Giving Thanks

It seems to happen around this time every year. I start to think on all of the things I’m thankful for. There are always the “basics”: a loving God, a great family, amazing friends, a job that is just right for me. But there is so much more.

The night of our Thanksgiving Eve service at church always helps me see the great ways God has been working in my life in the past year; tonight was no different. As people stood to give thanks to the Lord for His provisions, love, guidance, mercies, and blessings I was reminded of how this year started out for me. I was trying to put my thoughts together and wondering if I should say anything. Of course at that moment there was silence as everyone waited for the next person to stand. I suppose someone noticed me and the face I make when I have something to say but am unsure of saying it (yes, I’ve been told I have such a look), because I heard someone say, “C’mon, Kell.” It’s now or never, I suppose so I stood.

The box of tissues was placed next to me within the span of my first few words. A dear friend took my hand before I finished the first sentence. My smile was ear to ear as the tears fell; as I spoke of a God so good, great, marvelous, amazing, and how He got me through the rough patches in the beginning of the year and led me into the wondrous season of today.

Amazing things happen when your feelings are spoken out loud; especially when they are things you might not want to say out loud, for everyone to hear. Saying them out loud seems to make them more real, while, at the same time, gives them less power over you, for you are no longer the single bearer of these thoughts.

So I remembered and spoke of the fear that came with going into surgery with the outcome unknown. A surgery & recovery that God brought me through with my hope still in tact that I could, one day, have children. For He is so good. And as I spoke, the fear, though it was from something in the past, was finally freed, and the gratefulness enveloped my heart.

I went on to speak of the joy I found in that outcome, as there is now someone in my life who I could see spending my future with. And those words, spoken out loud, (not just to one person here or there, but to over 30 all at once) hit me with the amazing reality of it all.

I spoke of my gratitude for my security in Christ. Whether the future turns out how I imagine it, or not, His will will be done. I know His plan is the best. He’s got me covered, and at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters. A few years ago I would not have recognized the woman speaking these words. They were spoken with such conviction and confidence, as one who not only believes them, but knows them to be true.

1Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

3Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100

We all have much to be thankful for this year. I pray you’re able to take time to share your thankfulness with not only your family & friends, but also with the God to Whom all our thanks should be given.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Thanksgiving

I have thought a lot about what I am thankful for this month, as I’m sure a lot of us have. It wasn’t until right before our church service started tonight, though, that I fully realized what I am most thankful for in this time and place. Remembering that last year our pastor asked us all what we were thankful for on the “Thanksgiving Eve” service, I thought on what I might respond with. And that is when it hit me – the Holy Spirit revealed it to me and I knew I had to share, no matter how hard it would be.

Sure enough the time came when Pastor asked for testimonies of thanksgiving. My heart beat faster in anticipation, but I was thankful someone else went first. Before asking for another, he went through Psalm 136 in which every verse ends with “For His steadfast love endures forever.” It’s truly amazing to realize the fullness of what that means; God’s unchanging, always present, love for us withstands the test of time. As He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, so is His love for us, until His kingdom comes and then forevermore. Even now I cannot completely wrap my brain around it, but know that it is an amazing gift He has given to us.

Again Pastor asked for a testimony and I knew it was my turn, so my hand went up and I stood in front of the congregation to share with them (and now with you) that which I am thankful for this season. Over the course of the past few months I have come to really see how God is working in my life. I can honestly say that I am thankful for things not going the way I thought they would. It might sound silly to some of you, but had they worked out so simply it all would have been too easy, too good to be true, if you like. As things have not gone my way, but rather His way, I have learned much more about myself. You can think you are so ready for something (ok, I’ll put it all out there), say a relationship, marriage even, only to find out that your timing is way off from His. Only to find out that you’ve only just arrived at the place where God wants to really start showing you how you’re supposed to be serving Him, and what you might want (that relationship or marriage), is not in His plan for you yet. I’ve come to a place where I am just starting to realize how I should be serving Him. It’s exciting and frightening all at the same time, but this I know to be true: His steadfast love endures forever. I’ve come to a place where I can say with my mind and my heart (for previously it was just in my mind) that I am putting what I want aside. I have no doubt that God knows my desires, but right now, following Him and what He has for me is the most important thing. Honestly, it is always the most important thing. I know that what He has for me is the best and sooo much better than anything I can come up with for myself. For that reason I’m going with Him; following Him, truly, with my whole heart, for quite possibly the first time since I became a believer.

I cannot wait to see how this all is going to play out. I cannot wait to share with you what He has in store. He is good all the time; in our highest highs and lowest lows. I pray He reveals to you what you have to be most thankful for in this season of your life. Take some time to think on it, pray on it, and above all else, give Him the glory for it all.

Love & Blessings,

KJ