Beauty can take your breath away. Soft hues of color and reflection in the water have a calming effect on our souls. This scene is from Northland International University, a beloved place in my heart. It is a remote location in Wisconsin close to the border of Canada. It snows a lot there. Living in this place was very similar to where I grew up in Brumunddal, Norway. The ground stays covered with snow from late November to mid-April.
This picture also represents great sorrow for me. Sorrow that took my breath away. Northland closed in 2015. Our expectations to teach and serve at this university for the remainder of our years were destroyed. We planned one way, but God directed a different way. God is God, and I am not.
Here in beautiful, yet breathtaking sorrow that God ordained, th(i)nkful was birthed.
th(i)nkful – a determined choice to download grace/strength from the Lord to think thanks about every circumstance that comes my way and express that thanks orally or in a written form.
I choose to trust in your sovereignty, God. Because You have promised that You will never forsake me (Hebrews 13:5), and the fact that life is a vapor (James 4:14), I can, through Your help, think thanks about even the saddest things in my life.
- Northland served its purpose
- David and I had the privilege of developing so many relationships for the short time we served there
- Sometimes wonderful things have to be birthed out of very difficult origins
- God is writing the story, not me
- Bjorkeli, the name we gave our little cottage up there in the northwoods, will always be such a sweet memory
I do not know what you are dealing with at the moment. Maybe you are doing just fine. Maybe you are not moving through any specifically trying times at all. Maybe you are not doing well and struggling to cope. In all circumstances, give thanks. All.
photo credit to Kevin Moses
Relating Think and Thank
Did you know that the English root word of “thank” comes from think or feel?
In order to be thankful, you have to first think, to formulate in your mind the things you are thankful for. It doesn’t seem like such a grand new discovery, but it was to me. I could not just muster up a general spirit of thankfulness. I had to think of specific things in my mind. I had to ponder what I was thankful for.
So … Th(i)nkful
th(i)nkful is a blending of thinking and thanking, and is designed to cultivate thinking thanks.
It is estimated that a person may have up to 50,000 thoughts a day. Many of these thoughts are automatic thoughts because you have conditioned your mind to do something over and over again. My desire is to inspire you to develop a brain pattern that makes you automatically look for the things that you can think thanks for in every circumstance that you encounter.
Connecting Good With A Giver
Being th(i)nkful is not just being thankful for; it is being thankful to. It is delivering that beautiful present of your thanks to whom it is due. God, first and foremost. He has given you the air you breathe at this second. He is ultimately the One worthy to receive our th(i)nkful gift.
What if we just harnessed 5 of those 50,000 thoughts each day to focus on numerating 5 things that we are thankful for and wrap that gift up and present it to the Lord. Let me give you an example:
I am thankful that:
- I am able to breathe well right now. No coughing or wheezing.
- My eyes work great. I can see color and even focus with my glasses on.
- My incredible husband helped me get this blog started even though I feel such fear and trepidation.
- This afternoon I got to WeChat with our youngest child in China and her face made me rejoice.
- I can speak a foreign language. God let me learn that as a child growing up in Norway. That is just so cool!
Thank You, God.