How Gratitude Turns Everything Into Enough

On a cool summer evening, we sipped wine and nibbled on Bianca pizza out on the terrace. As the sun set, the Frank Sinatra cover band ushered in the rising moon, leaving the sky a splash of pink and orange hues, dusted with flecks of gold and purple. I put on my cardigan and pulled my knees to my chest. A chill had begun to settle in.

These nights are my favorite. Nothing fancy, in fact, we stumbled upon this little restaurant after a trip to Trader Joe’s. We didn’t plan any of it, moseying was the only thing on our agenda that evening — and we are expert mosey-ers.

“This feels like vacation,” Ashley laughed. I smiled back, then stared off for a moment. I thought about how after a few weeks, the only chance we would have to enjoy nights like this would be on vacation. In just a month, we will pack up our apartment and head our separate ways, each into our next seasons, seasons we’ve prayed hard and waited long for.

The conversation continued, our waiter returning time and again to refill our glasses. At times, we  were so in it we didn’t even notice him there until he leaned in and asked, “Everything okay, ladies?”

“Oh yes, thank you.”


Ashley and I exchanged fears, deep thoughts, and convictions. We declared words of truth, life, and prophecy. Conversations like this have become so natural to me in this season. Conversations that speak volumes of who God is even when we don’t understand our circumstances; ones that speak of his faithfulness whether we are lying in the desert or standing on the hill of inheritance. Conversations that speak to the greatness inside of us rather than the shame or fear we feel shackled by. Conversations of freedom and life.

And these don’t occur without recognizing the harsh realities of a fallen world, but acknowledging them and saying, “Nevertheless.”

Nevertheless God is good.

Nevertheless God is sovereign.

That early summer night, like he does so often, the Spirit spoke as if carrying sweet whispers across the breeze. And our ears tuned in.

“You’re thankful for the season you’re in — that makes you different from most.”

Something the Lord had been whispering to me since last summer: gratitude. Something I had been asking him for more and more of: thankfulness. Had I actually received the thing he’s been giving? Had I finally chosen thankfulness over resentment? And I realized in that moment how gratitude makes all the difference.

I am thankful for the birds singing outside my window and the mug of coffee steaming up my glasses right now. I am thankful for the Bethel YouTube channel and the way Skype turns coworkers into friends. I am thankful for hoodies and moleskines and fresh flowers. I am thankful for rocking chairs and twinkle lights and walks at dusk. I am thankful for the mentors and the best friends and that couch by my desk where I have had the opportunity to speak so much life over people.

I am thankful for gas station fro-yo and face time with loved ones who are states, nations, and oceans away. I am thankful for live music and rich foods and people who you can talk with for hours on end or sit with in silence together and still be okay. I am thankful for classic literature and the way my friends know me so well. I am thankful for celebrations of grand things and little things.

I am even thankful for the pain I feel when mourning because it proves just how great the people we lost really were. I am thankful for the way life always comes after death.

I am thankful for people who remind me of the warmth of the light when I all I can see is darkness. I am thankful for the way God is the same yesterday, today, and forever — yet always seems to get better.

I am thankful for each season of my life and how they have been pivotal, not wasteful, in the process of me becoming the woman I have been created to be.

In thankfulness, I will continue remembering his goodness while believing for the fulfillment of promises yet to come. That’s the best place to be.

If you have forgotten who he is or who you are, if you’ve lost sight of your purpose, grab a good friend and take a walk or sit on a patio at happy hour. Remember the good, beautiful, and lovely things, and celebrate. Revisit the hard and not-so-lovely things and choose to see the goodness and purpose God is creating out of the brokenness and ashes. If you can’t find it, ask him. He won’t keep it from you.

But whatever you do today, choose gratitude.

Here’s to gratitude and how it turns everything into enough. -Emily Loerke


  1. ashleyjhiggins · May 29, 2013

    yes. just yes.
    i would cry over this but you’re sitting across from me and would see. so, so, so proud of you. for the woman you’re constantly becoming, for the ways you choose gratitude for yourself and for so many of us. happy to call you friend.

  2. newlyweds4life · May 29, 2013

    This is such a beautiful post Carrie! What I love about Papa is the subtle way he slyly connects the dots from different avenues in our lives. For me it is this post of gratitude, the eucharisteo sign hanging above my pantry, and Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. I was wondering if you have read it, or her blog,

    • carriehokanson · May 29, 2013

      One Thousand Gifts is on my to-read list! I have heard marvelous things about Ann’s book. I love the sweet reminders the Lord gives us each day, constantly wooing us back to him to enjoy his goodness. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Janssen · May 29, 2013

    We definitely have peanut-sized brains compared to the God of the universe. It took me a while to get that thankfulness wasn’t just some positive-thinking-mumbo-jumbo; thankfulness is directly correlated with how God can work in your life.

    I think most of us can relate to this:

    God gives you a promise. And of course it’s a big one; it excites you, fills you with hope and joy. It’s all good. But once it becomes this thing where you can’t be happy unless you have it, it’s become an idol, or false god over your life.

    I have been so convicted of this.

    You look at all of the great men and women in the word and you can see that they too were given a promise from God, but it took some of them years and years and years before they saw it fulfilled. Even Jesus Himself had to wait.

    So what’s the secret? I think you did an excellent job describing it in this blog post.

    David says in psalms that the people of Israel forgot His works, became enslaved, then God would deliver them. This wasn’t just once, it was an endless cycle. And we know that first generation never made it to the promise land.

    With me, God was like, “DUDE. Cheer up! You’ve gotta be happy NOW. I’m with you — just enjoy the journey. If you’re not happy now you won’t be happy when you get it.”

    God has to be our source of joy. Not money, things, people or promises.

    Funny how you wrote about this in this precise hour of my life 🙂

    • carriehokanson · May 29, 2013

      I am glad this word came at the right time for you, Janssen, and I appreciate you sharing here. I’ve really been discovering the ultimate end is the Lord, not the promise. I see the promise as a pretty sweet bonus. And that is a full life! I agree with your perspective here!

  4. The Buck · May 29, 2013

    Such wisdom my friend:)

  5. jaynefranks · May 29, 2013

    If only we had more of these sort of warm evenings in the UK. It sounds lovely.

  6. Pingback: (Tough) Cryptoquote Spoiler – 05/29/13 | Unclerave's Wordy Weblog
  7. Ms Patti · May 30, 2013

    Wow! Beautifully written Carrie! Such wisdom from someone so young! :). So proud of you and love you much!!!!! Xo

  8. Patti Paschall · May 30, 2013

    Love you! Miss you! Xoxo

    Sent from my iPad

  9. Jester · May 30, 2013

    Such a good life lesson. Joy and gratitude go hand in hand. We are not grateful because we have joy, rather we have joy because we’re grateful.

  10. Stacy P · June 2, 2013

    “I am thankful for the way God is the same yesterday, today, and forever — yet always seems to get better.”

    Oh man that is so very good and true. I love this post, your thoughts, and your heart. I’m incredibly thankful for you.

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