2017 has marked a new season in my life. A beautiful home, new neighborhood, fresh daily rhythms, big leaps of faith and bold adventures have marked this time with grace, gratitude, and growth.
In the last month, I’ve clearly seen God’s his unmerited favor, poured upon me. My new home and neighborhood is one of the greatest examples of God’s amazing grace in my life.
I still shake my head that I’m sitting here, in my beautiful corner office, with sunshine streaming through the windows, wind chimes cheerfully singing outside and a steaming mug of coffee beside me. My home has been such an overwhelming gift and clear representation of God’s amazing grace.
Then there are my wonderful neighbors, when I meet them shoveling snow or taking Belle for a walk around the block I feel this nudge of confirmation that this HOME and exactly where I’m meant to be.
But I don’t want to forget that there is so much grace in the little things. His grace is evident to me through the sunshine on a brisk winter day, encouraging words from a friend, a stunning sunset, or much-needed energy to finish the week strong.
When we recognize God’s gift of grace in our lives, a heart of gratitude is close behind. As the saying goes “Gratitude turns what we have into enough”. When we stop and give thanks our eyes are open to the abundance we have been given.
Buying my first home hasn’t come without its challenges (Hello snow blowing and shoveling before work!) but I’ve learned to look at the challenges through a lens of gratitude.
Last year I began the habit of writing down a daily “grace & gratitude” on my calendar. Sometimes the gifts were simple & joyful: a sunset, steaming cup of coffee or note from a friend, and other times I was grateful for opportunities to learn from mistakes or make a fresh start.
We are called to “give thanks in all circumstance” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). To me that means being on the lookout to find that one thing to praise God for every single day, even on the days when I just want to pull the covers over my head.
I’m a pretty optimistic person, yet it took the time to develop a rhythm of seeing God’s grace and blessing in each day. This thread of growth is vital towards cultivating a rich and abundant life. Some of the hardest lessons in life refine and grow us into the person God created us to be.
So friends, when I look at the year to come (hey, February 1st is the new January 1st) I desire this new season to be marked with grace, gratitude, and growth.
Some ways I’m choosing grace, gratitude, and growth in 2017.
- Sharing God’s grace and goodness through gathering consistently around the table with those I love. I’ve got something fun planned for this year and will soon share details!
- Sending happy mail to friends & family. How encouraging would these postcards from Cultivate What Matters Shop look peeking out from your bill pile?
- Embracing margin and “grace days”. I don’t know about you all but whenever I have a get-together or appointment cancel, my first instinct is to fill that spot back up. This year I’m giving myself grace and praising God for some unexpected free time.
- I’m continuing to cultivate a heart of gratitude through journaling praises and daily gifts in my Val Marie Gratitude Journal
- Meeting my mentor bi-weekly for coffee (or let’s be honest wine) chats. Her wisdom, encouragement, and truth-telling has been some of the biggest catalysts for personal growth in my life.
How about you friends? What would it look like to for your year to be marked with grace, gratitude and growth?