Thursday, November 20, 2014

Writing Thankful by Heidi Chiavaroli

Heidi Chiavaroli
Two weeks ago, I thought I knew all about being thankful. I mean, I thank God every day for the blessings of my life—a home, a loving husband, two kids who make me laugh when they’re not making me pull my hair out, a warm bed, a sweet dog, and of course my salvation.

And those are good things—amazing things—to be thankful for. But why should I stop there? This past week I read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. I’ve heard wonderful things about this book, but never picked it up until now.

I shouldn’t have waited.

This is not a book review, it’s a life review. My life. As I reviewed the last thirty-three years of my existence, I realized I hadn’t lived thankfulness, I hadn’t lived fully.

Voskamp claims that we unwrap joy when we give thanks. And she’s not talking about just giving thanks for the visible blessings we perceive. She’s talking about searching out thankfulness, giving thanks in the trials and situations we wouldn’t normally find thanks in.

I tried this the other day when Son #1 threw a Styrofoam ball in anger at Son #2. Instead of letting my anger—what I often perceive as righteous anger, but is really quite lacking in righteousness—take hold, I stopped. I thanked the God of the universe for these two boys who grew within me and who I love with a crazy kind of love. Then I thanked God for balls—Styrofoam or otherwise. Silly? Maybe, but the simple act of thanksgiving snuffed out the act of knee-jerk anger. I was able to deal with the situation with a bigger picture in mind. I know I won’t do this perfectly all the time. But if I could consciously remind myself to be thankful in all things, I know I would live joy.

What about writing? Too often I find myself groaning over much-sought-after results. When is the last time I was simply thankful for the ability to write? The ability to string words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into stories? What an awesome privilege to make stories out of nothing, to learn about myself and humanity in the art of a story.

For as Voskamp says, “Why doubt the dare to fully live? Now and right here. Why not let all of life be penetrated by grace, gratitude, joy? This is the only way to welcome the Kingdom of God.”

I hope this Thanksgiving is especially meaningful as you ponder what true thanksgiving is all about. I invite you to join me in writing thankful. Blessings!


Heidi Chiavaroli writes History Woven in Grace. She is a wife, mother, disciple, and grace-clinger. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and has finaled in the Genesis contest and My Book Therapy’s Frasier contest.