Wednesday, November 16, 2011


As we sail right into Thanksgiving -- and I feel like the days are moving at light speed -- every one I know is talking about being grateful.

And possibly -- OK, probably -- because I have been in a whiny, grumpy, I'm-not-getting-my-way mood, God has been bombarding me with friends willing to speak the truth to me. Friends -- some real-life, actual friends and some bloggy-friends -- who understand gratitude and are not afraid to educate, encourage, exhort those of us who need a swift knock on the head!

Yesterday, my virtual friend, Joni sent a devotion right to my inbox. Joni Eareckson Tada has been inspiring me for decades. I first heard her story -- she was paralyzed in an accident when she was 20ish -- when I was very young. I was moved by her love of the Lord and immediately read everything I could find about her and by her. Little did I know God was using her to prepare me for parenting my amazing crew at least a decade later.

So, when I read the devotion she sent yesterday, I knew God was speaking to my heart -- sometimes we do not get our way because His way is so much better. Oh, I needed to hear that.

Then last night, as I sat at my boys' theatrical dress rehearsal, a message popped up on my phone from a real-life friend. Robyn is reading a book by Donald Miller and wrote to share some wisdom she has gleaned. Oh, I love that she spoke truth right to my heart.

Her point was that often it is only those who have walked a challenging road that can effectively minister to others. But more pointedly, she quoted this book as saying that only when we are buttressed by a deep spiritual walk does this work.

Ah. My pain -- my challenges, struggles, weaknesses -- can help others IF and only IF I am allowing God to iron those struggles, mold them, stretch them in me so that others may see HIS glory. Then, and only then, can I be, to quote Robyn,  a "wounded healer".

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4: 6-7 (emphasis mine)

Did you catch that? With thanksgiving. Right after saying not to be anxious. Grateful for whatever is causing our anxiety? Oh, that is a tough one, right?

"...Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:19b-20 (again, emphasis mine)

Everything? Even when life isn't going the way we want? Even when times are tough and it hurts to say thank you? Even if...?

Yes, even then.

Because the bottom line is this: To live life fully -- we must be grateful. To live life filled with the peace that transcends understanding -- we must be grateful. To be used in a mighty way, we are going to have struggles so -- we must be grateful.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

We can trust Him, my friends. We can be grateful. For His plans will bless us beyond all measure.