As I was spending time with the Lord this morning I was so overwhelmed in the most beautiful way as I reflected on all that God is doing in this sweet, grace-filled season of my life and couldn’t help but sit there thanking Him for His great faithfulness. This is the scripture that began to come into my mind over and over again…
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I have to say it is so easy to give Him thanks today because my life is filled to overflowing with His goodness, grace and joy but today God reminded me that it’s been in the choosing to have a heart of gratitude in the most painful seasons that I have learned more about who my God is and that He has used that very thing to radically change my life and transform me into a woman that longs to be in His presence each and every day. Those seasons have taught me to never take one moment for granted and soak in all the beauty that my life holds. So today I want to share something that came up on my timeline that I wrote to a team at church that I was leading at the time, in hopes that if you are walking through a time in your life that makes it seem impossible to raise your hands in praise and thank Him today, it may encourage you to do it any way. Sweet friend, you can trust that He is good even when life doesn’t feel good. He is worthy of all praise even when you feel there is nothing in your life that is praise worthy- because HE IS. He is faithful. He is a keeper of His promises. He is our comforter and lifter of our head. It’s when I chose a heart of thankfulness that my eyes were shifted from my circumstances to my Savior and I am believing for that very same thing for you today as you choose thanksgiving…
Lately I have been reflecting over the many different seasons we may experience over our lifetime. Of course we all have gone through our childhood & adolescent season with so many memories that may bring a smile to your face or maybe tears in your eyes but still a snapshot of where we have been; who we once were. Some are in the young adult or newly married season of life…full of change, hope, love and dreams of what lies ahead. Some have entered into the season of parenthood for the first time. That season where sleep is rare but the very smell of that perfect bundle of joy wipes away the exhaustion and fills you with a love that inspires you to become the most amazing parent your sweet little one could ever need. Some are knee deep in that season of raising children that are quickly becoming and acting like teenagers. Days that are so busy you are not sure if you are coming or going. When they may say things to you in that tone of voice, you never thought YOUR child would ever use. But when life allows, you find yourself with your soul mate and beautiful kiddos cuddled up on the couch underneath the warmth of a cozy blanket, silly movie on the screen and more love than you dreamed possible and you have to just stop and soak into your soul that this is your life and in that moment life is good. That next season seems to arrive quicker than you had ever dreamed possible but then it happens…you are packing up his clothes sending him off to college and then you wake up and it’s his wedding day. So much emotion in every tear that flows down your cheeks. Tears that your baby is no longer a baby. Tears of pride, knowing that they are becoming the man or woman you have prayed for since they were in the womb. Tears of knowing nothing will ever be the same but yet so excited to see their future. There are those that may be in that season where the nest is now empty and a joy you never dreamed possible actually becomes your reality as you hold that new grand baby.
I say all of that to share with you what God has spoken to my heart in hopes, that even if it doesn’t speak to your heart, it may allow you to understand others that come into your life that are walking through a valley so deep they are not sure they will survive. The reality is that there are so many different seasons that we never asked to be written into our story. There are so many details within each season that are anything but what we had dreamed of as children. Some find themselves in a season that instead of living the dream of finding a prince or princess that “completes us”, they never show up. Your story may have taken a turn that instead of living “happily ever after” you were signing divorce papers. Or maybe you find yourself in the doctors office and the doctor gives that devastating diagnosis that you know will change everything. That did change everything. That moment that a new season ushered itself in before you gave it permission. A season that would rob you of growing old with the love of your life. This is the season I find myself in and it is why I am sitting here typing these words so very carefully and cautiously. What I have come to realize, is that even the most bitter parts of this season, God has used to make my life sweeter. He has taken moments that were filled with feeding tubes, meeting the basic daily needs of my frail, precious husband and replaced them with laughter when I go back and read his journal and see his words written in his, shaky yet priceless handwriting, that he loves me and that I am “one smokin’ hot fox”, I’m “his eye candy” or the entry that thanks God for healing him and in the next he writes “Bring On the Rain”. God has used this season to draw me closer to Him. He has used each and every hurt to transform me. To bring me into a place that I WOULD NOT TRADE FOR ANYTHING! He has brought me to a place of total surrender. A place where I trust Him no matter what. A place that I know, that I know, that I know He thought of me and you when He had Isaiah pen these very words…
Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
Today I am thankful for this place I find myself. The place where I can say from experience, He is enough, whether in drought or plenty. He is my Hope in the valley and on the mountain top. He is my source of joy during times of weeping or in times of dancing. I pray that no matter what season you find yourself in that we can see that He is Good no matter what circumstances surround us. He has already gone before me and knows every breath that I will take. I spoke these words to Grayson earlier this week and as the day went on, as they kept resounding in my thoughts over and over again, I knew that God placed them on my heart more for me than for Gray…”Daddy’s journey is complete here on this earth, just as God had planned before time began, but He is not finished with us yet, so let’s finish as beautifully and full of passion and grace as your daddy did. All for the glory of God”.
So it is my hope that you will be a part of this season of my life. A season where lives are changed for all of eternity because He used us to make a difference in His kingdom. A season that brings tears of joy as we are allowed to be witness to the broken souls that find healing. A season where serving others is far more rewarding than the riches of this world. A season where He makes us brave enough to bare our souls to those we love and trust that they can see our heart that desires to be a light in this dark and lonely world. So when you read these words from my heart, I pray you do not think I am painting a picture of our family that is marked by tragedy because we are not! We are a story of Triumph (and so are you). We’re a spectacle of love-against-the-odds and irrational hope and unlikely joy. My family – out in front where you can see them, and also behind the scenes where you can’t – lives a fairly never-ending dance of joy and sorrow. I will tell you honestly that holding onto happiness has been the most difficult thing we have ever done. Some days, it’s a fight to the finish and some days it’s as natural as breathing, but every day it’s worth the work. That is why you see this, as-real-as-they-come chick, flitting around most Sunday’s hoping to make a difference in EVERY life that passes my way…because I can. And as long as this body will move I will not stop! All for the glory of our God because He is enough, even if…