I sat on the bed. Everything I believed was in the middle of a free fall. This was my parachute. It deployed and my descent slowed. So, I sat there and started crying. Not the gentle tear, but the rolling, sobbing kind.
If you asked me, I would have done away with our current course. There was so much to wade through and sometimes I just wasn’t sure about much. Trust of everything and most everybody was at a devastating low.
I had picked up a book I had some months earlier stuck in a corner. I had seen it advertised, it looked interesting, but when it came, it underwhelmed me. So, there it sat, forgotten, actually. Until one night in small group, the book came up in discussion. It rang familiar….I went home, dug it out and started to devour it. It’s funny how that happens. Not a coincidence, by any stretch of the imagination.
I had NO idea. God knew that it would be required reading for the journey I was about to take. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp changed my life forever.
As I was reading, God nudged me and began to un-bandage my wound. He was always so gentle with me. His gentleness wooed my worn out soul. He knew me and the brokenness of my heart.
He was always so full of grace. And, He began to speak through the words on the page. What was I going to do with it?
God was there in all the ugly pain. He was there and heard my child’s desperate cries for help and rescue. He made a way out. He was with us in the counseling moments. The hours upon hours of healing that took place through a dedicated mouthpiece. The darkness that seemed to hover over the waiting room would take my breath away. The grief that never seemed to run out. He was there.
In that moment, I had a choice to make.
I could either trust Him enough to be grateful in spite of the pain and destruction or….not.
Was I going to continue feeling as if He couldn’t be trusted? Was I going to keep on feeling as if He didn’t know what He as doing and certainly not keeping an eye on my family? He held out the medicine for my soul. Right there. Within my reach. Trust and Gratitude.
Gratitude makes my life a sanctuary.
Gratitude invites God into the pain and opens the door to beauty. Gratitude changes the lens of of our view. Thanksgiving lifts my head off of the present, shattered mess and on to the One who leads me forward. I can trust that He will lead me safely on and be right by my side. I could focus on my desperate thoughts of wishing this had never happened; or wondering where God was on the nights my child had no escape; or the fears of my child never being whole and happy. At that moment, the view was pretty tragic and desperate.
God knew my life was meant for more than that. There was nothing I could do to change the circumstances, but I could change my view. That was entirely up to me! Gratitude invites grace into the dark and transforms it into light. The light shines bright and life is breathed back into the dead.
It’s not easy or everyone would do it!
If it came naturally, this world would be transformed beyond recognition. I’m not saying we have to be grateful for the ugly destruction. I’m certainly not there yet or sure I ever will be.
But I’m choosing to not focus on it. It isn’t my daily diet and I am not going to let it eat me alive! BUT, I am trying daily to focus on the everyday miracles and answered prayers.
The hand of God moves and reveals Himself in the mundane and in the grand.
Beauty in the sunlight
Chai tea lattes in the morning
Little girls kisses
A Saturday with no commitments
God loves my children even more than I do
Friends who understand
Honest and open conversations
God speaking to my children
A day with lessened pain
Darkness is destroyed
Date night with my love
In my brokenness, I can still worship….a sacrifice to the One who is always there
Love expressed in simply kind ways
Candles on a cold day
Sweet sibling prayers
So, here I am….1,122 gratitudes strong….written down.
And it will keep going.
I’m just one woman working to live at peace on this journey I am on. Unfortunately, at times I’ve bogged down and some days have been very gratitude silent.
But, I don’t want to be that….for what has the Love of my Savior done to be ignored and unrecognized? He faced darkness head on so that I can have Light in my own darkness.
What gratitude do you need to start voicing? Where is the mundane or grand that needs acknowledgement in your life? A lack of gratitude will choke the very life out of your heart. But, thankfulness will keep your eyes off the dark and on the Light!