A Heart of Thanksgiving

I love this time of year. I especially love how time turns as we head towards Christmastime. I have especially enjoyed reading the “…thankful for…” tweets and Facebook posts from my friends. Wordless pictures on Instagram simply thanking God for everything filled my days with smiles. God made such creative people! 
I didn’t do any social media things this year. I decided after last year’s Thanksgiving, to skip it this year. What you need to understand is that I fell into the trap of trying to find the most creative way of communicating my thankfulness for the wrong reason. I saw that I played the part of feeling thankful really well and I did my best to sell the greatness of my life because I craved the praises of my friends. I realized that all of my posts, tweets and the occasional picture, meant nothing if I hadn’t expressed it to God first. I felt convicted and like one of my Profs used to say, “Being convicted by the truth is not the same as being changed by the truth.” So I made some changes.
I decided to look in Scripture first to see who had a heart of thankfulness. I didn’t have to look far. After all, I had committed myself to praying through the Psalms last year. Can you believe I spent the whole time skipping over the fact that David had a true heart of thanksgiving? In his despair, laments, joy, praising, in all of his life, David thanked God. Just read a few Psalms today and see what I’m talking about. So I followed David's example and I did my best to pray with a heart of thanksgiving.
So what happens when you spend time in the Word, in prayer, shifting your perspective towards the Someone who loves unconditionally? Everything affects you different. David understood this—that no matter how much he sinned, with all of his imperfections, God’s love and grace covered him completely. God had chosen him and he knew it. 
I spent this whole month of November thanking God for everything—I mean everything, including the fact that I have more grey hair now than I care to admit. Those beautiful grey hairs that I color every six weeks, remind me to stay humble. They remind me that I’m aging and they show me that I have plenty of flaws. They also reinforce the fact that I am loved unconditionally. I don’t need the praise of men to give me a sense of purpose. I need the gospel—I need to know how much God loves me because His love never changes. And guess what? The little grey hairs in my life no longer create big issues for me.
As we get ready to turn the corner towards Christmastime, take a minute right now to focus on God’s love. Shut off your computer—after you finish this blog, of course—and pray. Pray and thank God for all that has happened to you this past year. Thank Him for how He has provided for you and thank Him for His Son. Thank Him for everything—I mean everything! Thank Him for the gospel of grace that permeates every single part of your life. And let Him know how blessed you are to know that He chose you. 
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14, NLT).

Raquel Wroten (MAMC, Dallas Theological Seminary) was born in McAllen, Texas but has lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area most of her life. Raised by a single mother, Raquel grew up knowing the meaning of diversity, creativity, and chaos through her four brothers and three sisters. The greatest gift she ever received came from her mother who taught her that living as a believer doesn’t mean perfection, it means grace. Raquel met her husband Rick at a church retreat in Oklahoma on a cold November weekend. They dated for a year and got married in June 1992. A couple of years later, Rick graduated with his ThM, and they welcomed Joshua. . .then Abby. . .and surprise, it’s Anna! Intermixing their cultures, the Wrotens have established a variety of traditions along with interesting combinations of food. Raquel believes that ministry begins at home so she finds new ways of serving those she calls her own. Raquel serves as editor of DTS Magazine and enjoys writing (in English, Spanish and Spanglish), cooking, coffee, education and serving up a feast for her friends and family.

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