The Grit & Grace of Gratitude

Dear One,

This time last year, a friend of mine from CA wrote a mini-series on the theme of gratitude and published it on her Instagram page. Soon after, 2020 rolled (or shall we say roared) in and …

  • She got Covid (incapacitated for more than 6 months)
  • The CA fires raged in her neighborhood, forcing emergency evacuation. 
  • She was displaced for months, living in a single hotel room for 75 days. 
  • Her brother died.
  • Her adult children were displaced in another part of CA.
  • Her home sustained smoke and ash damage, so everything was upended in the process of restoration.
  • And let’s not even talk about her fight with insurance companies and the injustices she faced, along with all the communal grief.

My friend has had a Job-like year, no two-ways about it. But here’s what I noticed. I noticed God soaked & saturated her in the grace of gratitude before the grief rolled in.

Like rain soaking the earth before the fires come, I believe my friend’s 2019 immersion in gratitude was preparation for, not protection from, what was to come. It’s similar to soaking wooden skewers before placing them in the hot coals when making shish kabobs – you do that, right? I read you can soak them in wine (free tip, here), which might be what soaking in gratitude is like, Jesus changing the water to wine and us climbing right in. Say.No.More.

I don’t know about you, but I feel pretty bone-dry at this point in the game. One little spark and I’m up in flames, a literal tinderbox. Grumbling (which abounds these days) dries me out all the more until, all brittle-boned, I’m in a weakened state, not at all ready to face the fires. Might we all need a good long soak in the substantive sweetness that is gratitude?

Let me pause to say no sugary, shallow giving of thanks will do in the face of the fires that be. The gratitude we’re in need of has both grit and grace, just ask my friend. 

Gratitude does not protect us as much as prepare and preserve us. Like those shish kabob skewers, we’re still put to the flame, but we’re not burned. The soaking sees us through. We feel the heat but we’re not consumed. 

My friend, Charlotte, writes, “When upheaval comes, God takes me to the deep places of suffering and invites me to receive the messengers of grace embedded in the most painful places … What was written originally as an inquiry in a topic I’m not particularly drawn to (gratitude), became an experience of grace in 2019, and again in 2020.”

The grace (and grit) of gratitude: Our Little Life Words of the week.  



  • Do you spend more time soaking in a spirit of gratitude or of grumbling?
  • How does grumbling dry you out and leave you in a vulnerable state?
  • How do you feel about the statement that gratitude doesn’t protect us as much as prepare & preserve us?


  • Follow my friend, Charlotte, on Instagram at this link to read her reflections on gratitude. 
  • Soak in gratitude, literally. Take a calming bath (or soak your feet) and the whole time you’re in there do nothing but give thanks (wine is optional). 
  • Make shish kabobs for dinner using (well-soaked) wooden skewers. 



  • Every morning I begin my prayer time by reviewing the day before and giving thanks for every gift and grace (even/especially the hard ones). Join me?

Happy Thanksgiving, friend! It may not look like any of us wished it did, but this holiday of ours is up for the challenge. After all, it was born out of and has lived into, some desperately difficult days.

The first Thanksgiving took place in the midst of very tenuous relationships with many lives lost. It later became a national holiday in the middle of our Civil War. Yes, I’d say it’s a holiday born of both the grit and grace of gratitude, exactly what the doctor ordered for such a time as this. 

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