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“For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.”

One of the greatest writers ever, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said that. He was so right. Today was a simple, quiet day. The girls and I played Haunted Mansion by making ghosts out of toilet paper and sticking them in the windows of their Calico Critter playhouse. We played dolls, of course. We played Simon Says and Hide and Seek too. It was all quite peaceful. When it came time to make dinner, I walked downstairs and happened to see one of my journals lying on the bookshelf. It wasn’t any old journal, it was my old gratitude journal. The one in which every day for nearly two years I recorded five things that happened for which I was grateful. It seems like such a small thing and yet, over time, subtle changes happened within me. The most noticeable was that I wasn’t sad anymore, I saw things, small things, in everyday life that combatted the bad. I felt hopeful again. That gratitude journal, in essence, probably helped save my life.

I re-read some bits of it tonight and my heart, once again, was full of tenderness and gratitude. I’m at a better place in life now; I don’t need a daily gratitude journal to help me notice the small miracles I’m surrounded by. But the journal reminded me that we all need gratitude: it needs to be a consistent part of our lives.

So…

I do my journaling via this blog nowadays so I thought I’d start it here. Every Tuesday will feature a “Thankful Tuesday” post. Maybe it will list the things in the day I’m grateful for, or maybe it will detail something in the week. Whatever, I just want to make sure I keep gratitude and appreciation an active part of my life.

With that lengthy prologue… Here is the first Thankful Tuesday!

Today I am grateful that tomorrow is Wednesday. You see, for the past several years, I’ve been a part of the most wonderful ministry at church. It is called the Missionette’s Club . Under the Missionette umbrella are several different age-appropriate classes: the Rainbows are four year old girls, the Daisies are kindergarden, the Prims are first and second graders and the Stars are the third-fifth grade girls. The club hosts multiple events throughout the year such as church sleepovers, spaghetti dinners and field trips for the girls. Just like in Girl Scouts, there are badges to be earned for such fun things as cooking and camping. There are pledges to memorize and songs to learn.

My heart is deeply connected to this club not only because it is fun, but because I have seen how it actively changes girls’ lives, and draws them closer to God. They have to learn the Bible: they memorize Scripture and, by their fifth year, they have the chance to graduate the program as an Honor Student, which means that in addition to learning about Integrity, keeping a prayer journal and writing essays, they have also read the entire New Testament. In other words, the club teaches them, through fellowship and prayer, the Bible. It equips them to be spiritually ready to tackle high school–and life. In addition, they move through the classes with the same group of girls, which means they form lifelong friendships. Being a leader of any of the classes makes me heart happy.

And tomorrow night is the first night of my new third grade Stars class. Some of the girls I have taught for the past two years will be there, and hopefully, new faces as well. I have a really fun opening night planned, and I know the Holy Spirit will be present too. We’ll surround each other with comfort, encouragement, friendship and willing hearts. I’ll see their young, smiling faces and be filled with awe at the significance of what we will learn this year. We’ll laugh, we’ll cover each other in prayer and we’ll grow–closer to each other and closer to God.

I never had fellowship at church growing up. We went sporadically, when we could, when we were in a town long enough to find a church. So I understand exactly how priceless it is to form friendships with girls who believe the same spiritual truths you do. I understand how valuable it is to have a reliable, consistent program where you’re safe to have fun–and also safe when you make a mistake.

have looked forward to the start of this class all Summer, and I am so honored and privileged and grateful to be a part of this amazing club with such amazing girls! This Tuesday, my heart beats out a song of anticipation, excitement and gratitude for the coming Missionette Stars year!

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