It was 1:00 a.m., and I couldn’t sleep. This was not surprising considering my hectic schedule of the day just past and the thoughts tumbling through my mind at break-neck speed— so many decisions and so much to contemplate. I curled up in a tight ball and began to pray, seeking peace and the ability to get some sleep.
But sleep wouldn’t come. I lay there, recalling something my parents and grandparents have often told me; when you can’t sleep, perhaps God is keeping you awake for a reason and you need to pray for someone. So that night, in the dark of my bedroom, I found myself praying. First, I lifted up two friends in prayer— both facing very different situations but very much in need of direction and God’s peace. Then my prayers turned to anything that came to mind.
One by one, I shared my requests with Him until I found myself turning to praise. In all of the discussions I’ve heard on prayer, I know it is usually better to begin a prayer time with praise and adoration, but that night I had begun with a heavy heart, burdened for the ones I loved. As my thoughts finally turned to praise and adoration, I found I couldn’t stop expressing my thanks.
I praised Him for His provision as I have lived independently and started my career over the past four years. I praised Him for the incredible people in my life that have come beside me through everything. I praised Him for His guidance and direction in my two years in grad school and for the mentors that have helped pave the way for me. With tears running down my face, I praised Him for His incredible timing in bringing The Promise to my readers and for providing me with a team of individuals that are drawing together to stand behind the book and all of its promotional needs.
When I finally stopped praying and praising, my eyes were overflowing with tears, but a huge smile was on my face. As I went into the bathroom to blow my nose (I know it sounds gross to talk about blowing one’s nose, but hear me out), I saw my smile in the mirror and I had to laugh a little. It was amazing when I realized the pure joy that had come over me in the dark of my small bedroom. My heart was lighter and I could feel His presence like no other time in my life.
A few weeks ago, I visited a friend’s blog in which the writer detailed a challenge to her readers. She talked about keeping a thankfulness journal, where at the end of the day, she writes down the little things that warrant thankfulness toward God. She recounted that it was difficult to come up with even a few reasons to be thankful in the beginning, but as she has continued in keeping the thankfulness journal, she has seen a gradual shift to giving thanks more and more every day. Burdens and heartaches do not seem to carry the same weight anymore, and she can exude an attitude of gratitude in her day-to-activities.
So my encouragement to all of you today is to possess this attitude of gratitude. It can be done as simply as thanking Him for the little things every day and then gradually praising Him for the greater blessings. Friends, I can’t wait until you experience the joy that came over me just a few nights ago! Praise God for his faithfulness!