looking through me

Tag: blessing

counting to 10,000

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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I move through life picking up pebbles—each one a remembrance, a blessing:

Grandma’s smile.

A hug.

The full moon.

A shared meal.

The tree that sounds like the ocean.

Cuddling a baby.

The sunrise.

A word of encouragement.

Being present.

My niece saying my name.

The feel of the breeze.


A lesson learned.


But my hands are small. I pick the pebbles up, perhaps I hold a few at a time; I make mental—and sometimes written—note of them, but then I drop them. I pick up and drop them . . . pick up and drop them . . . pick up and drop them.

And I forget. I may pick up the same stone two times or nine, I don’t know. They slip through my fingers and out of my mind.

Gone . . . gone where?

Today I turned around, and I did not see a trail of scattered gravel—no, I saw those ordinary, easy-to-miss pebbles created a collective altar of gratitude.


The moments were only moments, not momentous—each one an average, everyday bit of rock. There were no boulders. No marble. No polished granite. No glittering gemstones. But together those pebbles form a mighty memorial.

They tell a story of great faithfulness and grace. My story. A story I tend to overlook as incomplete and unremarkable. But today I see the assemblage of blessing—the people, the experiences, the beauty—and I see the fingerprints of God.

So I pick up the next pebble and the next pebble and whisper my thankfulness.


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