Lately, we have been learning to say, “Thank You” to God for the most unlikely things. Yes, I jumped on the bandwagon a few months ago and read One Thousand Gifts. Yes, it was really good. But to tell you the truth, I just don’t see the world in the same way Ann does. Its like her kid pukes everywhere and she thanks God for the rainbow of colors in the puke (that didn’t really happen…I don’t think…but the lady is gifted in seeing the unseeable).
The journey to hard thank you’s in my life began the night we rushed to the ER because I was miscarrying. I’m sorry about some of the details but they happened so I will write about it. We knew that it was coming and we were just waiting for the physical side of miscarriage to start. Well, that came at 2 am one night when I woke up to a bloody horror scene. I tried showering to calm myself down but there was a TON of blood loss. The whole ordeal was fuzzy and I was panicked. Josh was asking if we needed to go to the ER and I said, “yes.” He told me to wait in the bathroom and he would go get my Dad who was sleeping downstairs. As he went downstairs, I passed out on our bedroom floor. I woke up to my Dad and Josh carrying me down the stairs to get to the hospital ASAP. I was out of it but I knew I wanted Jesus, so I asked them if they would please pray while they carried me to the car.
What happened next was so strange – the most peace-delivering words I could have heard came out. My Dad started telling Jesus, “Thank You.” “Thank You.” He repeated it over and over and acknowledged how grateful we were that Jesus was in control. At the time I thought two things at once. The first was, “What the H-E-C-K??? Why are you saying thanks you crazy man?” The second thought was louder still, “Yes. This is exactly what we needed to say, but I would have never formed the words.” I am so grateful. My Dad, who had absolutely no control over the circumstances was calling out to our Heavenly Father who never misses a beat. Sovereign: a person who has supreme power or authority. He wasn’t sending positive anything out to the universe. There is no hope for me in a universe spinning out of control, with mere humans trying to grope for power in some desperate thought. He was telling the Sovereign King of the world thank you for loving us and being in control. “Thank You for being good.” We needed reminded. Jesus used a simple prayer to overwhelm us with truth about who He was and what He was allowing to happen.
Over the weeks to follow, Josh and I processed together how significant those words were becoming to us. About 3 months later, our staff team had the privilege of having a short meeting with Steve Douglass, the president of Campus Crusade for Christ International, a man who has incredible scope and impact as he leads our entire company, one of the largest mission sending agencies in the world. He was kind and gentle as he spoke with us. He wanted to talk with us about trials and how the Lord uses those in his life. He said something simple yet profound as he shared, “The difficulties haven’t slowed in my life, but my willingness to say ‘Thank You Lord’ in the midst of them has quickened.” As our thank you’s come out more swiftly we open a space that wasn’t there for Jesus to remind us of his presence, sovereign power, and goodness that never leave us.
I am awestruck at the incredible reality that during the last supper, Jesus took some of the bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then He broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” (Luke 22:19) He was thanking His Father for all the pain ahead. He was thanking His Daddy that He would be pierced for our rebellion and crushed for our sins. He was thanking God for providing Himself to be beaten so we could be whole and whipped so we could be healed (Isaiah 53:4-5). Jesus taught us thanks. He taught me that thank you’s can come in the unbearable, unimaginable, and unthinkable moments.
Its funny, though. Or really maybe a little embarrassing, that the things that are the hardest to say thank you for right now are the inconveniences. Like, somehow I am deserving of God offering me a perfect, struggle-free life. I am praying that God would teach my heart quick thank you’s for rough nights with cranky little ones, traffic on the way to appointments, small grocery budgets, and every tiny thing in the middle of long days. But as I fight this fight for a grateful heart, last night I found myself thanking God for a quiet moment to peel potatoes and cook dinner. It was a holy moment. Looking back at it, all I did was make space for Jesus to sweep over me with His goodness. It was a moment that could’t have happened without a ‘Thank you, Jesus’ ushering it in.
I am just about the messiest person I know, not in the clean sense, but in the my whole life is a big fat mess most of the time. Yet, as a friend reminded me this morning, I do really love to invite Jesus into the mess. And saying ‘thank you’ more often than I have ever tried to say it before, is creating this open door in my life for Jesus to make my mess into sweet moments of thanksgiving. I don’t share this all to boast or to make a pretty moment out of something you might call mundane. I share because it is our messy, mundane, beautiful life, and I like the front door of our life to be open for anyone who might want to come in for a bit.
Here are some of the things I am thankful for today: My Dad, Josh, and Brock built the girls a swing set over Easter Weekend!