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  • Cassie D. Tilton

The Ultimate Form of Gratitude


Journal entry of thoughts on my heart while going through my morning devotional and reflecting on life and my purpose of what God has created me to do.  Hand written journal entry displayed in morning light with plant leaf.
Thoughts during my morning devotion & reflection time

So many people discuss and practice gratitude at a higher level whenever Thanksgiving rolls around. It's a wonderful practice and one that I believe should be practiced daily, literally: Every. Single. Day. Why limit your thankfulness to one day, or one week, each year??? Makes no sense to me! Sharing gratitude during conversations, meditation, while journaling, and even exuding it from my being while doing daily chores is something that has been helping me to focus on all that my family and I are blessed with. Some days are a struggle as I get so caught up in the "to-do's" that sometimes I forget how blessed I am to be doing anything that I'm doing in any given moment. Truly, I am so blessed just to be sitting here right now breathing, while typing these words out on my MacBook for you to read. I get to have another day in this space of time!


Day before yesterday morning, I was driving in the car on my way back from picking up a curbside order from the grocery store and this song came on by Chris Tomlin called "Good Good Father". This is an older song and one that I have heard many, many times while I was breastfeeding my son in the wee early-morning hours each day and I've heard it off-and-on through the past several years. However, for some reason this time I was really listening to the words and they punched me in the gut and made me choke-up. A good kind of choke-up, but it still took me by surprise nonetheless.


Here are the lyrics (you can read along while listening too, here):


Oh, I've heard a thousand stories of what they think You're like But I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night And You tell me that You're pleased and that I'm never alone


You're a good, good Father It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are And I'm loved by You It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am


Oh, and I've seen many searching for answers far and wide But I know we're all searching for answers only You provide 'Cause You know just what we need before we say a word


You're a good, good Father It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are And I'm loved by You It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am


Because You are perfect in all of Your ways You are perfect in all of Your ways You are perfect in all of Your ways to us You are perfect in all of Your ways Oh, You're perfect in all of Your ways You are perfect in all of Your ways to us


Oh, it's love so undeniable I, I can hardly speak Peace so unexplainable I, I can hardly think As You call me deeper still As You call me deeper still As You call me deeper still into love, love, love


You're a good, good Father It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are And I'm loved by You It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am........


After listening to this song, I listened to it again. Then again. Then sat with it for a few minutes. Truly, my heart felt so much love and gratitude for how good God has been to my family and I this past year. In 2022, we faced so much heartache with after-effects of Covid, then three family members passing away-one of them impacting our daughter on levels we never imagined facing as parents, my husband and I had to make some MAJOR decisions for us as a family, and we've had some big shifts happen within our home and with friends. While walking through each situation, neither of us could completely understand what the end-result would be, we just knew we had to focus on taking the next best step that would benefit our family, one at a time, and to get through each one together. At the time, in each circumstance that popped up, it didn't feel good and we weren't sure how things would end up. However, we both had peace through it all (okay, okay...I maaay have had a break-down cry-fest several times, but at least they were cleansing! haha). Honestly, at the end of each day, we knew that God had us covered so we were able to come together to build through it instead of staying stagnant or imploding. My husband and I are learning that God is bigger than all of it! I'm so grateful for all of what we've walked through. God has used it to show us He is still providing everything we need and bringing us closer together in it all. That's the cherry on top!


After listening to that song over and over again, another song came on next by Rend Collective called "Counting Every Blessing", you can listen to it here. It solidified the emotions and thoughts racing through me in those moments. These are just a couple verses and the chorus from the song:


...You were there in the valley of shadows You were there in the depth of my sorrows You're my strength, my hope for tomorrow I've been blessed beyond all measure


I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing Letting go and trusting when I cannot see I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing Surely every season you are good to me


Oh, you are good to me Oh, you are good to me


Surely your goodness pursues me Surely your heart is still for me I will remember your mercies all my days Through every storm and gale...


My emotions were wrecked (in a good way) by realizing just how blessed we truly are. Even though we have been facing so much, I believe God was reminding me, through this song, that He is still with us, His goodness still continues to pursue us and His heart is for us. Counting every blessing I could name off the top of my head while sitting there truly was healing. An exercise I intend to practice more of and teach my kids to do the same.


Back to my point of sharing all this (I know I tend to get lost in words sometimes), so while sitting in my car yesterday after digesting the words of these songs, my heart felt true gratitude for how good God is as our Father, and not just for what we are blessed with physically. His love, true love, expects nothing in return other than for us to love Him back with a grateful heart. So simple, yet so impacting. Just thinking of it is incredible! I always want to be in a place of awe and wonder of how good He truly is to us. My desire is that this spills into everything I set my hands and my mind to. That it wraps around each person I come into contact with daily, not just around Thanksgiving time or Christmas or other holidays. Every. Single. Day. I believe this is the ultimate form of gratitude, simply put: Loving God in all I do, with a heart of gratitude for ever bit of it.


Sending each of you loads of Love and Light,

~Cassie

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