The Grove – Grateful

Ladies, the heartfelt dialogue that is happening daily here at Velvet Ashes, it’s just really something to behold.  The way you are showing up, opening up, and encouraging each other?  Truly beautiful.

Today we’re meeting here at The Grove to share our thoughts and art on the prompt “Grateful.”  Let me get us rolling…

A Grateful Chorus 

The list can pile long, all the things we give up to live this kind of life, from the trivial favorite foods to the cherished family gatherings.  All these sacrifices, these “have-not’s,”  they can sit glaringly at the forefront of the mind.  Some days they shout loud and deafening in the ears.

The ache for what was, or the longing for what will be, those can completely drown the here and now, can’t they?  It’s pretty miserable, grasping for what isn’t there.

If someone throws you a Bible verse and tells you, “You know, we are to give thanks in all circumstances,” you’ll probably begrudgingly take that piece of advice and shove it in your guilty box labeled “Things I should be doing, but am NOT.”  And then you’ll sink a little deeper.

But friends, what if being grateful is the very thing that would actually allow you to breathe, right now, right where you are?  What if focusing on the “have’s” would dislodge the “have-not’s” from their forefront position?  What if a simple whispered, “Thank you” could quiet those deafening shouts, comfort those aches and longings?

(Now, I in no way mean to minimize or simplify your complex journey if emotional drowning is the daily battle that you face.  If it is, see the hug and helping hand we’ve offered in the comment section here.)

I’ve just got this hunch.  A hunch based on my own two years of whispering “thank yous.”  There’s this connection between gratitude and joy.  When my heart says, “I’m grateful,” then it therefore isn’t ungratefulAnd when ungratefulness leaves its place of occupancy with in my heart, contentment quietly slips in.

Perhaps this is why Scripture doesn’t suggest gratitude, it expects gratitude, commands it.   Perhaps this is why a grateful song sits on the lips of his servants, his beloved disciples, as they pen each page of Scripture, growing the movement of Christ through the fiercest of times and trials.

When I lose sight of gratitude, I’ve lost touch with the One from whom all goodness flows.  But when I offer up my meager thanks, I’m found again in Him.

What if we sing our own grateful chorus together here today?  What if our voices rise from all our corners of the globe?

What if together we say, “We are women living hard and crazy lives.  But in this, we stand GRATEFUL, for we live and move and have our being in the One who is goodness, hope and love itself”?

What if?

Raise your words and art with me in this chorus today?

I am grateful…

For parents’ hearts so full of love, they break that we are far away.

For hard-working, generous souls that sacrifice for me to be here.

For friends to share my journey.

For my five-year-old’s new favorite word, “awkward,”  and the goofiness that abounds.

For long underwear, thick and cozy warm.

For stuffed steamed buns, fresh and delicious along the roadside.

For my rocking chair, three babies rocked here.

For team, both the struggle and the bond.

For the parts of my heart forever changed by the touch of Chinese friendship.

For the art poured out of souls here.

For this community of women coming alive, linking arms, finding comradery and courage.


Here’s how you can add your voice to our grateful chorus:

        1.  If you don’t have a blog, share with us in the comments.
        2. If you have a blog, write or make art based on the prompt.
        3. Be sure to add the Velvet Ashes link ( to your blog post.  Feel free to use the button code from our side bar.
        4. Please select the permalink from your post (so not your blog’s url, but your post url:
        5. Use the blue linky tool below to enter your link.
        6. It will walk you through selecting which image you want to show up in the linky.
        7. Then your post will show up in The Grove’s linky.
        8. Then go share some comment love!  It’s the rule.  We applaud brave hearts!

Sorry, no pictures in the link up today!  Pictures will be back next week!


Word art by Amy Davis Art Design


  1. Kristi November 21, 2013

    Being grateful is life-giving but, sometimes its just so hard.

    I Am Grateful
    For broken dreams
    That bring glimpses of greater glories
    For empty days
    From which flows a greater fullness
    For a depth of sadness
    That secures a deeper joy
    For a thirsty soul
    That You fill to overflowing
    For a wounded heart
    That can offer true compassion
    For the valley road
    That leads to greater heights
    For the dark and dismal
    For the bright and beautiful
    For all Your gifts
    I am grateful

    1. Amy S November 21, 2013

      Kristi, this is beautiful. I totally get this kind of grateful.

