By Lydia Jentzen Will

A life contemplating the blessings of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ.”
― Ann VoskampOne Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

It was a day during Lent. My little ones watched me take down the crayon box and select a sheet of paper. “What is Mommy doing?  Mama, are you making a picture?” They crowded around the table, Mommy taking the time to color something they just had to see. After a few moments, I held it up – a single white sheet of paper,  simple words.

 “It needs a flower, Mom.” Dinah urged, and I relented – flowers are a grace, so I drew one right alongside. She was satisfied, despite my lack of artistic talent.
I taped it to the wall in the small space between two doorposts – the gateway between the kitchen and dining room. They pressed close around me to see. “Gratitude Wall.  In everything, give thanks.” Ben read aloud. “What’s a gratitude wall?”
“Gratitude Wall.  In everything, give thanks.”  Ben read aloud.  “What’s a gratitude wall?”

“Here, I’ll show you.” From the drawer in the kitchen, I took out a small stack of miniature post-its and a pencil.  I wrote on it “my sweet kids and husband. ~Lydia.” I pressed it onto the wall just below the sign and smoothed out the paper under my palm.

I’ve been writing down the blessings in a private journal for years. Years of babies and birthdays and beauty all around. Years of hard days and hot tears and crying out for direction. And we go around the table most meals, each one contributing their blessing of the day. But I wanted something more. A visual reminder.

Each child wrote down their blessings. Some wanted to do more, but with a finite amount of post its and an infinite amount of blessings, I restricted them to one per day until I had a chance to buy more. “Can we fill the whole wall up, Mom?” They went off to play that day, brimming with the happiness that comes from gratitude.

What happened next was more than I had banked on.

“Put a blessing on our gratitude wall!” they all shouted when my sisters stopped in for a visit. Grandpa left one too, and Uncle Noah and Aunt Amanda. The kids read each one.

I pass through that doorway a hundred times or more each and every day, and those little post its of gratitude are like flags of goodwill urging me on.  This life is pure gift, and even the hard things are holy.

This life is pure gift, and even the hard things are holy.

I still need to go buy more post its. But gratitude cannot be held back by lack of paper. It’s fast becoming a family trait around here, and I’m discovering that the more we count the gifts, the more we see them. And the more we see His love all around, the more we can share.

And the more we see His love all around, the more we can share.

How do you create an atmosphere of gratitude within your home?  Hint: try the wall.  It’s contagious!

This post was first published on Lydia’s blog and re-posted with permission. You can read the original post here.

We will celebrate this season of gratitude at our all site Thanksgiving Eve worship service on Wednesday, November 26, 7 p.m. at St. Luke-Ann Arbor. Please join us!