Instead of following the usual Thanksgiving routine for being thankful for the things that are easy to be thankful for, here's how I am learning to be thankful for the difficult things in my life this year.
- I am thankful that Bryan has a physical illness that comes and goes that we couldn't get diagnosed this year, because despite the stress of the unknown, it has taught me more about God's sovereignty. God is good, and He brings even illnesses into our lives for our good and His glory. If I can trust Him with my salvation, I can trust Him with my husband's life. Even knowing a diagnosis wouldn't make us more in control, it would just seem "comforting" to explain away a chronic illness.
-I am thankful that we serve at a small church where our finances are tighter at times than we would prefer. I could go on and on about this one. I have a love/hate relationship with this situation. It has taught me how much I lean towards making money my "god." I have had to learn that God is my Provider over and over again. I have learned how to live more simply than I ever have before. I have learned that much of what I "needed" before wasn't really a need at all. Because of our finances, we were prompted to turn a business idea into a reality, and I have had so much fun doing graphic design and building websites.
-I am thankful that I have lost friends this year. This one has been a tough one for me. I am more aware of my need of a Savior in a thousand different ways. I am thankful that Jesus can work out all things for good in the end. I am thankful that there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Jesus Christ. It's been my lifeline verse.
-I am thankful that I had a child born with allergies almost two years ago. I would have never realized how much food can be an idol in our culture had I not had to give up most "normal" foods for over a year. While Abby has finally outgrown most of her dietary issues, it was a real eye opener. I think I finally eat to live instead of living to eat (but I sure do enjoy food)!
-I am thankful that we miscarried again this year. Don't get me wrong- I hate that it happened- oh, how I hate it. It's in the moments that threaten to rip you apart that you learn how much Jesus loves you- really loves you. I have learned how precious and constant His peace is when we are spending that daily time with Him and how quickly it leaves when we try to live life our own way in our own strength. I am thankful that I have two children waiting for me in heaven when Jesus brings me to my final home. I can't wait to meet them. I like knowing that they will never know a life apart from Jesus- they get to start enjoying Him in His fullness now without any pain or sorrow.
-I am thankful that I am so imperfect that I can't pull it all together most days. I'm often late, sometimes disorganized, and too often opinionated. With such obvious pitfalls and shortcomings, two things are obvious from my life. Jesus really does love sinners, and Jesus doesn't give up on sinners. I am thankful that I am so greatly loved by my Jesus and that He sees something beautiful in the mess I am.
How about you?
What tough things can you be thankful for this week?
What painful confessions of thankfulness do you have?
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18