      Today I’m grateful that my husband is coming home after two weeks away. I’m grateful for early morning peace to read and pray before my 3 kids are awake. I’m grateful for a nice view out my window, for the sadness I feel at friends leaving that means we have gone deep and mean a lot to each other. I’m grateful that tomorrow I will get on a plane with my family to Singapore and see my brother and his family and my mother – a rare coming together of family on the far side of the world. I’m grateful for this community, for sisterhood, for the love of Jesus, which makes life bearable and even makes abundant life possible.

    2. Danielle Wheeler November 21, 2013

      Ah, you’ve brought us to the heart and center of it all, Kristi. To see the bright and beautiful AND the dark and dismal as gifts – this is true gratitude. Such depth and truth to your words. Thank you.

      1. Kristi November 21, 2013

        Now to only live out that truth!

      1. Kristi November 22, 2013

        I’m glad that these words can touched your heart. 🙂

  2. Lynnette November 21, 2013

    Recently I read a passage about the “sacrifice of thanksgiving” and began to ponder what does a “sacrifice” of thanksgiving really mean. A sacrifice usually involves offering up or letting go of something we value. I wonder then if a sacrifice of thanksgiving involves offering up my dreams, desires, and wishes for the way I want things to be and instead choosing to give thanks for what is, even when it’s hard. I wonder if it involves letting go of “my plan” and choosing instead to be thankful for “His plan,” even when that plan hasn’t been fully revealed and isn’t fully understood. Just something I’ve been pondering.

    1. Danielle Wheeler November 22, 2013

      Such rich thoughts, Lynnette. That’s the hardest, isn’t it? When the plan hasn’t been fully revealed and isn’t fully understood. Giving thanks even (especially!) in the pain of that shows trust in who He is. You’ve got me pondering on the sacrifice of thanksgiving now too. 🙂

    2. Kristi November 22, 2013

      I was thinking that maybe it involve holding on to every gift he gives us – the pretty and the painful – with an open hand. We offer them back to Him even as we receive them.

      1. Mary M November 23, 2013

        Such beautiful writing. Touches my heart. This day is a gift, each breath, how will I give thanks for such wonder. In the midst of early morning darkness dawn starts to come, to the world and to my heart as I read these words. Words that help me give thanks even when life is not as I would have it. I give thanks for God’s faithfulness knowing and trusting He is working in ways beyond my understanding in my life and in the lives of those I love, in real life, and as sisters in Christ around the world. I have so much to be thankful for. Kristi said it perfectly. thank you.

  3. Jennifer November 21, 2013

    I am grateful for the honesty and openness of a friend who helped me to see what I could not see, and who was prepared to say what no one else was prepared to say, and who saw both good and bad that no one else saw. To me that was a priceless gift. In the middle of the challenges of life right now, and trusting God in the midst of misunderstandings, and missing my friend both because she is not here now and because of unresolved challenges, I just need to say that I am deeply thankful for everything our friendship gave to me, and for the privilege of being able to walk with her through some challenging times. I am thankful for the challenges and for the acceptance, and for her simply being who she is, and for a time giving me the freedom to be who I was and finding acceptance and peace.

      1. Jennifer November 22, 2013

        Thank you… It remains a gift to me. I needed to acknowledge that today. I miss it and would probably do just about anything to make things right again between us. Right now she is on the other side of the world to me, and I do not even know how she is. I am still thankful and needed to say that to someone. Thank you.

  4. Emily March November 22, 2013

    “We are women living hard and crazy lives. But in this, we stand GRATEFUL, for we live and move and have our being in the One who is goodness, hope and love itself” Thank you Danielle for these words! What you wrote brought tears to my eyes because it is the beautiful truth. Only looking towards the positive side of even the toughest trials am I able to make it through standing. And the beauty is that with Christ, there is a positive side to everything, as Kristi emphasized! I am so grateful for my husband of 4 years, by 2 year old daughter and our new baby on the way. I am so grateful that no matter where I have gone since leaving my parents home 13 years ago, God has always provided family to surround me with His love. Whatever was lacking…whatever my heart was longing for – He was the one who would fill my heart with HOPE, knowing that He could provide even the seemingly impossible. I am so incredible grateful that nothing is impossible for Jesus! Thank you Velvet Ashes for reminding me of this hope and the opportunity to dwell on gratitude.

