Ann Voskamp wrote a book in 2011 entitled “1,000 gifts.” In it, she describes the act of giving thanks as an integral, sacred part of her spiritual life. Following her lead, I decided to start a journal of one sentence reminders of things I am grateful for. My entries are not along the lines of ‘thank-you for the blue sky or thank-you for singing birds’ ..not that this isn’t totally fine and wonderful… but my list is more like “Thank you that my mammogram came back normal, thank-you that my husband’s plane landed safely, thank-you that the weather was so beautiful on my son’s wedding day.”
I don’t force myself to log something every night, I only write when I truly want to make a note of something that I feel I need to specifically acknowledge, thank God for and be reminded of. I also keep each entry to one line, after all, I already know what I’m referring to.
There are two benefits to keeping a gratitude journal: one is developing the discipline of taking a moment to recognize God’s hand actively moving in your life and to thank Him. The other benefit is long term. It is really quite awesome to sit down and leaf through page after page of big and small personal life experiences that testify to God’s goodness, grace, protection, constancy and mercy. It is especially powerful to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness if we are going through a rough time.