Choosing Gratitude series, Gratitude

Choosing Gratitude (series): Themes of Gratitude

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Over the past five weeks, I have been challenged by, encouraged by, and uplifted by my five blogging friends who shared their thoughts on gratitude. Lisa Jordan, Meghan Weyerbacher, Michele Morin, Lesley Crawford, and Marie Gregg . . . thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your words at my place. If you missed any posts in this series, you can find them at: Choosing Gratitude.

To wrap up this series, I am sharing a few final thoughts . . . 

I gave myself a challenge. Find thirty things I was grateful for during the thirty days of November.

On the hard days, I had to look beyond disappointment and frustration in the current day to the bigger picture of my life. 

I found hope. Beauty. Family. Friends. And especially the reality of God’s love.

These themes are what my heart revolves around. 

My blogging friends who have already shared about gratitude in this place offered so much wisdom. Gratitude keeps me grounded.

Having a heart that sees God’s fingerprints on my life, His blessing in my days—even the painful ones—is what gives me the courage to keep moving forward when part of me screams to give up. Give in. Lay down.

Below are some of the posts I shared about gratitude on Instagram in November.

Day 1: It’s been . . . a year. There have been days when finding things to thank God for was easy. And then there were days . . . where I couldn’t see even one thing good in that day. I am realizing how important gratitude is to my heart, so I have decided to share at least one thing each day this month that I am thankful for.  

Gratitude is heart-freeing. I read a post by Crystal Twaddell  about gratitude journaling. I am thankful for others who remind us of life-giving truths. Here is a picture of my gratitude journal.

Day 8: I’m thankful for bridges. The colors that border this one make my heart happy. But more than that, I’m thankful for the healing that can come when people build bridges between each other, and especially for the bridge Jesus is between us and God.

Day 11: I’m so thankful for my husband, our family members who have served, and all men and women who are serving or have served in the Armed Forces. The sacrifices they and their families make go unseen by most. 

Day 12: I’m so thankful for the freedom to worship. And when our worship team plays one of the song that touches me most? It fills my heart with peace. 

Day 13: It’s been a day that started with me feeling overwhelmed with some stuff in my life right now. All day long, this word-HOPE-keeps blipping on my radar. I am thankful that the God of Hope loves me so passionately and perfectly. He gives me His hope when life feels overwhelming. 

Day 15: I’m thankful that our God is a God of HOPE. Even when I mess up, become weary, I know I can still place my hope in Him. He is the one who fills His children with joy and peace when we believe in Him.

Day 18: I’m thankful for sunshine and beauty after the icy rain that fell yesterday. Though in the storm roads became slick, today I awoke to beauty as the sun haloed the ice on plants and bushes. God shows us beauty in our storms if we’ll just look for it.  

Day 28: These two…my parents are an incredible blessing in my life. They’ve spoken the hard truths, drew a firm line when I needed it, and they’ve been my encouragers throughout my life. They’re not perfect, but they are perfect-for-me! They love well and fervently. I am blessed to be their daughter. 

Day 29: I thank God for my husband’s parents. After raising three amazing sons, they opened their arms to me when I married my husband. Their generosity and kindness over the years have been a blessing. And their 60+ years-long marriage has been a testimony to enduring love. 

These are some of the many things I am grateful for. Sometimes gratitude themes shine through what our hearts reflect on as we walk through our year. As we head into the Christmas season, may we nurture grateful hearts that are ready to celebrate Jesus’ birth and resurrection.

What about you? What are the themes of gratitude in your life? What is one lesson God has taught you about gratitude this year?

Click to Tweet: Having a heart that sees God’s fingerprints on my life . . . gives me courage to keep moving forward

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, and Holley Gerth

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20 thoughts on “Choosing Gratitude (series): Themes of Gratitude”

    1. When I first read your words this morning, Andrew, I began to pray that God would allow you to know some comfort. But God reminded me that more than our comfort, He desires we grow in holiness. And that often only happens through pain. That said, however, I am praying for you as you walk out this day, my friend.

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  1. Dear Jeanne … I love this summary and the way you’ve shared your personal experience of the series. Beautiful. You’re so right, we live out gratitude right in the midst of our disappointments and frustrations … especially during those seasons when those realities come every hour on the dot. Choosing to speak our thankfulness somehow recalibrates our gears even though the situations we find ourselves in don’t necessarily change.

    We remember that God is still on the throne.

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    1. Linda, thank you for your beautiful wisdom here. Gratitude does recalibrate our hearts. But, especially in the painful seasons, we must choose to be thankful, right? I can’t add to what you’ve shared here. I can just say Amen. Thank you, friend.

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  2. Jeanne, thank you for sharing your many blessings with all of us. Thank you for the reminders (all month long) of everything we have to be thankful for. This piece was so beautifully written. I especially love your writing on bridges and the concept that Jesus is the bridge between us and God. I will think about that for a long time.

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  3. These are beautiful, Jeanne. Thank you for sharing some of them. I’m especially drawn to the one about bridges. 🙂 Also, I didn’t realize your husband has served or is still serving in the military. Please thank him for me for his service. And thank you for your sacrifices, too. One of our sons served for 20 years and recently retired. Our daughter has three in the Air Guard. Our son-in-law and two of our grand-daughters. Two of them just recently returned home after four months. We’re so grateful God brought them safely home! And our daughter makes a lot of sacrifices, too. Also their other two daughters. Like you said, the sacrifices made from military members and their families often go unnoticed. As always, I love your photos! Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Trudy, thanks for your encouraging words. Yes, my husband served for 20 years. It sounds like your family has a lot of members who have served/are serving, just like my family does. I’m so glad your family members are all safe! You are one of the blessings I’m thankful for, my friend!

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  4. This has been a great series, Jeanne! Thanks for sharing your experience of seeking gratitude this month. I love the items on your list and the beautiful photos and I love your point that seeing God’s fingerprints on our lives helps us to keep moving forward even when life is hard.

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  5. I enjoyed your posts on social media, Jeanne. Our family is walking through a hard season right now with our grandson (15 1/2) – I hold on to HOPE and knowing without a doubt that God finishes everything He begins and He began a good work in that boy at a young age. xo

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    1. Awww, friend. I don’t know what it is about 15! I’m so sorry you guys are walking through a hard season with your boy-man. I prayed for your family this morning as I read this comment. And yes, holding onto HOPE and believing God is working and finishing things helps. Stay strong in Him, my friend. And thanks so much for sharing here. I’m praying for your family.

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  6. Such a beautiful look back at so much to give thanks for! It really is wise to purposely list our blessings – and take pictures, too! I love that photo of your parents:) (I really do miss my parents this time of year!)

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  7. One theme of gratitude is the blessing of family. It is one that keeps recurring. A lesson that God continues to teach me is how to feel gratitude in the hard and the messy. Party because I need to be reminded of this over and over.

    Thank you for this series and all of your special guests. You chose some of my favorite people to join you.

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  8. Oh Jeanne … I’m holding on to hope this season too … my prayer today is “May the God of hope fill [us both] with all joy and peace as [we] believe in Him so that [we] may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13) I haven’t had much time to comment lately but I have so enjoyed your gratitude series, especially this last one of personal notes by you. 🙂 Hugs, friend.

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