Filling the land with thanksgiving

In my last post I talked about changing my wasteland into a landfill. To transform a wasteland, which by definition is devoid of anything humanizing, into a landfill, you need fill. I wanted clean fill, edifying fill. The fill I used was thanksgiving. Ann Voskamp wrote a book called 1000 Gifts that was released in January 2011. In it was the treasure that got me through the wasteland. Ann said, “to live life fully one has to give thanks for everything. Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives.” (p. 39) Thanksgiving prepares the way for “fullest salvation that leads us away from the bitter, angry and resentful lives and all the sins that would estrange us from Him.” (p. 40) This was revolutionary to me. I had to learn how to do this, but I was in good company. Paul said, “I have learned to be content with whatever I have…I have learned the secret of living in every situation… (Philippians 4:11-12) So I spent 2011 learning and it felt like what my daughter told me she experienced when she was in boot camp as a Naval recruit—-grueling! I went home exhausted and completely spent every single day. Where was the easy yoke? Where was the light burden?

I didn’t get it yet, but I kept reporting for duty every day for that whole year. I was keeping a gratitude list, taking pictures of things I was thankful for, and doing the best I could to do good work in the midst of diminishing resources. On January 5, 2012, I wrote about how unnatural thanksgiving is on a good day, but when things are going poorly, thanksgiving is just barely on the radar. I wrote in my blog how unacceptable this was to remind myself why. ( Christ, Himself in the midst of a particularly suffocating wasteland, taught us to be thankful in ALL things. On the night He was betrayed broke the bread and gave thanks! I wasn’t on my way to be crucified, but things were suffocatingly oppressive when I wrote that. I didn’t know that the very next day someone would be holding a pillow to my face to snuff out my very last breath.

The next day I was fired from my job. I was working in a wasteland, but it was my wasteland. I knew every inch of it and I had learned to exist in it. I could completely relate to the slaves from Egypt when the water and food ran out in the wilderness and they began to beg Moses to go back to Egypt. In Egypt they knew who their oppressors were. At the hospital, I knew who mine were, too. Of course I did, I worked with and for them every day. But January 6 was my last day. It was the day my wasteland turned into NO land. I was in the wilderness and it felt worse than the wasteland.

Slaves in Egypt

It has been 5 months since my escape from Egypt and I have learned to give thanks. Thanksgiving is clean fill. When I give thanks it affirms that I believe that whatever happens in this life is for my good. (Romans 8:28) It is easier to be obedient when you believe that. In the past 5 months He has proven to me He is trustworthy and that everything is under His control. He has also shown me there is power in praise. That power is transforming ME from bitter, angry and resentful to calm, peace-full and resource-full. I will write more about that for Wednesday when I walk with Ann and we share our spiritual practices. For now, I’d like to thank Him for

#662 His patience while I learn.

#663 a life mate who supports interminably.

#664 children who simply love their parents. My fourth, Abby, is 27 today. Happy Birthday, Abby!

#665 friends who stick closer than I ever imagined possible.

#666 cyber-relationships beyond what I could ask or think.

#667 for beauty in nature.

#668 physical senses, thought processes and spiritual insights.

#669 dogs.

#670 the great cloud of witnesses.

#671 treasure: in earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4:7) and in mysteries hidden for the ages but now revealed in Christ (Col. 1:26).




8 comments on “Filling the land with thanksgiving

  1. Dawn, Do you realize how beautiful your writing is becoming? Is God also preparing you to someday write your story? When I read your words they are every bit as reinforcing as Ann’s were. You have been a good student of hers. I look forward to reading everything you have to write. Hugs, Me

  2. Dear Nancy,

    You are so very sweet. I am a very heavy editor, however. I write a day or two ahead and redo whatever lands here at least a half dozen times until it sounds “publishable”. I really appreciate your “applause,” however, because you are certifiable, ha! By that, I mean you are a truly published author so I am happy that you find the words “beautiful”. All glory to God the Father who alone does all things well.

    It’s a beautiful day in Pennsylvania!

  3. As I read this I start to hear scripture in my heart . . . “the whole earth is filled with His glory” (Is. 6:3) Oh that men (all mankind) would praise the LORD for His goodness and His wonderful works towards the children of men (Ps. 107:8). As you fill your little corner of the world with thanksgiving, it is filling with His glory. I know you inspire others to do the same. Great post, Dawn.

    • Do you know the little hymn Right in the Corner Where You Are? That came to mind as I read your comment. (I can see in my mind’s eye Cora saying, “I know that one!”) Cora reads everything so I’m sure she’s read your comment. Anyway, if my post can bring praises from the lips of His children and those who pass by can see glory THAT is worth it all! Thanks for hearing and seeing, as always.

  4. Isn’t it just great when wastelands become green pastures — simply by having a heart attitude of thanks! I remember in 4th grade we did a project about Egypt. We had a huge . . .bin-like thing — about the size of a table, on legs, but it was deep like a sink. I think they used it to hold ice and then tons of bottles of soda were put in it. Anyways, we filled one side with sand, and the other with water (propped up the one side so the water would stay at the low side.) We built a pyramid with sugar cubes! Then, along the banks of our Nile River, we planted grass seed. Our whole project was to prove how they used the river for irrigation for crops, etc. I never forgot that. Turning wasteland into valuable crops.

    I have to agree with Nancy, your writing is becoming. . . . beautiful, is all I can think of!!! Your heart is in your words, Dawn. And I loved Andrea Dawn’s verses! It is amazing how a thankful heart brightens up a corner with His glory! This was so good today — mainly because I know how heart-wrenchingly real this journey has been for you.

    • You were with me all the way, Cora! That reminds me of Frank Sinatra, but I won’t go there. Anyway, I remember doing an Egyptian project with my Abby during her grade school years. She is still in love with their culture. There is just something about those Egyptians! I hope Mike Azer (my wonderful blogger friend from Egypt) happens by to see we’re loving on his homeland.

      I hope you and Nancy connected and you are well on your way to card heaven. I sense you have many things on your plate right now, but you continue to support me. I want you to know it really means a lot.

      Hugs beyond measure,

  5. Dawn,

    It is so nice to hear more about your story, but then this: He has also shown me there is power in praise.

    Oh, I need that today as my smile is slipping silently away and the pile of work to be done just makes me sad.

    I am going to praise today.

    Thank you for this!

    And thank YOU for joining the community! It’s a blessing to have you!

    -Duane Scott

  6. My young nursing school student/writer hybrid blogging friend,

    It is so good to see you in my comment section. God has placed you front and center in two of the most difficult career paths known on earth: writing and health care. Praise the Lord that you are here in the United States where there is still a modicum of freedom and a bit of cash flow. May you use this “yet open” window to the glory of God. I know you will.

    I spent my preschool years on a pig farm in the care of my grandmother. Take care of that asthma, my young friend,


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