Marching Forward

I don’t know what time of year our local writers’ group began, or how many months I attended before guilt made me write something: just a short letter to the editor of our local newspaper.

The group, bless their hearts, praised me as if I’d written a feature article. I started listening to my thoughts—and to God—a little better and writing inspirational and personal experience essays.

Got my first rejection letter—and a positive one at that—on my birthday one May.

When a novel started brewing, I resisted for a year before giving in. My earliest dated notes for that manuscript are from March 1994. That means I’ve lived with some of these characters for 17 years now, ignoring the long gestation period. No wonder we have cake every March!

Three years ago, again in March, God nudged me into this blog. It’s been a great way to meet some new friends in the faith, and I need to publicly say that not once has He not provided the input for a weekly devotional. He is faithful.

Since March seems to be the month for significant writing beginnings for me (not that I’d turn one down in, say, September) it feels appropriate to choose now to join the Christians keeping gratitude journals.

Not lists of positive things, but lists acknowledging that those things are gifts from God who loves us. Lists that accept the gifts and thank the Giver.

I’ll add a thank-you to Ann Voskamp, whose lyrical book, One Thousand Gifts, convinced me to give this gratitude journal idea a try.

I won’t post a weekly list, but here are the first gifts I’ve recorded (resisting the urge to play catch-up for the ones in my memory):

  1. Bright, white seagull in a clear blue sky.
  2. Spring sunshine.
  3. Dancing candle flames—and the little girl who shared them with me.
  4. Expansive stillness moment in my spirit.
  5. Michael Tait singing “Glorious”.
  6. Sparkles on my journal cover—and that it was waiting on my shelf for this purpose.
  7. Fluffy black cat nestled on the back deck.
  8. Sun stripe bright on green moss on the willow branch.
  9. Small brown sparrow in the bare, brown hedge branches.

10.  White-gold sun disc behind translucent clouds.

Thank You, God!

8 thoughts on “Marching Forward

  1. Margaret

    Our gifts from God are endless and wondrous…. They can be ever so fleeting and still bring great delight and joy….. To open our eyes and see these gifts brings praise to our Lord, who is in control of all things — even the things that bring fear into the hearts of men.

    Thank you for writing.

    1. janetsketchley

      Yes, Margaret, they can be tiny or huge. Sometimes they’re something only God could know would touch our spirits, and sometimes it’s finding Him in something that’s harder to thank Him in. Ann Voskamp makes the point in her book that if everything we receive from God’s hand is grace, that includes the things we don’t want to accept… and that’s when we do the hard praising, because He is still God and He’s still good.

      May He open our eyes to see the gifts He gives… even in the unlikely places.

      1. Margaret

        Janet, one thing I’m really thankful for is how our Lord knows how to surprise us with these wonders of appreciation, just when we need it….. It’s like a message of love reminding us of His control over all things.


        1. janetsketchley

          Margaret, I think it’s the way He surprises us–with specific things that touch our hearts and show an intimate knowledge and understanding of us–that delights me most. It proves God loves us each as individuals and not just as a mass of people. You said this really well.


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