Family Relationships, Gratitude, Perspective

Gratitude: Thankful for the Little Things

Meme with the words: "Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." —Robert Brault, Author on a backdrop of a photo of berries

@JeanneTakenaka

The phone rang. It was Hubs. “Honey. I’m in a bit of a panic. I’m at my first flight layover, and I can’t find my passport. Can you check my desk to see if it’s there?”

My husband, world-traveler that he is, had made this trip to the far East many times. My heart dropped when I heard his words, and I sprinted to his office. The edge of his passport peeked out from beneath a short, elevated pile of papers. 

A photo of an older couple standing in front of a Christmas tree

Even as I told him the news, relief and dismay poured through me. How did this happen when he has never forgotten his passport before? Was he going to lose a day of work to travel all the way home and pick up his document? 

“I’ll call you back in a little while.”

I prayed and knew I had to leave this in God’s hands. I sure couldn’t do anything to help him. 

A photo of a dragonfly perched on a pine branch

Thirty minutes later, he called. God had shown my husband a way to get to his destination without a need for his passport . . . with an overnight stay in Hawaii.

I praised God! His family lives in Hawaii. He’d spend some time with his parents before he traveled to his work destination, and see his father, who had recently had surgery. During his layover on his way to Hawaii, he tried to reach his mother, his brothers, but no one answered their phones. 

I went about my day, managing the boys’ events and praying for his trip . . . and marveling at how God worked that out. 

A multi-colored leaf with rain drops on it

Early the next morning, my husband called to let me know his father had passed away the preceding night. As tears filled my eyes and cinched my heart, I marveled again at how the Lord had intervened and diverted my husband to Hawaii. He was able to be with his family the night his father passed from this world into the next. 

A man walking with a young toddler

Though this was so painful, it was a tender display of God’s grace, sovereignty, and love. I had no idea how a small action of forgetting his passport would lead to my husband being where he needed to be when he needed to be there. I thank God for the little ways He intervenes in our lives. 

I’m a firm believer in the truth of this quote from Robert Brault. Small things happen, and we often have no perspective in the moment of how significant that event can be.

At the end of many of his trips, Hubs would stop in Hawaii to spend time with his parents. We thank God for these close family relationships, never knowing when our loved ones will be gone.

A small girl playing in small waves on the beach

Subtle gestures of love can minister in a time when life as he has known it is permanently altered. Sure, there are big ways to love, but it’s often those thoughtful acts, those intentional choices, that bear the greatest significance. 

We live out many seemingly inconsequential moments in our lives, so many minor happenings. Maybe you’re like me and tend to take them at face value.

Or, can maybe we see how those small acts of kindness, those small events, those small decisions in a day turned out to be the most significant details in a life, in a relationship.

A path lined with autumn colored trees

I’m so grateful God knows our needs, even when we don’t know them ourselves. As we walk through this month into the holiday season, toward the end of a year and of a decade, may we enjoy the small moments and value each one.

What about you? What helps you to enjoy the little things? What small things are you grateful for?

Click to Tweet: Small things happen, and we often have no perspective in the moment of how significant the event can be.

I’m linking up with #TellHisStory and #RaRaLinkup

38 thoughts on “Gratitude: Thankful for the Little Things”

  1. I’m grateful for my canine crew
    and I’m grateful for my spouse.
    But I must add something new:
    I’m grateful for a mouse.
    She wandered in the house one day
    (though she may be a he),
    engaged all the dogs in play,
    and now she follows me.
    She’s an adventurous high-flier
    from sabbath to sabbath,
    and needed, once, a hair dryer
    when she fell into the bath.
    At night she gets a drop of wine,
    her expression saying, “Life is fine!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is such a beautiful story, Jeanne! I love that God can work even things like forgotten passports into his plan, and that he made a way for your husband to be there with his family that day.

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  3. Oh, what a tender story of the ways God loves and provides even in the hardest of circumstances. So grateful he was able to be there with his family.

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  4. Jeanne,
    What a beautiful and true story of God’s goodness! We never know what God might be orchestrating even in the smallest details of our lives. I have been making a concerted effort to pause, be still in the moment, and take a look around me. I love watching the birds at my feeder. I love petting my beagle’s soft velvety ears. I enjoy the sound of laughter from the neighborhood kids raking up and jumping in leaf piles. Joining with you in thanking God for the little things (and the big blessings). Beautiful post!
    Blessings sweet friend,
    Bev xx

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    1. Bev, you may have found this to be true too, but in the years when teens are in the house, stillness seems like a bit of a stranger. I love your example of looking around you and seeing glimpses of God’s presence with you. I am trying to do this too. Now that most of our fall activities are finished, I’m finding it easier to be still. Regardless of what season I’m in, I always do better when I’m thanking God for the little things.

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  5. Dearest Jeanne, your story made me teary eyed. It showed me again how our God involves Himself in the (what we think are) small details of our lives. I am so grateful for your reminder to look for His hand in the big, but maybe even more so in the small, details of my life. Thanks for being a faithful witness for Him.

