Overwhelmed by Gratitude

Have you ever been totally surprised? I mean…blown away? Ever been given something completely unexpected?  Undeserved? With no strings attached?!?  We have been. And it’s difficult to put it into words.

As a family, about four weeks ago, we received a total surprise…that blew us away…and was completely unexpected and undeserved. And it came with no strings attached!  We didn’t win the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstake. We didn’t have the right key for that brand new Ford Escape sent in the mail. Oh, no. This gift was even better than either one of those – or any other random winning you may be imagining.

And here’s why it was the best kind of gift.  It was something that was done specifically for our family; it filled a very specific need, and it was done by people that truly love us! And then, as if to heap blessing upon blessing, other needs have been met by different parties since that first joyful event last month.  And…it’s difficult to put into words.

How do you say “thank you” for gifts that are so graciously given?  How do you respond when you feel so overwhelmed?  When you know that others have invested of themselves, their time, and their resources….for your benefit? A simple “thank you” is a start, but it hardly feels like enough.  I have prayed smiling and have shed tears of joy at the way God is providing so abundantly for us. And our hearts desire is to live in a way that shows our gratitude.

Being the receptor of sacrificial love gives you a feeling of smallness that is both beautiful and healthy. In this self-focused world, when you either succumb to the path of advertisers or battle the temptation to bend to your natural will, it is refreshing and humbling to see people step forward with straight back and joyful heart to spotlight others rather than themselves. To give generously and graciously expecting nothing in return. To bless others because they recognize how they themselves have been blessed. To live openhanded. It is, indeed, stunning to see such abundant generosity. And it is overwhelming.

Why? Because we are totally undeserving… and yet we have been given the opportunity to experience, first hand, grace. And we are overwhelmed with gratitude.

As a Christian, I can tell you that this is all a part of another story as well.  Living in a way that shows our gratitude because of what’s been done for us has its roots in a spiritual realm.  Because of the love and sacrifice of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I was offered a gift that has blown me away. And it, too, was totally unexpected. His offer of free salvation is amazing and hard to describe and understand, because it is so undeserved. And like my family’s response to the gifts we’ve recently received, my response to His gift is difficult to put into words. But I am, indeed, overwhelmed with gratitude. And my desire is to live in that way: Generously, graciously, and openhandedly — showing my thanks!