“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
As I reflect on the past year and look back over my life I am able to see periods that were albeit traumatic and difficult to endure, they all worked for my good. I can now see what was right in front of me the entire time. That God blessed the broken road that led me to right where I am today. There are still some parts that make no sense to me and my understanding may never come, but I trust my Father and believe that while I am ignorant to the purposes behind certain events, it is and was all part of his grand old plan.
So much am I thankful for on this frigid Thanksgiving 2015. New beginnings, the washing away of old hurts and enemies. The home we now have that we prayed for and yearned for. The warmth that’s found inside. The cup of dark roast coffee that signifies the start of my day, the pots and pans that help to create family meals which allow us to share and enjoy one another creating a stronger bond and reinforcing our family unit. The fluffy cotton bathrobe that holds the power to comfort me and catch all my tears when my heart erupts with sadness over the loved ones not at our table today. The sleeping children that have not a care in the world and trust that they are safe and secure in their beds. The peace and serenity that is found in the four walls that promise solitude when I am desperate to shut out the noise. I am thankful for the fresh aroma of fabric softener that hangs in the air of our home long after the laundry’s been put away silently penetrating our senses and evoking a sense of tranquility. Thankful for our recent experiences that have helped me to be much more diligent in planning our future and keeping my eyes fixed on God’s will. Thankful that I have an even deeper empathy for those that struggle and experience hardship. Thankful for the powerful desire to help others that are where I have been. So very thankful that I stood on God’s promises and believed even when there was no light ahead and only destruction behind. I am thankful that when all else failed and those we thought would never hurt us were the very ones that betrayed us, ripping the peace and joy from our lives, God did abundantly more than we could have imagined. He didn’t simply restore what we lost but he exceeded even our dreams and brought us home. He showered us with his unmerited favor and has remained steadfast in his assurance that we are loved. He loves us. If no one else does, he loves us and he will make a way. Darkness can only be snuffed out by light and even in the darkest days of our brokenness, He restored us. He is plenty and I am so very thankful for the gifts of grace and mercy that comes from faith and belief that he is the answer to our every need.
Looking ahead is still fragile ground for me so that is something I only approach with faith. I need not plan feverishly to prepare for the next crisis or drama, God already knows how that will turn out. I do look back quite often however, remembering the days and nights that brought such pain and uncertainty. He was there. He was always there. In fact at the times that I was least able to feel his presence, he was working. It has all been for a reason. Every bit of it has been part of his plan.
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us that there should never come a time that we are weary or uncertain of what’s to come, that instead we should present all our needs, in faith, to God and HIS peace will guard our thoughts and feelings from worry. The kind of peace that is irrational and illogical. The kind of peace that while my family was homeless, bankrupt and teetering on destruction, I was able to smile, laugh and even reflect hope and comfort. That peace was not manufactured by me or grown in me over time. It was placed in my spirit and it made no sense to anyone not in the word or a believer of Christ. The world tells us that when we are facing monumental adversity it is OK for us to worry and fret. We have a right to frantically search for resolution. It is unfathomable for us to wave off fire storms of worry and regret for a peaceful response and rest. That is the kind of peace that “transcends” our human understanding.
I am so very thankful for God’s peace. I never want to forget where we have been or how it felt to walk through the desert. I want to always keep a thread of that experience in my heart and mind to remind me that even while there was no way, God made a way. He led the way to a brighter day even when I didn’t see him ahead of me. Today is a day to reflect on all we are thankful for. All our blessings and all we are blessed to possess. Today, I am filled with gratitude. Much more than I could ever articulate or express. I still cannot believe we are here. That the storm has passed and we made it through. I am humbled at the idea that I am loved this much and there is nothing I could ever do to earn it or be deserving of it. That kind of love leaves me consumed with desire to do his will and sing praises of his everlasting and unfailing love. While I will never be able to repay all my Lord has shown me, I will spend my remaining days honoring him and exalting him, not for what he has done for me but for who he is. A father that loves so unconditionally, forgiving, giver of peace and rest, provider of every need. He is my guide and I will look to him, with eyes fixed and feet firmly planted. Thank you Father. Thank you for all that you are and all that you have created in me. Thank you.
I wish each and every one of you a peaceful and joy filled holiday and I ask you to join me in prayer for those that have hurt and betrayed us, that they may know God’s abundant love and one day experience what only HE can provide. Join me in petitioning God that every bit of darkness in their hearts be evaporated my HIS love and mercy. That they be showered with HIS grace and see blessings farther than their imagination can concoct. Father allow us to forgive them and let your love work through us in such a miraculous way that even they must acknowledge your presence and existence. Bless them father. Bring them comfort, joy and peace. In Jesus holy and precious name we pray. Amen.