Gratitude in Motion

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29: 11-13

Tis the season for all sorts of moving forward. The weather is getting warmer. School years are coming to a close. COVID vaccines are inching many parts of the world towards a shadow of “normal.” I personally know lots of people who will soon be moving on to new jobs and homes—our family included.  These times of transition always seem to tug the heart in two directions—looking forward to new adventures and the ache of what we will miss about the here and now. Leaving the familiar is always daunting, isn’t it? 

In March, Tania Alden shared an article about the simple power of intentional gratitude and how it connects us to heaven. I’m finding that standing on the brink of a big move has me counting my blessings twofold. For months now, I’ve had a running list of people, places, and things that I will miss about our lives here in Toronto: 

  • Our monthly church potlucks 
  • The park across the street from our house
  • The huge window in our living room
  • The garden my husband has poured so much love and thought into
  • Our favourite gluten free bakery that makes the most excellent butter tarts
  • The neighbours and friends we’ve made
  • My rock choir community. 
  • The women who have stepped into the role of aunties and grandmothers to our children

This list is far from exhaustive, but you get the idea. Some of these things I’ve already been missing thanks to the pandemic, but I’ve appreciated how preparing to leave has given me this opportunity to be especially grateful for these and countless other blessings in my life here.

On the flip side, I also have a running list of things that I am looking forward to about living in our new Pittsburgh home: 

  • Reuniting with our extended families for the first time since COVID shut down the border
  • American Amazon and Netflix
  • Trader Joe’s and Target
  • A huge park to discover near our new house
  • A new home to settle into and make our own
  • Cheaper car insurance
  • A new congregation of future friends to serve
  • The opportunity to start fresh

Of course these lists are personal to me, but I invite you all to pause and consider any transitions coming your way or perhaps to reflect on a big change that’s already happened in your life. We are all perpetually moving forward in one way or another. That’s just life. I invite you to take stock of how your blessings multiply when you consider them across the passage of time and place. How much you’ve had and how much you have and how—no matter how hard or crazy things get—the Lord promises more blessings in the future. 

It’s not always easy to trust that what’s ahead will be better or even as good as what we have now. I know I’ve had to let go of a lot of control lately—or at least do a lot of admitting to myself that I never had control in the first place so what on earth was I clinging to anyway? Granted, my husband and I made the choice to move—I guess that was my small piece of control. Not all big change is chosen, but this one was. In a way, choosing to say goodbye makes the heart ache all the more. Ache with fear that we made a mistake. Ache with guilt for leaving. Ache with hope for a bright future. 

So here’s to letting go and moving on. Here’s to counting all sorts of blessings that stretch across our lives. And if for some reason counting blessings feels tough right now, maybe we can take a moment to bid a less than fond farewell to bad things that we’ve managed to move past—or look forward to when we can. It’s comforting to know that no matter when or where we are—we are blessed. Even if we can’t see it. That’s the best gift of Providence. 

The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Isaiah 58:11

About Justine Buss

Justine Buss and her family are currently based in Pittsburgh. She was born and raised in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania and studied theatre and English at Muhlenberg College. She spent her professional career working with young people in theatre and is now a full time stay at home mom and pastor’s wife. She stays in touch with her theatre roots by directing Christmas and New Church Day pageants, helping with school plays, and taking an improv class. She also enjoys singing, creative writing (including the occasional murder mystery party game), bargain hunting, and going on adventures with her family. She is grateful for the expressive outlet that New Christian Woman provides. It's so good to take the time to reflect on and write about the things that are on our minds and hearts.

3 thoughts on “Gratitude in Motion

  1. Well this was absolutely perfect for me to read this morning, on the brink of my own move. Not only did your thoughts and words connect me to gratitude, but it reminded me how well it has worked for me (after all I did write a whole article about it!)
    Thank you for the reminder. And blessings on you for handling so much change with grace and trust.

  2. Beautifully stated! I’ve been reflecting on this very thing, the happy and sad contrasts that one doesn’t exist without the other. Beginning and ending. Sunshine and rain. The one thing I am most grateful for, learning to be grateful for ALL of it. (And that quote is my favourite and has carried me through many ups and downs in life!)

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