We are entering a season of thanksgiving. There are some who have very little to give thanks for…yet Scripture says to give thanks FOR everything. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Seriously? Yes, seriously–even when there are no feelings to match the words. We don’t have the perspective that God does, but as we ask to see from His point of view we will find our attitude changes. For those times we can see His fingerprints in the events our lives we can give thanks. That will sensitize our spirit to see even more evidence of God at work in our lives.
When MS took away my life as I knew it–career, voice, vision…you name it, it was lost to me. At first I was numb, then angry at God. He could have prevented it; so why didn’t He? I soon learned that anger used up what little strength I did have so I moved on to grieving over the losses. I can’t remember the exact track I took, but I moved through all the stages of grief–the bargaining, the attempts at acceptance, etc.
And then, after years of holding onto “God is good regardless of how it looks,” it happened. I saw not only the MS, but all the other hard places in life from His point of view and all I could say was “Thank you!” He knows the good stuff that He built into you. He also knows what it will take for you and me to dig deep enough to find those good things that will result in a sense of fulfillment.
So here are just a few of the things I am grateful for: (in no special order)
- That I am no longer in the classroom – I loved it when the “aha” happened and I saw understanding in the eyes of a student. I don’t see that very often these days. But…the blessing is that I don’t have to get up early or correct papers! Nor deal with difficult parents and their difficult children or speak English by 8:00 a.m. I do not have to cope with the indocrinazation of philosophies I do not agree with or teach concepts that I am opposed to. Nor deal with the politics that go on in educational circles.
- That I am housebound – We no longer need to have two cars! The blessing is that I have a husband who is happy to be with me regardless. With the internet and telephone I am able to keep in touch with friends all over the world! And my social needs are quite easily and simply met.
- I am grateful for MS – God showed me that what I thought was being sidelined was in actuality a promotion–my classroom has been greatly expanded. I have time to write the things that God shares with me. I love to receive emails from people who have read my books and found them life changing. The more I let go of the old “me,” the more I can embrace the new that the Lord keeps bringing. Hard things strip away all the stuff of life that we surround ourselves with that keep us from seeing that He still delights in you and me. that blew my mind. The stripping away creates space for us to feel the worth and belonging that He gives.
Give thanks, even for the hard things in life. It changes the focus away from the problem onto the solution. It calms the restless thoughts and raging emotions so that we can see the He has pulled us out of destruction and anointed (set us apart) for accomplishing good things–good for us personally and good for others. Author Sheldon Vanauken called such an event a “severe mercy!” I would have to agree.
What hard place has the Lord walked you through? What about that experience can you give thanks? For those of you still in the hard spot, I pray that He will clear away the barriers so that you can feel his comforting presence and see what it is that you are thankful for!
Blessings, Carol Brown