Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Grateful Heart

I’m trying to cultivate a more grateful heart. And I am learning so much from others who have crossed my path, such as fellow bloggers and from inspirational essays and articles I find on-line. People who keep me mindful of how important it is to look for Blessings in our everyday lives. I always find it so easy to be thankful when my prayers are answered with “Yes”, and it’s so easy for me to be grateful when my life is running smoothly as it is now. But it takes some cultivating of my heart and soul to remember to be grateful even when my prayers are answered in the negative, and especially when I feel my life is in a downward spiral. It is during periods of stress that I have to be watchful and on my guard, because it is in those challenging times of my life that it is easy for me to forget God’s Blessings. And it is when I am longing that it is easy to overlook what I have already been Gifted. And particularly when someone or something in my life has gone astray, it is then that I must pay attention and be especially vigilant over my heart. I know it is much better to be thankful for what I am Blessed with, it does no good to look back and dwell on that which is lost. I will not find fulfillment in looking back, it is only in trusting in God and in His Goodness that I will be led to completion.

I know that in the past when I’ve been anxious about a situation, if I just let go and put my trust in God, worry begins to subside. And I’m sure if I learn to count my Blessings in all times of trouble not only will I be more contented, my relationship with God will deepen.

Unfortunately, there are days when I find myself brushing aside my daily gifts and forgetting to thank God as I hurry through my day, but I came across a little exercise that might help me to concentrate on developing a grateful heart.

I read recently a beautiful idea written about by Karen O’Connor who said that she and her husband took a gift bag and labeled it “Our Blessings” and everyday they would write on slips of paper the things that they were grateful for that day and placed it in the bag. She said it was amazing to watch and see how quickly the bag was filled. And once it was filled they would empty it out and read them together. She said they were often surprised to see that they each had written down little kindnesses that they had done for each other and how each of them had considered those little things a Blessing and it made them more aware of how they treated each other, and it helped to strengthen not only their relationship with each other but also their relationship with God. That is an idea I’d like very much to start practicing.

I also loved these wise words written by Reverend Bruce Goettsche:
True gratefulness leads us to love God for Who He Is rather than What He has done for us. We should express gratitude to God for His Gift because we appreciate the Love and Affection that prompted His Gift and we should not express gratitude for the gift alone.

Reverend Goettsche went on the say that it is the same with any gift, it is the giver we should appreciate more than the gift alone, for it is the love of the giver that is the true gift.

And I thought about how true that is in our lives, we are oftentimes found to say “it’s the thought that counts” especially when the gift is not a particularly welcome one. And I think we sometimes forget that fact in our relationship with God. There are times in our lives when God has given us a gift we may not really want, we may feel we have no use for it, but we should be mindful to thank Him anyway, and be open to the possibility that His Gift on any given day may not seem very helpful to us, but it may very well come in handy in the future.

Thanking God today for His Gifts Great and Small
Whether I understand their value or not
I am thankful for them all

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima:Our Lady of Fatima is the title given to the vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary that appeared before three shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13th, the Fatima holiday. The three children were Lucia Santos and her cousins, siblings Jacinta and Francisco Marto. The title of Our Lady of the Rosary is also sometimes used in reference to the same apparition because the children related that the Lady in the apparition specifically identified herself as "the Lady of the Rosary."
Mary came to the little village of Fatima, which had remained faithful to the Catholic Faith during the persecutions by the government.
There were many messages given to the three shepherd children but I love to focus on the positive end result.
Our Lady came with a message from God. God’s Promise was that no matter how black things will become in our future, in the end Good will triumph over evil and eventually there will be world peace.


  1. I can so relate to this line from your post:
    "It is during periods of stress that I have to be watchful and on my guard, because it is in those challenging times of my life that it is easy for me to forget God’s Blessings."

    I've also found what sometimes comes to us as challenges are really blessings in disguise. Sometimes it takes years later for me to realize this. I'll look back and think, "That was so hard, but look what I got as a result."

    You have me thinking today Eileen!

  2. Oh Eileen you are being so serious today,although I found your thoughts very beautiful and I agree with all that you said. We must count our blessings often and right now I am counting you!

  3. Oh, Diana, believe me, I count all of you new friends that I've met a Blessing too! I'm so glad we've crossed each other's paths. You all have such beautiful life stories to tell and you all have such beautiful spirits!
    Jill, Marcy, Diana, Jerelene, and so many others that I visit and who comment here, you all make me strive to be a better person, you all help me to be a better person, and I am so grateful to all of you for sharing your lives!
    Love and Prayers to you all!