Year of Here” 

December 29

933. Grace for a new day
934. Avalon’s “How Great Thou Art”
935. Climbing out of the pit
936. That Your lovingkindness never ceases
937. And Your mercies are new every morning
938. Building new habits, one nail at a time 939. Hope
940. Being in the 900’s at the end of this year
941. Being blind before and now SEEING
942. Fighting crankiness with thanks 

972. Water for showers and laundry and dishes
973. When I turned Avalon up loud, Will exclaiming, “Let’s get all the instruments! PRAISE GOD!”
974. How gospel music can make it fun to wash the dishes
975. Shaving my legs in stages to get ready for our holiday at the beach in two weeks -- the bigger the smooth patch, the closer we are to having a break! 

December 31

991. Breakfast in bed! Banana pancakes and coffee!
992. 6 happy years of marriage 993. My husband gifting me time for a lovely walk by myself
994. Poetry forming
995. Glory all around: mountains, fields and sky

998. How blessed we truly are
999. My husband’s gifts to me: poetry, a promise of dates to plan, a promise of music to make

1000. The privilege of living in this place, with these people
1001. Salmon for New Year’s dinner!
1002. Fireworks in our backyard!
1003. Mulled white wine with rosemary, lemon and honey
1004. A fire in our fireplace
1005. Counting past one thousand gifts in one month, and knowing they will just keep on coming -- and coming -- forever

a new way of seeing
like a bird on a wire
awareness of grace
turns commonplace
into glory and fire
like wood to a tree
like waves to the sea
let thanks become
the fiber of me


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