I may have bitten off more than I can chew and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. While I believe the abundance of my favorite season’s harvest means more than picking apples in North Carolina, baking pumpkin pies, or roasting a huge turkey, the thought of doing those things makes me smile. Autumn represents a time of harvest for summer’s bounty.
We reap what we have sown. We gather the abundance or lack thereof. Family, friends, and neighbors share their hearts, hope, and their stories. We share … the good, the bad, and the ugly.
~Photo by Joann Claypoole ~
Can four words carry hope to a hopeless world?
Thankful in all things
The weight of those words I’ve said and written have come back to bite me many times since. I’ve stared at the ceiling pondering the thought for more sleepless nights than I did years ago, at nine months pregnant, when I suffered from indigestion. We all know life can be an amazing adventure one day and a gray cloudy mess on another. What if we look at each day, even the loneliest, saddest, or dreariest ones as priceless gifts? Thankfulness, like faith, is not an accomplishment or destination. It’s a deliberate choice to live abundantly and believe in the unseen—even when we can’t see what lies ahead.
~ Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Could the difference between saying we’re thankful and living thankfully be that much more of an excruciating aspiration than we originally thought? The phrase has a complex definition, especially for anyone over the age of forty-something who must wave goodbye to yesterday’s joys and sorrows and face today’s fears head-on.
Tears and goodbyes
Tears blurred my vision. I selected heart emoji’s, kissy faces, and praying hands in the book-length text to my twenty-year-old son, Noah, two days ago. My youngest of four sons flight to Paris was on the runway, set for takeoff—Ready to soar with my baby boy for the beginning of a six-week world wind journey to several faraway countries. I won’t be there to tell him to keep his phone charged, wallet in an inside zipped pocket, which castle to visit or where to eat or where he shouldn’t go. No suggesting what I’d like him to do, or see, or how I’d prefer him to do everything my way. He’s an educated adult. And he’s a free-spirited adventurer, like his momma. So I should be thankful he wants to see the world and photograph God’s awesome wonders, right?
How do I not worry about him while he makes his way in this gigantic world?
Ugh. See? I have to eat my words. Swallow hard. Trust. Pray. And believe.
But, my heart hurts.
I already miss him, so I pray some more.
~ Photo by Noah Emerson Claypoole & Rachelle Bland ~
Sincere gratitude and worship
If my gratitude is sincere, it is an act of Worship. Songs and prayers of thanks and praise resonate within my soul and rise toward heaven. I’m reminded of how I’ve witnessed God’s mercy, grace, and strength in various trials and tribulations throughout my life, and more abundantly in my recent battle with Stage 4 Malignant Melanoma. What have I to fear? My God is the one who moves mountains and makes a way when there is no way. This miracle maker and mercy giver is my Adonai. There is none above Him—none more powerful. He heals us, sees us, and is for us. He’s so much more than I, or we can comprehend. My prayer when I can’t control life or let go is to always be thankful.
Fear and letting go
At times I’ve doubted God’s unconditional and unfailing love for me—It’s difficult to admit this, but I’ve grieved The Almighty and His Holy Spirit many times—even after He healed me and used my illness to raise awareness regarding various cancers, and especially the rare and elusive melanoma beast. I choose to let go of yesterday’s nightmares and push aside today’s fears. Our Father uses suffering and tears for His glory, and sometimes in mightier ways then He uses our triumphs. For the good of others, and for the good of Your kingdom, God. I’m thankful to be used. Forgive me for ever doubting Your way.
God communicates His love for us through circumstances, people, and different seasons in our lives. Whether or not we choose to see and believe is up to us.
He touched my life with miracles and glimpses of supernatural occurrences that should make me never question His awesome power or love for me. How about you? I’m a pile of worthless dirty rags and yet . . .
The Holy Of Holies calls us His own
He calls us beloved and beautiful. I want to believe it and be thankful, in all things. I hope you do too.
~ Scripture from the ESV (English Standard Version). Photos courtesy of Noah Emerson Claypoole, Rachelle Bland, Joann Claypoole ~