A few years ago, I was at a ceramic shop in a town near where I live and there was a cute little jar that said “Thankful Jar.” I thought about what a great idea that was, went home, and immediately changed my useless candy jar into a thankful jar. Each time something happens that has been a special gift to me or my family from the Lord I write it down, and it goes into the thankful jar.
I hadn’t realized the special things that God was doing for me personally until I started writing them down. This happened the summer that my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I knew at that point I was really going to have to work at being thankful for anything in my life because I was so depressed. My dad and I were very close and he was probably the most influential person in my life. What was life going to be like without him? The thought of it sent me to a very dark chasm. As the days grew more difficult to bear due to the severity of his cancer, I started to spend a lot of time in prayer and Bible reading. I was especially steeped in the Psalms as I was journaling through the Psalms with the Ladies Bible Study at my church. It was at this point that I started to see the little gifts that God was giving to me on almost a daily basis that were carrying me through.
When I was a young girl, my mom used to give me little gifts now and then. Sometimes it would be a note in my lunchbox or a coloring book when I would stay home from school with the flu, but whatever it was she always seemed to know what I would like.
My dad on the other hand would only give one gift a year, and that was on Valentine’s Day. He would go to the little drug store in our small town and buy something special that was meant just for me.
It was the little gifts that my parents gave to me that seemed to mean more to me than all the big things that I would ask for on my birthday or Christmas. Somehow they just knew what I liked, and it was those small gifts that I remember the most.
When I was going through those dark days of watching my dad slip quickly away, God sent some very special gifts that were tailored just for me at some very difficult times, just like my parents had for me when I was growing up.
“I had taken so many things for granted because life seemed good.”
I started to realize that as wonderful as my dad had been to me all those years, my Heavenly Father was being far more wonderful to me with His gifts. They were truly a reminder to me that God was loving me through the times that I had never imagined I could go through.
Since that time, I have started to write down those little gifts that God has given me and put them in my thankful jar. The gifts have not stopped. I still have some pretty difficult days of missing my dad and the way life used to be, but typically when those days come, I can expect a special delivery from my Heavenly Father.
Recently, I was walking in my neighborhood and saw the most beautiful flowers in a yard that I had passed by. I told the Lord how much I loved those flowers. I was wondering where they had come from because I had never seen any like them before. It was the very next day when I went to Lowe’s to get a few more pansies for my front yard that I spotted those beautiful flowers that I had thought I would never find. Not only that, but they were on the clearance rack for three dollars. I bought them immediately and felt as if the Lord had sent me a personal bouquet of flowers. It was one of those small gifts that my Heavenly Father tailored just for me.
There are many stories like this that I have, and I have been putting them in my thankful jar. I wonder sometimes if I had never gone through those dark days of Dad’s sickness and death, if I would have even looked for the Lord in the things He was giving me. I had taken so many things for granted because life seemed good.
Whether your life gets turned upside down or you are going through life with relatively few changes, remember to look for the Lord in your day. He will show up and surprise you in the most unique ways that will leave you absolutely giddy about how much He loves and cares for you.
Matthew 7:11 says that if our earthly fathers know how to give good gifts unto [their] children, how much more shall [your] Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
Do you have a candy jar? Hopefully, not anymore!
Written by Tammy Blumenthal. This article was published in the Winter 2015 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine. To contact Tammy, leave us a comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Facebook.