    1. Danielle Wheeler November 22, 2013

      So glad this resonated with you, Emily. You add a lovely strand to this grateful chorus,

  5. Jennifer November 22, 2013

    Grateful for the fact that choosing to be grateful in challenging times, when things just don’t make sense, when we may feel so alone, can really make a difference. Not necessarily to the situation, it can remain as challenging or even more challenging as ever, but to how we face it, and how we find the strength to stand and continue on one step at a time. A few months ago I listened to part of a service on my mp3. The thing that meant the most to me then and since was not the sermon (though it was inspiring) but a song, sung as part of the service. It was “Bow the Knee” Listening to it again just now, I recognized that it still speaks directly to me and my journey. I think I really needed this reminder. I am grateful for the way in which God has used many things and people away from where I am to teach me what I need to learn to walk through the challenges, to cope with not understanding and feeling overwhelmed. Velvet ashes is fast becoming another of those blessings to me. I hope that I can be as much a blessing to others.

    1. Morielle November 23, 2013

      These words are a huge blessing to me, Jennifer: “Grateful for the fact that choosing to be grateful in challenging times, when things just don’t make sense, when we may feel so alone, can really make a difference. Not necessarily to the situation….but to how we face it.” I most certainly needed to hear them.

  6. Shelley November 22, 2013

    I am grateful for a Father that pursues me. He holds onto me and never leaves my side. He always understands and gets me. He comforts me and knows my every thought and need. He is never too busy, too distracted, or too stressed to listen. He is trustworthy, wise, and good. He gives me amazing grace and takes away my shame. I am thankful.

  7. Jessica Hoover November 22, 2013

    What if it is the one thing that could turn this whole life upside down? I have begun to think in the past three years that it really is. So glad to be journeying by grace with you sweet friend.

  8. Elizabeth Legendre November 22, 2013


    Today I’m grateful for …

    My family and friends and the little bit of time I have left with them before I leave.

    Google earth and the ability to virtually walk to the church that I will probably go to while I live abroad.

    That church because honestly I wasn’t sure if there was going to be one where I will live.

    The fact that I don’t have a guy in my life right now because that would probably hold me back from following God to France.

    Oral French exams like the one I took this morning and being forced to use the language I’m learning.

    The Christmas ‘tree’ made out of lights on my wall that reminds me of the Reason for doing everything I do.

    Those are just a few of the things that I am grateful for on this Friday afternoon.

    Also, I wanted to share this song with y’all. When I think of being grateful, it often pops in my head:

    1. Kristi November 22, 2013

      I listen to the song. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

      1. Elizabeth Legendre November 22, 2013

        Thanks, Kristi! It plays often on my Pandora folk station and every time it does it reminds me to be grateful, even for the things I might not want to be grateful for because God has His hand on those things and they are part of His plan.

    2. Emily March November 23, 2013

      Yes, thank you for the song! It always amazes me how some music can reach down into my soul and fill me from the inside out. This song did just that.

    3. Morielle November 23, 2013

      Elizabeth, I’m so glad you wrote about not having a guy in your life. That’s certainly one of those things I often don’t want to be grateful for, but God is working wonderful things through my life because of this fact. I probably wouldn’t be here, for one, if I did have a guy. 🙂 So I’m joining you in saying “I’m so grateful there’s no guy in my life.” Thanks for the inspiration!

      1. Elizabeth Legendre November 23, 2013

        If I’m honest that’s not one that I’m grateful for as often as I should be. And when I am sometimes it’s more of a begrudging “I-guess-I’m-grateful”. Especially on the days where I look at so many of my friends who are in relationships. But I’m trying. It’s good to know that someone else understands where I’m coming from with that one. 😀

  9. Holly Dove November 22, 2013

    My thoughts on grateful are family bent at the moment. We just got back home to New Zealand from a five week trip that involved a wedding, visits to all my remaining grandparents, visiting two married siblings in their homes and spending one on one time family to family, an early Thanksgiving with my parents and most of my unmarried siblings, and a visit to a precious grave holding the body of an 18 year old that was dug only last year.

    On the other side of the coin, I am grateful for my husband’s family here as well. Keeping an eye, not only on our place while we were away, but also on the extensive renovations being done to our house, coming out to the airport for us at five in the morning, but most of all being very supportive and fantastic in-laws and grandparents.

  10. Debbie November 25, 2013

    I am extremely grateful that our daughter is here during this season. She also serves overseas and we don’t get to see her that often. It was a surprise to have her here for these holidays. I am grateful we are sharing this site together and reading the books for the book club on kindle together. I am grateful for being able to share our lives together on this journey the Lord has us on.

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