Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving

The wall started white. A blank canvas beckoned.

A tree emerged. A tree to carve our thanks upon. A tree like the one of our Lord. For we know that giving thanks often follows sacrifice.

We mark the entrance to our home with thanks to Him. The rebellious act of scribbling on the wall redeemed by His grace in an act of penitence. Our sin redeemed by His love. Our hearts purified as we enter His gates with thanksgiving.

The first thanks: books, snakes, my children, and three prayers.

Thanks grew as a tree does. Friends coming and going added their thanks to ours. Thanks given in community ministers grace to the givers. Some approach the wall with timidity and say with their mouths, “I feel uncomfortable writing on the wall.” Yes, breaking from the routine to say thanks can make one uneasy. Facing the wall and taking action does not come easy to all. Others grab up a marking tool and jump up and down in front of the opportunity before them. “How many can I do?” They beg to pour out permanent thanks. Not surprisingly the youngest ones, and the ones with childlike hearts, are most prompt to spill out heartfelt thanks. Shorter lives make for longer thanksgiving. How can that be when longer lives have had more time to be filled with blessing? I must decrease and become like my short ones so that He might increase.

Love, the word most often inscribed by many hands and hearts. Unintentional, yet we know Who intended it. The One who first wrote love on our hearts.

Family, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, and friends follow as the most common thanks. Unity, the graffiti of gratitude.

Thankfulness taught while kneeling down by modeling and molding, we write then we pray.

My top three favorite ones:

Tyler told me the two figures he drew are himself and God, and that God is the bigger one.
In red letters across the truck of the tree a child thanks God for The Cross. Amen.

And a final look at the whole wall on this Thanksgiving Day. If you come to our home, please add your thanks to this gratitude collection.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving” (Psalm 100:4)

40 thoughts on “Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving

  1. Hi Angie,
    What a beautiful and creative idea – I just love it! I’m stopping by from a mention over at A Holy Experience. And when I read your background info, I just had to say hi, since I’m a fellow Nebraska girl (originally from Massachusetts — but I’ve lived in Lincoln for the past 10 years). It’s nice to meet you!

  2. “Not surprisingly the youngest ones, and the ones with childlike hearts, are most prompt to spill out heartfelt thanks. Shorter lives make for longer thanksgiving. How can that be when longer lives have had more time to be filled with blessing? I must decrease and become like my short ones so that He might increase.”
    This quote really got to me. Really something to take seriously. This whole post was very touching and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for using your girft of writing to bring this message to us in such an impactful way. This is one post that will really stick with me.

    1. Yes, I think this idea works year-round. We started it a could moths ago. I just waited until Thanksgiving to post about it. Go for it!

    1. Thanks! I designed the wall with some stickers on picnik and then printed it out on an 8.5 x 11 page and free handed it from that.

  3. Wonderful tree! Beautiful.

    We made one also, though only out of construction paper. It is encouraging to see what comes out of my children’s hearts when I ask them what they are thankful for. :)

    We support some families in Bolivia. Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours!

    1. Thanks Julie! It is so very interesting to hear the hearts of our kids. I am glad to know you support some families in Bolivia. God bless you!

  4. The symbolism of the tree is what spoke to me in your post.
    Such meaningful imagery always involved in trees in the Bible — from Genesis to Revelation.
    Thankfulness, the mark of the one who Believes to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!
    Very nice idea! And loved your pictures!

  5. Well…what do ya know?! I, too, ended up here by way of “A Holy Experience”. How stinkin’ cool is that, that she put a link to YOUR blog on her page!!! I saw your pics of the tree on facebook and thought “what a glorious idea!” So…when can I come over and add my thanks to your wall, Angie?? Heck, we’ve never even gotten together for a little cafesito. What’s up with that??!!! Two creative souls, serving in Bolivia. We should def do it…soon!

    1. Hi Shay. :) You are welcome at my home any time. Send me a message on facebook or call me and we’ll get together. Thanks for the props.

  6. WOW I am going to do this with my family. This is a totally awesome idea. Now which wall can I take over….wait till my husband sees the wall… Wonderful idea for all year round. Loving God in Australia Blessings Mandy

  7. i LOVE this!!!! so beautiful!!!! At VBS this year we had a prayer wall that was very similar to this. children wrote their prayers and thanks on the wall. So beautiful to see their drawings and words–from a child’s heart. But how even more wonderful to have this on your OWN wall?? Just love. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Andrea, one of the things we do with our wall is to say a prayer of Thanksgiving after we inscribe. So, very similar to your VBS wall. I think it adds so much more when it is a spiritual conversation rather than just a physical and mental activity. Thanks for your comment!

  8. Hmm, the tree, the words, the idea, the collective thanksgiving, all of it compiled into a work of art…beautiful! Will be on the lookout for a space within my own home to transform!

  9. Also sent here from Ann’s site. Love the tree idea and my hubby is totally on board with us writing on the wall. Thanks for the inspiration! It will be fun to see how it evolves! I love the reminder of the important of gratitude, especially as you enter and leave home. Fabulous!

  10. Hey,
    where do you guys live in Bolivia? I like your idea! Also got your link from AHE. We were in Camiri (South of Santa Cruz) for 4 years. My hubby still goes there every 3 months.

    1. Hi Kari,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. We are in Cochabamba. We lived in Santa Cruz for 2 years then we moved here and have been here for 8 years.

      Blessings to you,
      Angie

  11. Lovely idea! Painting my tree on our dining room wall right now. (Always knew it was missing something, just didn’t know what.) Thanks for the inspiration! Blessings— Sara

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