I felt like I was right alongside Ann, walking through the Louvre, discovering the ruins of ancient Rome, breathless standing before Notre Dame. The imagery is powerful, and it feels natural to have intimacy with God when you are face-to-face with His majesty in such a tangible way. This chapter reads like a scene from a beautiful movie, where the music soars and the sights overwhelm our senses. But it’s Paris, right? And how do we sense the presence of mighty God as strongly in the mundane as we do staring at the crossbeams in a Parisian church?
For me, it doesn’t take a night of flying and an exotic trip to be tempted to believe I’m one step away from this intimacy. I can find myself thinking, “Well, if I had such and such, it would be a whole lot easier. I mean, if I just lived a little but in the country I would sip hot coffee and have communion with God. Or, you know, if I didn’t have all of this work to do. Then I would have those moments where I settle into Who He is and stop being so caught up in everything else…”
It’s always about a change in scenery, isn’t it?
Never mind the characters, the script, the director, or any of that. Because I just have a feeling that if I could shift my backdrop a little, it would all fall into place.
As I got to this chapter, I cried. I remembered days when I was little and I would swing in the backyard and have visions of what my life would be like as a mom one day. It looked like a “Countrytime lemonade” commercial, and in that place I was settled For me at least, this chapter made me realize how much gratitude I have forfeited by living in the “sure to be better” future instead of discovering and embracing right now.
I am embarrassed to tell you how many times I imagine “what it will be…,” which, of course, is always dreamier than what it actually is. And then, when you’re three rocking chairs short of the way the movie trailer played in your mind-well what then? How do we find gratitude in that?
I realized I had neglected to be grateful for this. Not what might be, but this. Now.
What I saw in my mind’s eye as the camera clicked, Ann in front of the painting of the Last Supper on page 219, is a woman who recognized the beauty of that moment.
Yes, she was in Paris.
And yes, it is a spectacular work of art.
But is it any different for me, watching my husband as he mows our pitiful grass and the kids run around like wild maniacs because the sun finally came out? I don’t believe so. I want to be so wildly aware of God’s love for me that the scenery is irrelevant. Don’t you?
So today, as I closed my book, I sat in the sun for a few minutes and I let gratitude spill out. I didn’t imagine that one day their clothes would match, or that they would stop arguing over who the rickety scooter belonged to. I looked around at everything that needed to be done, fixed, rearranged, altered, changed…and I simply said this:
Thank you, Lord.
The cry of our hearts as we have walked through these pages with you is as simple as that. Grab these moments, because they are fleeting and we aren’t entitled to a bit of it. Let the sun fall on your face a little more often.
Live intentionally as the bride of Christ, seeking to bless Him with what feels feeble and intangible, and believe that those three words can continue to string together a life of gratitude.
Thank you, Lord.
We count each of you as gifts, and we have genuinely treasured this season together. We are praying that the Lord used this book to speak truth into your heart, and to give strength to weary bones. We are so excited about the way the Lord is using to use this ministry, and we pray He continues to speak through the books we choose, bringing glory to Himself in it all.
Richest blessings to all of you~
PS – Just because this is the last chapter of One Thousand Gifts, this is not the end of Bloom (in)courage. Come back on Wednesday and Friday for more, new One Thousand Gifts content. And everyday, come count your gifts in the community of praise at www.onethousandgifts.com …
Then starting next week Sunday, we will unveil some fun upcoming book club plans.