This week, we pause for Thanksgiving. But even on this day set aside for it, our thankfulness feels fleeting; enduring gratitude, elusive. How do we cultivate heartfelt gratefulness that transcends a holiday? For me, reflecting on the people who populate my memories reminds me that once I was blind and now I see – a powerful stimulant for gratitude.

For so many years, I didn’t recognize the glimpses of God’s tender care…

…in my younger sister holding the bus for me when I ran late most mornings. 

…in my campfire girls group serving together in community.

…in my middle school science teacher nurturing a curious spirit.

…in my youth pastor sparking my imagination for the heart of God.

…in my friend sharing a cadaver and many late med school study nights.

God was there. But in my blindness, I missed him in these relationships I took for granted. Yet, he didn’t need my awareness to do his work. All along, he was weaving a beautiful tapestry. As I’m now able to step back and view the full sweep of God’s handiwork, I admire the creative patterns he fashioned, interweaving relationships and experiences that helped me grow, protected me, provided for me, and shaped me into the person I am.

Story sharing and story hearing – these are my work now. Despite all the times I didn’t see God in my own story, I now magnify God’s work in the stories others tell me. Perhaps it’s irony or divine drama – I help others see in their stories what I could not see in my own.

How amazing that God opened my eyes to see that he values me enough to carefully weave every moment of my life! I look back with new eyes and see all that He’s done for me – from the death of Christ onward – and remember that I am loved. Cherished. Treasured. Embraced. His. This is the fuel for a gratitude that endures.

What practices energize your thanksgiving and stimulate a grateful heart?

Shauna Schneider

Shauna Schneider

Shauna Schneider is a surrendered follower of Jesus with an enthusiastic and encouraging nature who yearns to learn and demonstrates wisdom in discernment of Gospel truth. Always aware of the Lord’s leading and the many ways we can hear God’s voice, Shauna’s enthusiasm for her faith and gift for hospitality spill over into a wide network of friends and community connections she loves to serve. Wife to Phil, mother of three adult children, and retired physician, Shauna is cofounder, board member, and ministry director for Flourish San Diego.
Shauna Schneider

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