Thirty Things for which I’m Grateful


A lot is happening in my life right now; some of it is hard.  But today, looking ahead at Holy Week and starting to reflect on  Easter, I’m thinking on the abundance of ways in which I’m blessed.  Therefore, I’m going to list thirty here.  Because.  I’m also going to make them right now things, not overall life things, and not directly things about what stuff I have.  

  1. Last night, I caught up with some young adults whom I love.  I’m incredibly fortunate that I have gotten to play a role in their lives and now I get to see them growing and moving forward.  Jesus is my hope in the world and they’re the shape I see that hope taking.

2. I’m 49 and yesterday my 10-year-old son and I played ultimate together.

3. Yesterday when my 10-year-old son was deciding to play, he asked me to make sure that his counterpart, the girl he’d be playing against and guarding, was on a team that would throw to her (i.e. include her).  The only way I could guarantee that was to put her on my team, meaning he had to be on the other team.  He said, “That’s fine.”  I did throw a score to her, over my son.  He was happy for her.  

4. Yesterday, my son and I were the token gringos playing ultimate with a group of Nicaraguans–plus our two Zimbabwean friends.  I love that.  Those are Kingdom of God moments for me.  

5. Yesterday I got to preach on Palm Sunday.  I wasn’t scheduled to preach, but our scheduled preacher had a medical emergency, so i got to fill in, as of Saturday morning.  The sermon just started composing in my head, even before I was ready to sit down and focus on it.  Though I spent most of the day on it, I really enjoyed writing it and it didn’t feel like work at all. 

6. I told a story for my sermon, an imaginative, “you were there” account of a kid seeing Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem firsthand.  I got to hear from a few people who encountered God through hearing the story.  That was especially cool since I knew God gave it to me.  

7. I was able to do all these things this past weekend in spite of having a cold that made me miserable Thursday and Friday.  I’m still coughing but on the mend now.  

8. This is Semana Santa break and I’m getting more relaxed time to spend with my kids.

9. Yesterday the Sunday school teacher went out of his way to let me know that, while the boys in his class are “a wild bunch,” my son is “a little more focused, maybe a little more interested in the discussion, and with a couple other boys he helps anchor the class.”  That was great to hear!

10. The small things we get to do in our barrio–buying tortillas, giving a fan to a bed-ridden woman, loving preschool kids, loving our neighbors–make a difference.  

11.Two weeks ago, a group came from Wenatchee to work with us for a week and they did an awesome job of loving our neighbors along with us!  

12. Those people were also a blast and a big boost for us. Seeing our little world here freshly through their eyes reminded me how blessed I’ve been to get to do this.

13. That group was so random, I can say confidently they would not just happen to associate, much less get along and love one another, if it weren’t for God’s Spirit doing the connecting.  I just had to laugh, in the most holy way.  They were a week worth of a Kingdom moment, especially here loving these beautiful kids living in poverty.  

14. I screwed up a couple times last week and the people in positions of authority showed me grace.  

15. My eldest and I share a lot of (good) taste in books, movies, and shows, and we’ve been discussing some great ones recently.  I’m grateful for that connection when they’re so far away.

16.  We have not had the water go off so far this Dry Season, thanks be to God.  We’ve only had a couple days when we ran out until the evening/night, but no stretches of even a full day so far going without.  I’m profoundly grateful for this.  If you’ve been without water, you know.

17. Our daughter Annalise has great plans for this coming year, post-graduation.  She daily shows me humor and courage. I’m both very grateful and extremely proud of her.  

18. My sister prays for me every day.  This is both an overall life thing and a right now thing.  

19. Two weekends ago I got to play in an ultimate tournament and we lost (nope, not grateful for that–keep praying) but I was reminded again both how blessed I am still to run and that I’ve been able to have a positive impact on the young Nicaraguans who were our opponents.

20. My son’s closest friend is a great kid.  

21. Actually, as I think about that, all three of our children living at home have tremendous friends who have strong character. You can’t buy that, even if you have the money.  

22. Though she claims she doesn’t think I’m funny, one of my daughters and I share basically the same sense of humor (and the same forehand) and I think she’s hilarious!

23. I’m alive.  No, I’m not running out and starting to reach for them, I’m absolutely grateful for this. Today.  I could easily be otherwise.

24. I’m sober.  From all my addictions.  Ditto.

25. Kim gets me.  She really gets me.  I’m reminded of that this morning.  And I know I’m not easily got.  But she does.

26. I have to beg your indulgence for this one, but I found it both funny and affirming:  Yesterday, after church, a friend asked about my sermon (see #6), “Did you write that or did you get that from a real writer?”  When I laughed, she said, “Well, I knew you didn’t have much time to prepare, so I just thought maybe you found that from Eugene Peterson or someone?”*

27. I’m helping an engaged couple whom I love prepare to be married. I get to do their wedding in July.  Our friendship is a great redemption story and a reminder of God’s faithfulness.  

28. “God has saved us from the kingdom of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Beloved Son.  Because of what the Son has done, we have been set free. Because of Jesus, all our sins have been forgiven.” (Colossians 1:13-14)  I had a friend want to debate me yesterday regarding something I posted about Jesus, which is fine; I can do that.  But I was getting more irritated than usual and I realized, some time later, it was because the guy was impugning Jesus’ character.  I know who Jesus is and I know what he’s done in me (see #22 & #23).  I’m willing to debate ideas and beliefs, but I don’t take it well when people talk shit about any of my friends.  I know Jesus can defend himself, but it still doesn’t go over well with me.  It all reminded me how grateful I am to know Jesus’ character and know I’m loved. 

29. It’s been a good long while since I’ve hit any serious depresion.  Not take-it-for-granted long, but well-this-is-sure-nice, I-can-breathe long.  

30. I get to preach on Easter!  I love preaching on Easter! 


*I try to be very conscientious not to take credit from God when people affirm my preaching.  It’s a gift I enjoy, and that means it’s from God, not something about which I will boast.  But to be mistaken for a real writer?  C’mon, that’s funny!

One thought on “Thirty Things for which I’m Grateful

  1. Christina Gunther

    A wonderful reminder that we can be grateful in the every day moments for so much. Happy Easter to you and your family!

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