Gratitude Grows Roots

Last winter, my family spent weeks in an Airbnb in New England, not realizing we’d be back in the area for much of the spring. When Easter arrived, we were living in a hotel room close to my brother’s cancer hospital. Week by week, as we walked to his chemo treatments, we watched the trees along the sidewalk change with the season. On the hardest days, we tried to look ahead to summer, focusing on the end of the timeline when our family could go home. 

When I was finally back in Texas, I attended a summer women’s Bible study. On the last night that we gathered, I listened as women shared their takeaways. When it was my turn, I could barely get words out. I looked across the room at women who had walked with my family through the winter and spring; their tears mirrored my own. They already knew what I was struggling to explain: even though I’d been back in my own bed for months, I had spent much of the summer still trying to find my way home.

It’s not always enough to walk off a plane and unpack your suitcase. Seasons change, and the world you leave behind isn’t always the same as the one you return to. How do you begin to find a sense of rootedness again?

What Would It Take? 

If you’ve been focused on surviving difficult circumstances of any kind, you know how hard it can be to reenter “normal” life, much less a holiday season. Your phone calendar will automatically switch to November at midnight tonight, but that doesn’t mean your heart will feel ready for Thanksgiving and—before you know it—Christmas. 

Whether you have been walking with a family member through a crisis or you’ve experienced a series of transitions and changes that have thrown your regular rhythms off balance, you may be entering November feeling somewhat disoriented. Maybe even numb. Physically, you’ll be back at home in time for the holidays, but does your heart feel as though home is still far away?

That night at Bible study, it became clear to me how the Lord had used that group of women and consistent time in His Word to reorient me to the life I had been feeling so disconnected from. Right before the final session ended, the leader encouraged us to sit with a question that has continued to be helpful to me: “If God never added anything else to your life, how would you respond? What would it take for you to be the kind of woman who looks at all she has and thanks the Lord?” 

The simple act of gratitude has become a means of growing roots right in the middle of this new normal. It has helped steady my heart after months when it felt like it would never stop racing, and it has stirred up praise where I previously felt numb.

Gratitude isn’t a groundbreaking concept, but God often uses the most basic disciplines to rebuild our foundation upon Him. The key is not to be thankful in general, but to be thankful to God, who is not only the generous giver of all good gifts (James 1:17) but a loving Father who has been and continues to be abundantly good to you (1 John 3:1). 

Spending time observing the good that God has provided in your circumstances and thanking Him for it leads to praise. And that praise helps you feel more present where you are, drawing you closer to the Lord and helping you find your home in Him (Psalm 90:1).

30 Days of Gratitude 

What would happen if you committed to the daily discipline of expressing gratitude to the Lord as a means of reorienting your heart in this season? Each day in November, write down five things you’re thankful for. Frame each list as a prayer that expresses your gratitude to the Lord

Print out the rest of this post or refer to it often and use the daily prompts below as your jumping-off point. 

November 1: Thank you, Lord, for a new day, for all that You provide before my feet even hit the floor. Thank you for a morning with new opportunities to get to know You. Thank you that even when the night feels long, the sunrise always comes.

November 2: Thank you, Lord, for all that You have given me through Jesus Christ, including what is mentioned in Romans 5:1, Romans 5:10–11, Romans 6:22, Romans 8:15, Romans 11:35–36, and more. 

November 3: Thank you, Lord, for the colors of fall: red leaves, blue skies, yellow squash . . . 

November 4: Thank you, Lord, for the moments—big and small—that stand out to me when I look back on what happened this week.

November 5: Thank you, Lord, for the people serving in my local church: for my pastor and his family, those who greet us at the door, those who work in administrative roles, those who chase toddlers and rock babies during worship services . . .

November 6: Thank you, Lord, for Your unchanging character (Heb. 13:8). You are faithful, trustworthy, merciful, kind . . . 

November 7:  Thank you, Lord, for the technology that makes life a little easier. My daily routines would look different without Wi-Fi, coffee machines, the Kindle app . . . 

November 8: Thank you, Lord, for family members and friends who feel like family. 

November 9: Thank you, Lord, for the body parts I’ve probably never thanked you for but are crucial for functioning. 

November 10: Thank you, Lord, for the moments of comfort I’ve experienced this week: a warm meal, a big hug, clean sheets . . . 

November 11: Thank you, Lord, for the gift of living in this country. Thank you for those who have served in uniform, those who I know personally, and the millions I will never meet. 

November 12: Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Your Word. 

November 13: Thank you, Lord, for events that are coming up that I get to look forward to. 

November 14: Thank you, Lord, for the specific songs and lyrics that stir my heart to worship Jesus. 

November 15: Thank you, Lord, for evidence of your creation that I can see from the window: neighbors, rain, and birds. Even bugs declare Your creativity. 

November 16: Thank you, Lord, for the Bible verses and passages in Scripture that have changed my perspective, given me hope, and strengthened my faith.

November 17: Thank you, Lord, for the parts of my daily routine that bring me joy. 

November 18: Thank you, Lord, for the people whom I’ve never met but who have impacted my life: the editors of my favorite devotional, the transportation workers helping people get home for the holidays, my great, great, great grandparents . . .

November 19: Thank you, Lord, for the places in my neighborhood and city that I get to visit.

November 20: Thank you, Lord, for mentors and role models who have taught me—those who have shaped my faith through close proximity and those who have taught me through their ministries. 

November 21: Thank you, Lord, for moments in my past where I can see evidence of Your goodness and faithful love and ways that You were working (Psalm 23:6).

November 22: Thank you, Lord, for every ingredient that makes up a meal I’m making or a favorite recipe I’m craving. 

November 23: Thank you, Lord, for the faces I get to see around the dinner table. 

November 24: Thank you, Lord, for thoughtful gifts that I’ve received and the ones that I can’t wait to give this Christmas. 

November 25: Thank you, Lord, for the simple joys that made this week special. 

November 26: Thank you, Lord, for all the life that takes place in my living room—from loud conversations with visiting family and friends to quiet evenings alone on the couch . . .

November 27: Thank you, Lord, for all the ways that You’re clearly at work throughout the world. Thank you for the ministry to women that’s taking place around the globe . . .

November 28: Thank you, Lord, for the ways You have treated me generously (Psalm 13:6), answering prayers and pouring out grace in ways beyond anything I could have expected. 

November 29: Thank you, Lord, for all the fun that fills up the month of December: decorating the tree, singing carols, baking cookies . . . 

November 30: Thank you, Lord, for the countless ways my life has been changed because You sent Your Son to earth. 

Here’s one more thing to be thankful for: more content on the topic of gratitude! Check out the Revive Our Hearts resource library for podcasts, blog posts, and more practical suggestions for cultivating a grateful heart. 

About the Author

Katie Laitkep

Katie Laitkep

Katie Laitkep was working as a hospital teacher when God called her to join Revive Our Hearts as a staff writer. She serves remotely from Houston, Texas, where God sustains her through saltwater beaches, Scripture, and her local church. Katie's … read more …

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