Thankfulness looks different this year.
In the past, I’ve looked forward to the first of November, maybe playing along with stating something I’m thankful for each day or writing posts about looking for ways to be grateful.
This year, the whole concept of thankfulness feels a little strange. How can I be thankful right now?
There’s a hole in my heart, a hole in my life, a hole in our family, a hole in our community.
My father isn’t here anymore and it hurts.
Maybe this year I don’t want to be thankful. But then, I have so much to be thankful for – family, friends, community. The sheer volume of love and support we’ve received.
It’s both harder and easier to be thankful this year.
It’s difficult because I’m still angry. I’m still angry that my daddy – the one who was on fire for Jesus, the one who left every person, every place, every thing better when he left it – suffered and then left this earth.
It’s difficult because it’s not fair that I don’t have a Dad to talk to about life and theology, Logan doesn’t have a Papa to mentor him, my husband barely got to know his father in law, my brother will never get to introduce his wife and kids to his dad, and my sweet mama has to rock on her porch alone.
It’s difficult because it still doesn’t feel real. I hurt constantly, yet life has gone on.
But it’s also easier to truly be grateful this year.
It’s easier because I’m seeing God’s hand in our brokenness – bridges being rebuilt, long time wounds being healed, families being reunited, hearts reaching out to the One who cries with us, souls being saved.
It’s easier because my perspective has been shaken. There are bad, bad things in this world. But there is a good, good Father who is in absolute control. The battle is already won, our God has already conquered sin and death and evil. The enemy has no hold on us, so we should all be joining arms – despite gender, race, ethnicity, denomination – and fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. When the the people of God shift their focus to Jesus rather than the brokenness of this life, the world will take notice. We can be thankful through it all – our personal pain, the pain of living in a broken world – because our God is good and He is good at being God.
It’s easier because I can clearly see God’s faithfulness at depths I never could have fathomed before. How can I not sing His praises through this hurt?
Maybe thankfulness looks different for you during this season as well. Perhaps loss, depression, fear, or injury threaten to take your eye off of the One who loves you so much that He sacrificed His only Son to save you. My encouragement to you is this: Lean in to Him. Don’t take your eyes off of Jesus, because He is writing and perfecting your faith story. And sing out His praises through your hurt.
I’d love to hear about your own journey. You can comment below or find me on social media.
In Grace & Freedom,
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