I rarely read the Acknowledgments.

You know – those pages at the beginning of the book.

When I open a new book, I’m hankering for a quick-connect to the content I was sold on when I made the purchase. The author’s personal relationships don’t generally figure into my decision to read, so I am apt to flip pages until I land at chapter one. That’s just how I tend to roll.

Until yesterday.

Sitting around the table on the first day of a new small group study season, I broke my own previously unspoken rule as together, we read the Acknowledgements.

What followed was an outpouring of the most beautiful stories about people whose lives have forever influenced our own – a veritable mosaic of faces and names and memories – accompanied by laughter and smiles. And tears.

Our Acknowledgements.

Friend, you are here! What I mean is, today you are breathing and moving, expending energy and employing God-given gifts as you do the business of your normal,¬†everyday…

And there are people who helped you get here. People you may not have acknowledged.

You don’t have to be an author to have your own Acknowledgements page! There are men and women and children and grandchildren who have surrounded and cared for, encouraged and challenged you, ensuring that you would be here – wherever that is and whatever that means to you – today.

You didn’t get here on your own, no matter how incredible you are!

So pop a piece of paper into the typewriter (LOL) or pull out your smartphone and make a list. Call it Acknowledgements.

Call it cultivation of a thankful heart.

Call it curation of a precious collection.

Call it whatever you want, but don’t keep it to yourself. And don’t hide it at the end of your story – in an appendix your readers may or may not see when your final chapter ends (seriously – who actually reads as the credits roll?).

There’s a reason those pages come before chapter one!

So, before you turn another page, stop and acknowledge those in your cloud – that great cloud of witnesses whose love and faith in you have brought you here. Today.