Each year, as we have celebrated Thanksgiving, we have always implemented asking our kids to think of something that they are thankful for and share it before dinner. Our answers have always been the ones you would expect: First and foremost, we are thankful for Jesus, who laid down His life so that we could spend eternity with Him, Danny and I would next prioritize each other, then our children and our families.
We have endured unique challenges that have forced our attention toward our hope in those challenges as birthing a mission and purpose that we trust God to reveal. After each transitional period (or survival through them), we have attempted to exercise our faith as well as our hope that we have in Him. I don't question God's wisdom being greater than any I could understand, but I do fear at times His allowance of the burdens I am learning to let Him carry.
Each burden, while I can understand God giving me my personality and perspective that I seem to have; as well as trouble controlling this personality of mine oftentimes, I have allowed it to be an "excuse" for my reactions to things that rub me wrong, as well as the very blessing within me that allows me to embrace those challenges. Each burden or blessing (depending upon the day), I have shared with Him, carrying it within His plan, but I still felt the weight of it. There is a balance to be accepting of, but feeling the weight to the point that I justify my toil, which is NOT part of His plan. The bible says, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:29-30.)
It is only in weakness of doing it this way, His way, is possible. I recently realized that while each challenge gives direction for life, it also can bring a greater sense of self. My thoughts and actions have often gone spinning as I attempt another plan, another level of resourcefulness, another way of either escape or embrace...again, depending on the day or the ability to adapt.
Our recent challenge, having the stamp of the enemy all over it and counterintuitive to my fiber of being, has enabled me to see with a new lens. Where past challenges have enriched my perspective, this one left me speechless within my internal reconciliation of understanding. It was in that space that I learned more about Thanksgiving than I ever knew possible. I learned how to let go. I let go of my gifts for optimism, my determination for truth to be "heard", even my expectations of what I thought was a nearing of the end of our valley that we have been in for so long. I am more thankful now than ever for Who I serve, Who has called me to purpose and Who has perfectly orchestrated my weaknesses for His glory.
Because I have no where to go to create another plan, find another path, commit another day, I am surrendered. Surrendered to Him. The fears I have had in letting go are beginning to bring me peace. I am not the same wife, not the same mother and certainly not the same child of God. While I have let go of my natural perspective to remain determined to dig deep within, I now trust God for just enough grace for the day. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." 2Corinthians 12:9
He has allowed me to placed in a situation that I can only look at how my life can honor Him. I have begun wondering whose life I am meant to speak into as I walk out His road to mission and purpose. I can assure you, I do not relish the pain, but I am focused on the purpose. I hold onto the expectation alone that our Father wants great things for His children. Matthew 7:11 says, "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"
He knows my heart is bent toward Him. He has entrusted me with a God-fearing man with a tremendous anointing on his life and 5 incredible children who are all uniquely blessed and burdened as well. I have failed plenty, but I have not avoided the challenges in physical fear, although there have been times when the emotional scars of my youth have stood in the way of all I desired to be in those places of purpose.
I have also learned that the place of purpose is right where we are. It is not in the next chapter. It is in the one we find ourselves in today. Trust Him with your life. Trust Him with your marriage. Trust Him with your children. Trust me...you will NEVER understand His ways, but you will always rise above your circumstances if you surrender your heart to Him. "...hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." Romans 5:5 That is where my hope is. I cannot help my expectation, but it is no longer in MY plan, but in His. I walk each day out in His grace and expect one day He will show up and show off as any father would for a child determined to have her Daddy's best!
May we “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.” --Psalm 100:4-5