I think that day 17 holds a vital key. Again, it is as if God has been preparing my heart for this and even though I have read this material countless times, it is still new and fresh. I love how God can do that! His Spirit sees no barriers, but just does His amazing work. I am so thankful!

Gratitude is the theme of this day and this is something that God has been speaking to me about as well over the past month.

When I came to the point of finally letting go of my over-arching rebellion and anger and hurt and resentment against God because of my son’s autism…when I finally bowed my head (it took 14 years) and said, “You are God. I am not. Your ways are not my ways.”…it was immediately that he began working gratitude in my heart. I could see that as long as I held an attitude (again, of pride) that God had “wronged me” and that “I knew better”…I couldn’t possibly foster a life of gratitude. No matter how much I tried “giving thanks” with an act of my will, I kept coming up against this road block…He wanted me to thank him, in trust, for my son JUST THE WAY HE IS.

As soon as I felt acceptance that He is God in this and He has His purposes and I may never know them, but they are beyond fathoming and definitely beyond MY scrutiny…and that He didn’t have to “prove” to me that He had a “right” to do this to Daniel or to me (pairing us up)…gratitude began to flood my heart.

It didn’t hurt that, at the same time, I had my Lasik surgery done on my right eye and suddenly had physical sight given to me in a way that just floored me. It still does! I am soooo thankful that I don’t have to try to ride my horses in my glasses (I sweat and they fall off or steam up or both)…I LOVE seeing the detail out in nature. I LOVE seeing when I drive without glasses. I have always hated my glasses….

Anyhow, God used this event in my life to begin to till the soil of my heart with seeds of gratitude. I think that was why the Day 15 meal exercise had gratitude first thing…even if it was for finger prints.

I have found myself overwhelmed to tears at the amazing love of the Lord…this is not PMS! This isn’t tiredness and my being a weanie! It is very unfamiliar to me, but I think it is a softened heart! It floors me! Even today as I was working on a project, I read the verse about God wanting us to have no idols and if you read the entire verse in context, it sure seems like he equates any kind of idolatry as hating him. That broke my heart. It is so easy to say how wrong idolatry is….and yet I do it….if I thought of God feeling that I *hate* him…oh….I couldn’t do that to Him. I just couldn’t.

Anyhow, that is an example of how softhearted I have been lately. I have been reading my kids (we homeschool) their bible lesson and I have been moved to tears. (They are rather confused by these changes! LOL!) A Christmas song will even make me cry. Like Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel and Ransom Captive Israel….oh…even now that moves me. He paid my ransom *and* theirs. Israel (much of them anyhow) *missed* it. Have *I* missed it, too? Do I stay in my prison even though Jesus paid my ransom? Did he die in vain?

Anyhow, all that to say God has definitely been at work, moving me to focus on the bounty that I *have* rather than on what I don’t have. In the past, I was frustrated about my horses, for instance…I have four and I would bemoan the fact that “only one” is rideable. Gosh…I have ONE horse I can ride! It is a blast! It is WONDERFUL! I dreamed of having ONE horse I could ride all my life, I have one, and now I am acting like an ingrate!?????? No MORE!

I have three other horses who I delight in playing with…they are precious. I delight in their smell, their nicker, their nuzzling…I could go on and on.

I see that when I have a heart of gratitude, I can’t resume that place of pride. They are opposed to one another. When pride is allowed to go unchecked, I am not grateful. It is my heart’s desire to really beg God to make me grateful for every single thing and not take a bit of it for granted.

Years ago, I lost 100 pounds or so with Weight Watchers. Then, they didn’t really have a program in place to help someone like me maintain. I went from being the “star pupil” in my leader’s class to being no one…to being the one who was just supposed to “hang in.” There was no where for me to go but down! When I weighed in, I either “just maintained” or I gained!

Because my ego wasn’t getting stroked as it had for a year (it was all about the Path of MY Performance, after all), because it was all about ME and what *I* had done, MY performance…it didn’t last. It didn’t take much time at all for the weight to pour back on. I am convinced now that gratitude to God is what will keep taking the weight off me now and keep it off when it goes. If I dare to begin to allow pride back into the picture, I suddenly jump on to the path of my performance again–even doing Thin Within it is possible to do that. I don’t want to do that!!!!! If someone compliments me about the weight released and I in ANY way take credit, then pride is being given a chance to take root…gratitude to God is thrown out the window and I am not walking in God’s best or His truth.

No way. I won’t do this.

This isn’t just about being grateful to God about weight released, either. It is about everything…as I foster this character quality of thankfulness, appreciation, it, in turn continues to promote true humility in my life….This is about so much more than my physical body….and food.

The book says it like this:

“As we continue to be thankful to the Lord, we discover that the shackles of self-preoccupation and greed begin to fall away, that our incessant need or want for more food begins to diminish. We discover that we are being transformed from within. It is in this place of continued surrender that we lay before Him our hearts, our hunger, and, yes, our food…” page 175