give thanks with a grateful heart.
Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks unto the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son
And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”
This is a very special hymn to me. When I was a little girl, it was an easy song to sing because it was simple. And because I’m such a visual person, when I would sing, “let the weak say I am strong, let the poor say I am rich,” it really impacted me. My Jesus can do that, I would think, He is so strong and powerful and kind. And His Father was so generous, giving his Son to the world, to be crucified. I distinctly remember thinking these things. Obviously the song really impacted me, because today when I started singing it, I started to cry. I found it in my iTunes library and started playing it, since I was a blubbery mess, and picked up Florence from her chair, held her tight to me, and I let the banked tears flow. Yes, let the weak say I am strong. I had to stand outside on the patio, and let the gold autumn sun dry my face. The tears flowed hard for a moment, and passed. They were tears of thanksgiving mingled with a tiny bit of sorrow.
It’s in these moments that I’m truly thankful for being tenderized, for having my eyes opened to the fragility of this life, and to receiving the unfailing joy that comes from knowing Christ. Sometimes I think it’s a secret. Unless you have gone through deep pain or trauma, you don’t quite understand this level of grace. I often wonder, are you truly joyful? Do you even understand how beautiful this life is? Do you GET IT? Sometimes I want actually want to yell from the rooftops, scream.
I am thankful for this journey. It has stripped away all the gunk in me, it has taken away everything I thought I had. And God has replaced the empty shell of me, with another person.
When I look at my life as it is right now, I can scarcely believe it:
I have a beautiful daughter, with a tender, sweet and joyful personality. She has precious tiny hands and feet, she smells of honey and roses, when she smiles, her whole face crinkles into a ball of joy. I don’t measure her by what she can and cannot do, and I am so thankful I am freed from that, especially as a first time mother.
I don’t compare her. I love her for who she is.
My husband crowns me with love and respect. His heart is so good. He is silly and fun, handsome and strong. I never thought I could love him more than the day I fell in love with him. But my love for him has multiplied.
I have joy within my heart these days. In the first days of the nightmare, I would see Florence smiling and I would lose control. I would rage and scream and wail. Her smiles terrorized my heart, and fear twisted my moments of joy.
I am beyond thankful for the Lord’s restoration in my heart. I am thankful that Jay and I aren’t standing over her crib while she sleeps, holding each other while our bodies are wracked with sobs. I’m thankful I don’t go into feed her a night, and sit motionless in the chair while she nurses, while numb, silent tears fall down my cheeks. This used to be my reality. It is a blur now.
Is there still pain? Yes. But I can allow Jesus to overcome it.
As Paul, the apostle of Jesus (who was in prison when he wrote this) says in Philippians 4:4-14:
4-5 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!
6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
10-14 I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.”
-The Message Translation.
This is another version, a song, actually, that I adore from the Verses Project.
Have a lovely Thanksgiving weekend, Canadian readers. It is good to give thanks in all things.