Hello, how are you, g’day and welcome to you! This post is part of a series I’m working my way through in the month of October, called Swim Your Own Race. If you’d like to start at the beginning (it is a very good place to start, after all) you can do so, right here. I hope you enjoy diving in!


It was about a half a year ago, when I was processing it in my own soul, and writing words about it right here on this little site. And these words came to me, came through me, and simultaneously stood still in my soul. It’d been a year since my Dad went into a hospital and breathed his last breaths, and I was reflecting on the anniversary, what had happened in the year since his passing, how God had helped me through. I commented:

These 365 days have been unexpectedly full. Grace to grace and strength to strength, joy to joy. Hard times, sometimes yes, but still — I am learning to see the gifts, and thereby learning to better see the Giver. {Full post here.}

Look for the gifts and truly see them, and you’ll better see the Giver.


Of all the things that have carried me through the grief, and helped me to keep swimming, I think thankfulness has had the most powerful results.

When the whisper of the enemy says Look what God took, my soul has boldly replied, But look what He gives.

At the time of that loss I had a four-month-old baby girl to care for. Our default mentality might be to say, “What a tough liability at a difficult time” but no, no — she was an incredible asset. Her joy, her life, her giggles and the promise and hope for her future, all these things combined to create this daily reminder of God’s goodness.

He saw what was coming, and He gave me a gift to help me get through it.

In that season I began counting gifts. I re-read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, and let her words remind me that there is always room to give thanks. Always reason to give thanks. {And let me pause here to say if there is only one book you can read for the rest of this year or the rest of your life, make it One Thousand Gifts. It is such wisdom on living your one life well.}

When I didn’t take the time to write it down, I wrote it in my heart. I saw a leaf caught in a web, floating and dancing in the air and gave thanks. I saw my boys treat each other kindly and gave thanks.

Perhaps human nature isn’t always so grateful. Do we often default to complaining? Finding fault? Forgetting thankfulness? Do we tend to complain instead?

Is that perhaps why a Thanksgiving offering was so central to the offering system?

We cannot rightly see our lives but through the eyes of thankfulness — and yet it is so hard for us to find our way there, to put on those lenses.

I did well at giving thanks for a season, but when life got busier, and there were fewer margins, I promptly returned to my default state of more-often-discontent.

How do we overcome our default state of discontentment?

How do we swim this one race really well — and enjoy the swim at the same time?

We give thanks. 

Not just for the food we eat, but also for the air we breathe. Not just for a home to live in, but also for the people and the gifts inside. Not just for a job but for your job, the place where the Lord has you, where you whisper trust that even if this isn’t the dream, it could very well be postponement for the best to become possible.

In a world where 1 in 7 people worldwide do not have enough food to sustain them, and approximately 25,000 people die every day due to hunger-related causes {See The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns for more…} oh my goodness, but we are privileged to have food to eat. In the top ten percent if there are more than five shirts in our closets.

Could we create for ourselves a daily reminder of our privileges?

Could we build into our lives a consistent pattern of giving thanks, day after day? Not just for the food and clothes, but for more and more the many gifts?

Do you want to enjoy your swim, wherever you are in the race?

Look for gifts and give thanks. 

We’re instructed:

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. {Ps. 100:4}

A thankful heart can pave the way for a move of God.

When you begin to see just how many gifts there are to be thankful for in the every day, you’ll begin to see the Giver like never before.