Soon we begin a new book study at my church. I am leading the study along with a few friends who studied the same book with me last fall. Our friendship and fellowship during that first study ignited a desire to give other women the opportunity to benefit from the book as well.

The book is about giving thanks to God in all things, in the easy times and in the hard times, also. It speaks about the idea that thanksgiving always precedes the miracle and reminds us that even at the last supper, the night before his cruxifiction, Christ gave thanks before breaking the bread and drinking the wine. I know from many personal experiences that it isn’t always easy to give thanks. I know that when the going gets tough, I don’t always get going. Sadly, I don’t always offer praise and thanksgiving to God during tough times. During good times it’s easier to be thankful, but sometimes instead we draw away, subconsciously thinking we don’t have as great a need.

When we dare to take a real look at our lives, we discover that we are surrounded by blessings, real gifts from God. They are everywhere. Those of us old enough to have made it to the other side of hard times (which come in many different categories) know that we gain something from them. We may not know exactly what it is that we’ve gained until much later. Time and distance is sometimes necessary. Still, the hard times can bring gratitude, too.

The book study will have us make lists of the everyday gifts that God bestows upon us starting with each new sunrise. Throughout the day we’ll take better notice of the unnoticed, pay attention where before there was inattention, and learn to be more thankful along the way.

Right now I’m grateful for many things, but my heart is especially full of thanks to God for the group of women who have been pulled, been lead to do the study with us. I pray that these women will find their way to us easily with no obstacles in their paths. I pray for them to feel the gentle pull of their Lord, theirs and mine, to the book study. There we will make a practice of not only worshipping Him, and loving Him, but thanking Him, too. Regularly. There we will become list makers, noticing and paying attention to our gifts and showing gratitude for them as we may never have before. We’ll be counting our blessings.

Dear God, maker of all things, Holy of Holies, our Lord and Our Redeemer, thank you for the group of women who will start the new study together Sunday night. Bless each one. Clear her path to you so that nothing can block her way. Amen.