counting to 10,000

by Kristen

I carried a slim, black notebook around for a year. It went everywhere: work, church, dinners out, small group, Israel, the car wash, hospitals, memorial services, holidays, the gas station.

It was nothing fancy. A nondescript, 5″ x 8.75″ ruled notebook with the lyrics of a song taped inside the front cover and a picture of my grandparents tucked inside the back cover. After a year in my purse it was a little worn, but it was at the ready.[1]

On July 29, 2013 I entered my first few numbers on a list. One year later there were 2,175 ways I’d seen God in 365 days. A good start on my personalized list of 10,000 reasons my heart can sing of God’s goodness.[2]

And it has changed—and is changing—my life. I slow down and notice the abundance of good in days I would otherwise have written off as inconsequential. As I sit by hospital beds or cuddle newborns, I see God’s hand in the hard goodbyes and the joyful welcomes. I see Him in the sunset and feel Him in the hugs of friends. I hear Him in the quiet. I taste Him in shared meals and salty ocean air.

Though I don’t reread much of what I’ve written, there is power in keeping a record. When I start to forget how I have been tangibly loved by God and His people, I can flip through the pages and be reminded. I have learned and grown—sometimes in leanings and sometimes in great leaps. He is not leaving me where I was. I have proof.

I tire from repetition. Unless I shake up daily spiritual disciplines, they slink right out of my routine. I’m not a good journal-er unless I’m traveling. But every day of the first year is in this notebook.[3] Even though I was occasionally a week behind staring at a calendar and thinking hard about which day I got the email or felt the breeze or realized there’s a connection between surrender and transformation.

Because it matters.

It matters that God is active and present— I spent days upon years looking past Him—and I can’t afford to keep missing Him. When I can see Him in the small moments, I understand nothing He has made is trivial. And He made it all.

So today I launch into a third year of gratitude as I dust for God’s fingerprints on each day, chronicling them as I go.


[1] The first notebook began to disintegrate, but its contents were transferred to a more durable second notebook.

[2] The song lyrics taped in the notebook (and the inspiration to start this list of 10,000) are Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”

[3] The second year included an eight-month break in my consistency, though I am back on track now and through 7/28/2017 I have 2824 entries on my list.


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