Please forgive any typos – no time to edit today!
Even though I have a million other things to do (actually a million.. I counted), I thought I would take some time this morning to think about some things I am thankful for. You know, just to see what happens..
First of all, I am thankful for a holiday that celebrates being thankful. We have lived out of the States for 2.5 years, and still, every time I return I feel the materialism sucking me back in with greater force than the time before. Because things are CHEAP and AWESOME and TARGET FOR PETE’S SAKE!! (Why the UK has not embraced Target, I do not know) I think it is hard in our society to realize how much we have and how little we need.. To keep in perspective that your bathroom will still function with out that cute candle or extra bottle of lotion.. and whoa.. your bathroom functions.. that is something to be thankful for!
I am thankful that every day is not a rainy, grey day. Most of them are this time of year, but the sun still finds its way through the clouds every now and then.
I am beyond thankful for my husband. He knows me better than I do, he is so patient, he works hard for us, and every once in a while, he does the dishes :)
I am thankful for a good marriage to my actual best friend. We have intimately seen each other through more pre- and post-marriage joys and struggles than anyone else.
I am so thankful for our little boy, for his health and his cheery nature. I still look at him and cannot believe he’s real. I am thankful that the Lord has allowed us to endeavor into parenthood together and is willing to risk letting us screw up a few people in this world. They may be screwed up, but they will be loved more than they can know. (‘They’ being Aed + future children :)
For this next part, you can stick with me or you can leave now and forever hold your peace. I find myself wavering more than I am comfortable with in my faith these days. Not really whether I believe or not, but just battling a complacent, bored, or scared spirit on any given day. I suddenly remembered yesterday that during my senior year at Taylor I took a pilates class. Interesting, no? Probably not.. well the interesting thing is not the class, it is what we had to do for one of our assignments. I had this professor during my freshman year and my senior year, and she does it with all of her classes. Our assignment was to take a full hour and sit down and write all the things we could think of that the Lord has given us. Then, the last few minutes we were to write a response to the question, “So what?”
I brought this with me to Scotland because the Spirit really moved in me while I was writing it that day in March 2007. I pulled it out and thought I would share it with you on this day of Thanksgiving in hopes that it will encourage you, as it does me, to give thanks for the things we have been given that are not necessarily visible in this world.
The Lord has given me…
First and foremost, life. He brought me into being by His creative hand and knew that He would do so before the world began. He breathed into me a life, a soul, that is uniquely ours as humans. He knit together every fiber of my being. Not only this, but laid forth His plan, upon my creation, that would guide my every step and every heartbeat.
He bore me into a family of believers, who He used to provide for every need I had until He allowed me to see Him. At first it was very muddy and dim, but slowly He is cleaning my soul, heart, and eyes.
He gave me Himself. He knew that I would fail no matter how hard I tried. He knew I wouldn’t just fail once, but that I’d fail daily, continuously. He knew I’d let Him down. But, He gave me Himself. He took everything I deserved and instead gave me everything I don’t deserve.
He gave me the ability to breathe deeply in contentment and assurance. He lifted my burdens and loosed my chains. He gave me a reason to live, a reason to surrender, a reason to hope, a reason to love. He took what I could not be, and was that Himself, then He gave that to me.
And this is what He sees when casting His gaze on my heart. He sees purity, He sees a cleansed soul, He sees a righteousness that is not mine. He sees my Salvation. He has put Heaven in my hands. He has set aside a place for me.
He has given me every reason to love and has taken any reason not to. He has given me great desire to understand Him deeply. He has given me encouragement after I realize how distracted I’ve become.
He has given me a strong hand when mine quivers in fatigue. He has given me His legs to stand firm when mine are tempted to buckle. He has given me a heart soft, malleable, tender, and steadfast when mine begins to harden. He has given me His own beloved words that hurl the soul into intense awe and gratitude when mine are brittle and cold. He has given me joy when my mouth wants to sing disharmonious woes. He has given me calm and peace when my heart and mind cannot understand. He has given me trust and assurance when it hurts beyond belief. He has filled my heart with courage when I want to run and hide. He has given me gladness in walking with Him through the darkness. He has carried me all the way.
I have tried to run, I’ve tried to hide, I’ve tried to escape. I’ve wriggled as hard as I can to avoid His Truth and His gaze, but He has given me patience and compassion. He does not condemn. He does not seek my life as the enemy does. He restores my soul. He holds fast.
He has given me a Father pouring forth with love beyond measure. He has poured it into my heart and made it welling over for the people in my path. When I think I cannot love anymore, He reminds me of His raging waterfall. If I ignore it, He prods me. If I turn, He catches me with His staff.
He gives me the gift of anguish. We know that I did it wrong. We know that it hurts. He gives me healing water to refresh, cool water to wash me clean. Sometimes it hurts more than anything to have my eyes cleansed and see the gash I have put in His heart.
“But Lord, I was so blind! Forgive me!”
Before I have even asked He has cleansed. He takes my breath away. He has given me such a desire to behold His face, to fall to His feet, to feel His arms, to see His eyes. I want so much to feel Him. To feel His True touch.
He has give me anticipation of His return. He has given me His promise that He will come back. When this causes me to fear, He reminds me of His goodness. When my heart is lost in confusion, He promises that He knows the way. He gives me His hand and asks me to follow. When I’m too afraid, He lets me close my eyes and be carried. When I then cannot see, He opens my eyes to His face. He calms my spirit.
He has given me His presence. He has given me His Comforter. He has given me companionship when I am alone. Sometimes I tell Him it doesn’t seem like enough, my heart tells me I’m still alone. He rocks me to sleep.
He shines His sun down on my face and reminds me He doesn’t change. Even though I shift like the sands, He remains steady. Even though I perceive Him changing, He reminds me it is I who am changing. He gives me hope that maybe tomorrow I will be better, stronger, faithful. Somehow this hope doesn’t leave me even though I’m always failing.
He gives me the knowledge that all things good that live in me and emerge from me are Him. I know that I am not capable. He has given me true life. He has given me growth. He has given me change.
He is refreshing me until I am as pure, precious gold. He has given me that promise. He has planted my feet, covered over my doubts, been gentle when I am broken, been firm when I resist.
He has washed me of my filth and drawn me to Himself. He has changed me from within and without. He has opened my heart to receive His love and joy. He has opened my hands that I might also give it. He has opened my eyes to see Him all around me and throughout me. He has poured me out and filled me. And He has promised that He is not done.
I have been given much. I have been forgiven, cleansed and am being transformed. Because of this, I have no right to withhold from others. I am to give it all, because He will never stop replenishing me. I am to live set apart, wholly understanding what has been done for me. I am to see that this is real even when I want it to go away. I am to fall to my knees before a God who has saved and worship with all that I am.
I am changed. May I live differently.