In Everything Give Thanks!

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

It’s that day. The day we are supposed to be thankful. Some of us will embrace it joyfully and wholeheartedly, thankful for food, relationships, health, … thankful for life.

Others of us will struggle. We find ourselves at a crossroads with unexpected things just ahead. We may be alone, wounded, hurt or rejected. We could be in a place we’d rather not be: a hospital, rehab, temporary accommodations. Instead of a feast of turkey, dressing, sides and desserts, we may be staring at meager fare, a microwaved plate, or an unappealing bed tray.

If you find yourself in a strange place, with strange people or hard circumstances and microscopic amounts of a thankful spirit, you are not alone. You are in the company of many other people, and you are under the watchful care of the Father.

We often equate thankfulness with good things and abundance only, but scripture instructs us to give thanks in everything. In every situation.

In sickness… I may not be thankful hugging a toilet bowl throwing up with a stomach bug, but I can be thankful that I have a home in which to be sick and to rest.

When family and friends aren’t around… I can be thankful I’m alive and have opportunity to make friends or to be with family another time.

If money is tight… I can be thankful for the clothes I’m wearing and a place to stay.

As I grieve the loss of a loved one… I can be thankful for having had them in my life and that God made us to have memories, where I can always recall our good times together.

In joblessness… facing court… being alone in a foreign country (as many of our military and others are)… sitting at an empty table… in the darkness of depression… staring a cancer diagnosis in the face… brokenhearted over a family member trapped in addiction… grieving a loss… or whatever difficult thing you are facing, here are some things you can be thankful for.

Life. Breath. Emotions. Love. Jesus. God’s world. Quiet or Joyful noise. Shelter. Warmth. Compassionate People. Your fellow church members. The Present – This Moment. Pets. Colors. Music. Yummy things – Taste. Sight or Hearing or Mobility. Kindness. The Lessons your trial is teaching your heart. God’s Word. Prayer. Salvation. That God will be your refuge and will come through for you and will work all things for good.

Find things to be thankful for today – large or small. Write them down and look at them. Gratefulness encourages our heart. Be grateful.

Hope the following songs encourage you! Happy Thanksgiving!

“He Will” by Ellie Holcombe Red Sea Road by Ellie Holcombe You are Loved by Ellie Holcombe

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Priceless and the GFBC Women’s Ministry!

Hidden Brokenness

She was about 13 or 14 I think. My kids were outside playing a game of basketball when the ball bounced up on the porch. My daughter jumped up the steps to get the ball but as she made her way down she missed a step and rolled her ankle. I knew it hurt and I knew it was going to be painful but I didn’t think much of it. I iced it, gave her some Ibuprofen and called it a day. The next morning it didn’t seem swollen and wasn’t even bruising so I sent her to school. She complained of how painful it was, but I insisted she was being dramatic and forced her to go. By the end of the day her ankle was twice if not three sizes what it should have been and bruised doesn’t even begin to cover it. We went straight to the doctor for an X-ray and found out her ankle was broken. I won Mom of the Year for that one!

I missed the bottom step of our basement stairs a few weeks back and rolled my own ankle. Oh, it’s nothing major and the carpet burn on my foot hurt worse than my ankle but it took me right back to the day my daughter was hurt. As that memory has been fresh on my mind and my own ankle has been healing I’ve thought a lot about brokenness that we can’t always see.

For whatever reason my daughter’s broken ankle wasn’t evident until she spent an entire school day walking on it. But, yet, the brokenness was still there. A lot of times I’ve walked around with a broken heart or spirit but no one had a clue. It took time for the brokenness to boil its way to the top and become visible.

I think as women we tend to believe the lie that we can’t show our brokenness to the world. We hold it all in and keep it to ourselves and honestly, we don’t even share it with God. Or, maybe that’s just me. There’s a part of me that thinks I have to always be strong and be numb to how I’m truly feeling. I’ve bought into the lie that I don’t deserve to be hurt or that I’m weak if I show my cracks.

But, ya know what I’m learning? The light can only show through when there’s cracks! Friend, when we hold onto our hurts and brokenness for dear life we’re never allowing God to heal any part of it. It’s as if we think the cracks will ruin us when in reality it’s the cracks that make us beautiful!

