Desiring to start 2008 off right, I sat down early Tuesday morning with my Bible and journal. It was quiet. I went to Isaiah where I have been reading for the last two weeks and the morning's portion included this verse, "I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us..." Isaiah 63:7
And then I spent a very precious hour and a half recounting. I started in 1982, the year my marriage was faltering, the year God showed me the depth of my sin and then in His mercy, restored my marriage and opened my eyes to the joy of my salvation. I wrote and wrote and wrote in my journal, remembering people and events I haven't thought about in a very long time. I only got as far as 1988, but I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the steadfast love of the Lord, his great goodness, the abundance of his steadfast love.
I recounted being spared from death on a curving mountainside road in Kenya as a bus came barreling straight toward our car. In a split second, Coty thought, "I am about to die with my wife, baby, and parents," and then swerved, missing the trees lining the side of the road and keeping control of the car on the dirt road as the bus roared by, perhaps two inches from our car. God's mercy.
I recounted Coty coming home from a trip to Pakistan. Turning on the radio the next morning, we heard that the very next PanAm flight out of Karachi after the one he had been on had been boarded by hijackers. Pakistani soldiers stormed the plane on the runway, killing 19 people. Coty could have easily been on that flight. Instead, he was safe at home with Erin, baby Jonathan, and me. God's great mercy.
I recounted births - one in Nairobi and two at home in Virginia. Oh, how gracious God has been to us in giving us these children. Three more were born after we moved in 1989 but I didn't get that far in my recounting yet! Gifts all.
I recounted Bonnie, sitting at the table with me, sharing tea and biscuits and life; Pam, hiking in the Ngong Hills with me, our families knit together as we shared sweet times in Bible study together; Steve and Erika teaching us and praying with us; Suzanne helping me as a new homeschooling mother...and many more people who lived out Christ's life before me. And I thought over and over about our families and their unfailing support and lavish expressions of love over the years. Grace upon grace.
There was more, much more. I only got through 1988. So I am still writing.
If you haven't sat down for awhile and thought about what God has done in your life, the blessings you have, the multitude of things for which to rejoice no matter what your circumstances, may I commend to you the practice of recounting. Carve out a space of time when it is quiet, when you can write free flow and unhurried. If you take time to focus on God's steadfast love and goodness in large and small ways down the years, I predict that you will be amazed and humbled. If you are tempted to complaint and self-pity as I am at times, after such recounting you will be wearing, as I wear today, a "garment of praise instead of a faint spirit," you will be "called [an] oak of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that HE may be glorified." from Isaiah 61:9