So a few weeks ago, I had encouraged you all to begin a 30 day thankfulness challenge, thanking God over 30 days for who He is. I didn’t realize the path that He would lead me on during those 30 days. A few days into my challenge I realized He was asking me again to be thankful in circumstances that I have wanted to avoid being thankful.
I want you to be thankful in the circumstances you don’t want to be thankful for.
One year ago today our world was flipped upside down. We lost a child we didn’t know I was carrying. Remembering back, it feels like I was a character in a tragic movie, but it was our reality. I remember lying in bed as Mike got Charlie ready for bed because I was about to pass out I was having such bad cramping, then feeling a bit like I was in labor, and eventually telling my friend that I feel like I had just given birth because my belly was so sore. And in fact I had, but I didn’t know for a few days. That was the beginning of a long journey of the saddest times mixed with beautiful times of knowing God’s love and faithfulness in the deepest way we have ever known.
As time went on I felt like God was asking me to thank Him in the circumstance. It was a hard concept to wrap my head around. I remember hearing someone speak once about how he felt that God had asked him to be thankful in the circumstance of his parent being killed as missionaries. That concept just seemed foreign to me. I know the Bible says to be thankful in all circumstances, but why? Because of the second part of the verse… that is His will for us.
Something happened in focusing over the 30 day challenge on who God is and my thankfulness I have because of who He is. Through the pain of loosing a child, I began to see more of how my perspective on who He is grew over the year, and I began to see the gifts that the death of Fin (the name we gave the child) had given us after the weeks that I carried the baby. I know that sounds really weird, but this is the journey I am on. It is my story. In Fin’s death, she gave us so much more than we could have ever expected. She gave us new friendships with neighbors and family. These friendships have grew and have been such a blessing. She grew our hearts in ways that we couldn’t imagine. But most importantly, we gained a new understanding of His love for us, and a new understanding of His strength in our weakness. This is His will, for Him to be known and for Him to be glorified, and for us to be thankful in all things.
The verse on thankfulness can be greatly misunderstood to say “be thankful for all things”. But that is not how the verse reads, not in any version of the Bible… I looked. It reads give thanks in all circumstances. Being thankful in all circumstances does not mean that we have to be thankful for the bad things that happen, but thankful that even though in this world we will have trouble, that even in that trouble He will overcome the world. So for that, I am thankful. I want to be thankful in anything that leads me to know Him, His love, and His faithfulness in deeper ways. I am thankful that in our darkest hours, He is still the same. He showed us His goodness in ways we had never experienced, and in times of trouble His love out shined the darkness. I don’t like that we won’t meet Fin this side of heaven. I will not like it everyday. But I am thankful for the beautiful gifts that she gave us, and am thankful that when Jesus comes back to take us home, we will be united with our child and we will dance in heaven together worshiping our good good Father forever.
If we are honest there is a lot in our lives that we wish and pray would go differently. Just like in the story of Abraham, He doesn’t provide Abraham with the ram that Abraham said would be provided, He provides the lamb. I don’t want to rest in what He doesn’t promise. I want to rest in Him, and what He does promise. That in the end, because of His blood shed, He overcomes. For that I am thankful.