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Have you ever had a good word go bad because of it’s attachment to a negative memory with lingering emotional baggage? As we enter this month of Thanksgiving I thought I’d tell a story about the word “grateful”—a good word that had gone bad in my life, and how God redeemed it.

There was a voice in my childhood that constantly used the shame-word “should” in the same sentence as the word “grateful” in order to get my compliance with a desired behavior. I grew up with guilt and shame as my constant companions. Early on, I discovered that performance provided me with relief from these two heart-invaders. I probably could have won an Oscar! But performing caused my heart to become hardened. Because of my self-protection, gratitude became a way to please people, rather than a true posture of my soul. (Did I really just say that publicly?)

Some 18 years ago, through a baptism in the revelation of God’s love and His acceptance, the baggage attached to the memories began to slowly disappear. Acceptance is that property in the blood of redemption that eats away the need to perform. Brennan Manning in his book, The Rabbi’s Heartbeat, writes: “Faith is the courage to accept acceptance.” What truth!

When I began the role of interim general supervisor I was asked how I would like my signature line to read. Without giving it much thought I said, “With gratitude!” I caught myself: did I really just say that? Yes, I did and I meant it with all my heart! Honestly, tears filled my eyes when I realized how deeply I meant it. God’s grace, love, mercy and acceptance have such a way of changing a person’s perspective about everything. I am truly grateful for many things … things I think I understand, as well as things I don’t. Funny thing—trust and humility grow exponentially when we are truly grateful. It’s way beyond an “attitude of gratitude”; it’s about being grateful to the core!

Prayer Focus: In a world with a pervasive attitude of entitlement, let’s pray that our Foursquare family would be a people of humility and gratitude modeling our recognition that though we deserve nothing, we have been given everything … because of God’s grace.

By: Tammy Dunahoo, interim general supervisor

is the former general supervisor of The Foursquare Church. She now serves as the dean at Portland Seminary.