Six months ago today, I spent the day dreadfully awaiting the worst news of my life. I kept wondering how I could possibly prepare myself for the news there was no way of avoiding. Shortly after Leanne entered her Savior’s arms in heaven at 4:45pm, I received a simple message that read, “She’s gone.”
Those words are forever etched in my brain. I often have to repeat them to myself as I pick up the phone to call or text her. I say them when I picture celebrating future holidays, thinking of my daughter’s weddings, the births of any future nieces or nephews, and any family get together that will be planned. She wont be there. Gone.
As we approach Thanksgiving, our culture reminds us at every turn to be thankful for all we have and for the fullness of our lives.
Thankful for shelter.
Thankful for food.
Thankful for provisions.
Thankful for relationships.
Thankful for health.
All of those things are wonderful, but what if we don’t really feel thankful. Instead we feel let down and discouraged. We feel lost and unsure. We feel empty. We look toward the future wondering will we ever feel full again?
But thankfully, God sovereignly designed a relationship in which “… you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19) That fullness comes only from Jesus. It is constant, unchanging, and lasting.
God didn’t intend for us to find fullness and satisfaction in the things we have or even in the people He has put in our lives. He intended it to be Him and only Him. He promised us that “You will have suffering in this world.” Boy do we know that! But, thankfully, Jesus also told us in the very next sentence, “Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33) The fact that Jesus has conquered the world is surely something to be thankful for!
In the past 6 months, I have challenged myself to live out the following verse:
“Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 5:18
I am going to challenge you to do the same this Thanksgiving season. It may be easy for you to look around and be thankful for the abundant food on your table, the family filling your home, the new relationship you are starting, the new life growing inside you, etc. But what if you gave thanks for the hard stuff? What if you thanked God for the cancer journey your family is walking because He is knitting your family closer together than you could have ever imagined? What if you thanked God for your infertility struggles because God is teaching you to trust Him with the way He wants to grow your family? What if you thanked God for the strained relationship with your spouse because He is teaching you how to love others even when you don't feel like it? What if you thanked God for your financial struggles because God is showing you how He can meet all your needs? And this is where it hits home, what if I thanked God for the death of Leanne because He is proving to me that He is close to the brokenhearted and understands my pain because He also watched a loved one die? Every thing in my flesh tells me I shouldn’t be thankful. But God tells me I should.
Whatever trial you are facing today, try choosing a thankful attitude towards it. It just might take your eyes off the problem long enough to help you see that God is teaching you something through it.
As we pray for all of you to choose thankfulness, no matter what the circumstance, we ask that you would continue to pray for us. Here are some specifics:
- Good, restful sleep for Leo
- Peace and comfort for our family as we face our first Thanksgiving and Christmas without Leanne
- Our faith to be strengthened
- God to continue to show us how Leanne's faith has touched others
- Strength and trust to choose a thankful attitude in the midst of Leanne's death