How are you doing in the “giving thanks” department? I’m thankful for God’s instructing us to do it—He knows that doing so keeps our perspective in the right space. He wants us to thrive, right? So let’s do what He says. Here’s how I had to make it practical in the last week.
A week ago today I boarded a plane for Atlanta, Georgia to attend two conferences – Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) and the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS). Because my involvement with International Messengers Canada takes me to Eastern Europe every summer, I hadn’t attended these conferences for seven years. I was thrilled to go this year.
Like any other trip, it had its ups and downs. But through it all, I found things for which to be thankful. Here are 10, in no particular order:
- Airlines care about safety. My takeoff from Seattle was three hours delayed because the pilots discovered a mechanical failure (Pilot announcement: “Neither of us in the cockpit have seen this before, and frankly, we don’t know what to do about it.”). Putting safety before schedule is always a good thing. Agree?
- Divine appointments. I shared a seat row with a young Christian couple from Alaska. Her grandmother had just died, and they were traveling to attend her funeral. I’d planned to spend the flight writing a couple of articles for upcoming deadlines, but engaging in conversation meant that didn’t happen. That’s okay. I’m thankful for the opportunity to meet them and to offer encouragement during their time of loss.
- Friends of like mind. Writers are a unique and often insecure brand. We love words and long for people to like what we say. Trouble is, we’re in an industry where rejection happens all the time. It was great to spend time with dozens of other women who know the pain of rejection but persevere because God’s call on their life is to write.
- More divine appointments. On Monday afternoon, I boarded the shuttle bus to return to my hotel. A young woman asked to sit beside me. Turns out, she works with an organization that partners with Christian missions to bring them exposure via radio and online articles. We exchanged contact information and will continue dialoging to see how our organizations can connect.
- Christian bookstores. I had the opportunity to interact with Christian bookstore owners. It’s difficult for them to survive in this age of Amazon and digital books, but I’m encouraged by their steadfastness to offer Christian literature to their communities. I’m thankful for their front line ministry.
- Guardian angels. I ate Sunday dinner at a restaurant with about 10 friends. Only one stayed at my hotel; the rest stayed at a different hotel. After our meal, we said goodbye and parted ways to walk to our accommodations. My walking buddy and I had studied a map to ensure we headed the right direction, but alas. We’re both directionally challenged and turned left instead of right. As we headed down the street (thinking we were going the right direction), I prayed aloud, “God, please put Your guardian angels before and behind us, to our right, and to our left.” Within moments, we noticed a young couple behind us. We walked an entire block that grew sketchier and scarier. When we reached the first intersection, the couple caught up to us. We asked for directions, and then the woman said, “I strongly encourage you to call a taxi.” She gave me a hug, and they bid us goodbye. We turned around and retraced our steps. As we approached the restaurant we’d left minutes earlier, a taxi appeared out of nowhere. I waved my hand, he rushed to our rescue, and we returned safely to our hotel.
- Physical strength. Attending a conference like this means lots and lots of walking. The residual effects of last year’s leg injuries were a non-issue. Yeah!!
- Meeting my editors. As a writer, I work regularly with editors. Meeting them in person is rare because everything’s done by email. Attending ICRS gave me the opportunity to meet Keren Baltzer, an editor from Guideposts Books. She’s my main contact for the Mornings With Jesus devotional books for which I write. I love having a face to go with her name now.
- God’s guidance. On the morning I headed home, I read Psalms 143:10—“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” As I pray about future writing projects, I know I can trust God to direct my steps and open or close doors. I’m thankful for His promised guidance.
- Moments of rest. On my return flight, I had to switch planes in Portland and then ride a smaller plane to Seattle. My seat was on the left, and I enjoyed an incredible view of the sunset. How fun to shut down my computer and simply be present in the moment. Today’s poster captures one of the shots I took.
Now it’s your turn. What’s one thing for which you’re thankful for from the past week?