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  6. Such a beautiful and tender post. God truly works in all things – big and small – teaching us along the way of His love and care for us in every detail.

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  7. How wonderful that God stepped in and intervened in your husband’s story so that he would be with his family at that particular time. Beautiful grace.
    I’m so sorry for your family’s loss, and trust along with you for his comfort and joy in the midst of it all.

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  8. What I wonderful story of God’s faithfulness and of you as you were faithful in prayer during the uncertainty. That’s what God asks of us—to not be full of worry and anxiety but to trust. I’m typing with one hand, a slip on ice recently causing my other arm to be casted! My plans are now altered but trust He’ll be showing me why!

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    1. Lynn, I’m so thankful for God’s grace in the waiting. I guess when we remember Who is really in control, it makes it easier to avoid worrying. I’m so sorry you hurt your arm! I’ll say a prayer as you learn to navigate your days with only one arm for a while. I’m sure, as you seek Him, our Father will show you the things He has for you in this season. Thanks for your friendship.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jeanne, what a beautiful story!!! It is astounding to me how God ALWAYS puts us exactly where we need to be. So grateful God helped your husband be exactly where he needed to be.

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    1. Yes, Jessica. God knows where He needs us to be. And how amazing it is, when something seemingly inconvenient happens, and we later discover God’s bigger purpose for it. I’ve thanked God again and again for getting my husband to his family that day.

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  10. Jeanne, I am so sorry for the loss of your dear father-in-law. It was wonderful that your husband could be with his family at just the right time. I am sure that made the loss more bearable for everyone. Praying for you and your family!

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    1. Thank you so much, Laurie. My father-in-law’s death was unexpected and a bit of a shock. I love how God worked to get my husband there on that particular day. I believe that was a balm for him and his mother and brothers. Thank you for your prayers. They are much appreciated!

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  11. This is a beautiful message. Thank you for sharing with us. We may never know how we affect the life of another person. I pray we always pause and listen for God’s whispers. I pray we will follow His lead.

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  12. I’m awed by how God orchestrates even the smallest details of our lives, Jeanne. I’m so glad your husband could yet be with his father before he passed. I assume that’s his parents in the photo? You ask what small things we are grateful for. Your photos may seem a small thing to you, but they are big things to me. Nature photos always breathe hope into my spirit. So thank you again! Also for this encouraging message and quotes! Love and blessings to you!

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    1. Trudy, I’m sorry for the delayed response. I, too, am in awe of how attentive God is to the smallest details of our lives. I was so, so grateful God diverted my husband to be with his family. And thank you for your kind words about my photographs. I so appreciate you and your beautiful ways of encouraging.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow, wow, wow, that makes cold chills run over me…and gives my heart such joy. How like our Heavenly Father to work out the little details to take care of a more pressing important one. Thank you for this encouraging post, it’s a faith builder.

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  14. What a powerful story. I often say there are simply no coincidences in the lives of God’s children. Instead, He’s always working behind the scenes on our behalf. And I like your words on thoughtful acts and intentional choices bringing great significance! So true! I’m learning to be grateful for moments with family…staying present in the present since we will never find time in the “Lost & found.”

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    1. Agreed, Karen. There are no coincidences in the lives of God’s children. Yes, being present with our families is crucial. It’s sometimes hard in the moment, but it can lead to peace and no regrets and special memories later. I grinned at what you said about never finding time in the “Lost and Found.” SO true. Thanks for stopping by, Karen!

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  15. What a powerful story! Wow! We’re often anxious about travel, and yet God superintends even the coming and the going, the forgetting and the arriving where we’re actually supposed to be. We never know, AND YET God does. Thank you for this reminder!

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  16. Such a beautiful reminder that God is in the smallest details. It’s true that God orchestrates things for good even when it might seem like an inconvenience at first. I pray I continue to recognize God in the smallest of details.

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  17. I read this last week, Jeanne, and wasn’t able to comment, but I am amazed at how God works the little details of our lives. What mercy He showed to your husband even in the midst of such devastating loss.

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    1. Betsy, I think this story more than most other events in my life have spoken to me of God’s tender care for His children. He knows what we need, and I’m thankful nothing is too difficult for Him to do to help us with what we need. He did show my husband such tender kindness that day and in the days since. Thank you so much for taking time to visit!

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  18. Oh, Jeanne. I was so touched by this post when I first read it a few weeks ago. I kept intending to come back and comment and now here we are already four days into December! Such a beautiful story, such a wonderful example of how God goes before us and is with us, every single time. I’ve been needing that reminder so much these last couple of weeks and thankfully, God keeps finding new ways to remind me. Love and hugs to you and yours this holiday season!

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    1. Isn’t God so tender toward His children?! I still marvel at how He worked in my husband’s life to get him there at just the right time. He cares so much about His children. I hope you sense the Lord’s tenderness toward you and your family during this “first”. Sending you love and hugs, too friend.

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