“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100: 4&5
The dinner was lovely, six women laughing and talking, warm plates of masala dosa and spicy peanut noodles spread out before us. Unlimited cups of decaf chai. And overhead, the ornate canopy of the tea house watching over our conversation.
The friends were old and new. The occasion a dear friend’s return to Colorado. Recently moved to Arizona, G. was able to grab a quick flight to visit friends. Her husband lovingly gave her the weekend away and stayed home with their young children.
Too many times, blessings like last night roll by without even a passing glance from me. Luckily, the Lord has his hooks in me lately about gratitude and I was able to acknowledge that the night was special. I was able to lift my head and realize that the evening was no surprise to God. Not even close. It is He who planted the quick trip in my friend’s heart. He who arranged for the flight. He who prompted G’s husband to selfishly offer his wife a special weekend. He who cleared calendars and arranged for one lovely night of sisters in Christ to have respite and renewal in each other’s company.
God is like that. The psalm I’m reading this weekend declares it. The Lord is good! And his loves lasts longer than a dinner. Longer than your lifetime.
It’s easy to get bogged down with the pains and progress of life. I know this all too well. I confess I often expect good things. I deserve them! Or, I swing the other way and expect nothing. God still shows up, but my poor attitude can’t allow me to see even a glimmer of His glory.
Today, I am choosing to walk through God’s garden gate and then into His house with praise. With thanksgiving. Right now, my little darling is allowing me to write this post by keeping herself occupied with a miniature stable a friend gave her. Her patter floats over my words and my concentration. “Well, horsie. What would you like today? That blue bag? Thank you for coming in today!” It would be so easy to be irritated or give up writing because I don’t have a cozy cave of devotional writing solitude, but I stopped those thoughts before they started.
I praise God for creative children who run around in their Hello Kitty panties playing “horse show.” I thank God I have a few minutes to think about His word in the middle of the weekend. I praise God for friends who stay friends throughout the years, despite moves and marriage and kidlets.
Take time to offer praise and thanks. And more thanks. If prayer is always a litany of “And I need…”, take a deep breath and enter His gates with thanksgiving. It’s the perfect prelude to more conversation. With decaf chai or without.