So, today, take your brokenness and share it with God. And, when the time is right, share it with someone else. You never know who needs to hear your story. Our stories are meant to be told. Their meant to be entrusted to our Father. Their meant to mold and shape us and if we keep them hidden all they’ll ever do is swell and bruise and cause us pain. Let it go, sister. Free yourself from the brokenness and trust the ONE who heals it all! ❤️

Harvest

“Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”  John 4:35 (NIV)

I wrote the following paragraphs at least a year ago:

“This morning I decided to pull up the tomato plants that I eagerly planted months ago.  I was tired of tending them now. I took a bowl and harvested the last of the ripe and semi-ripe fruit on the vine.  I looked at each tomato, was it ripe or close enough, did it have any flaws, any bug bites, was it damaged by the wind or not enough or too much water, was it worth picking?  I looked at the ones that fell on the ground; were they hurt, or could I add them to the bowl.  As the bowl got fuller, I got pickier, discarding some that I might have added earlier.

How thankful I am that Jesus is not like me harvesting the tomatoes.  He doesn’t tire of tending to me or you. He doesn’t discard those of us that have been bitten, bruised and damaged by life.  He carefully cradles me and you in his arms, heals the bumps and bruises and loves each of us regardless of our state.  There isn’t a ‘no vacancy’ sign in Jesus’ bowl, it’s big enough for all who believe. 

My prayer today is that if you are bruised or broken by life, hurting, or discouraged, you will turn to the One who can heal and love you as God intended. Know that Jesus will embrace you and love you just as you are. “

As I reread those words, I recalled how I felt that morning; I just didn’t have it in me to keep tending those tomato plants.  Sometimes today I look around at all that is going on and I feel tired of trying to keep going amid all that I see.  But I remember that Jesus called on us to continue just as he continued all the way to the cross, to the grave, to the resurrection.  To continue isn’t to just exist; for me it is to be a worker in whatever way I can. 

“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  Matthew 9:37-38 (NIV)

Continue. Finish Strong.

Ailments

“Mame what’s-a-ailen’ you youngin’?”

The interrogative would be posed to me often. My Mam-maw could’ve said, “What is wrong with you?” Or “Is something bothering you?” But her mountain raising and simple cut to the chase methodology led to her all encompassing question. 

“What’s a-ailin’ you youngin?”

She knew me well enough to know when something wasn’t quite right. She would know even if I didn’t quite know what it was myself. I don’t rightly know how she always knew, but she did. 

Maybe I was as a child as I am now as an adult, somewhat melancholic. But I reckon it had to have been her God-given intuition. 

She’d ask me what was a-ailing me even as I grew older and her mind began to give way more often than not to the thief of Alzheimer’s. 

She would ask the question as to the source of my ailment, my pain, be it physical, emotional or spiritual. 

In all fairness I didn’t always know and couldn’t always say what the source of my ailment was but I was always mystified how she knew there was a source to be found. So many times she’d just snuggle in close or hug me and I immediately felt better.

Mam-maw went to heaven a long while ago and nobody has asked me that exact question in quite some time but in the wee hours of the morning over a rerun episode of Andy Griffith, it came rushing back to me and so did some tears. I was caught completely off guard. Barney was silently, sulking around the courthouse when Andy asked Barney what was a-ailing him. 

In the days of late my heart has been aching. Try as I may, I can’t quite shake the sadness. 

Like my Mam-maw my little pup seems to know my heart is achy and she’s been extra close and hot on my heels. The evening I had a bad headache, she wouldn’t find herself too far from me. I found myself wondering just how she knew. I’d not said anything out loud, hadn’t telepathically communicated it that I knew of, she just knew I needed some extra snuggles and firmly planted her wiener dog body at my side. 

She was still there about 4 in the morning when Andy was on the TV and  had posed the obvious question to Barney. I realized in that moment how much I missed Mam-maw and her ways. 

Sometimes grief is like that, just hits you out of nowhere and is compounded by other loneliness, losses and sadness. Then as Barney droned in about his issue, and my wiener snuggled in closer, I came to a realization. 

In our sadness and brokenness, the King is near, He snuggles in close like that wiener and we don’t even have to tell Him something is wrong, like my Mam-maw and my pup, He already knows. 

He already knows how bad it hurts and sad we are. He already knows and He promises to stick close and to intercede for us in the places we need it most even if we don’t even know how to say what those are. 

Forgive the Unforgiveable

About a year ago I did a thing! We only had one vehicle at the time and it was a truck that my husband loved. Me? I hated it. I work downtown so I park in a parking deck and I ran over everything and bumped into everything and I found myself anxious every time I drove it. It was nice and comfy when he drove it, but it was big and bulky when I did. I sort of sprung this random idea on him about trading it in on a car. He didn’t technically say no so I went to the local dealer and traded it in.

A few weeks past and the reality of what I had done settled in for both of us. While I was happy with the car and the fact that I was no longer a threat to society in the truck I felt guilty for the way I had handled it. I brought up the subject and he was honest and shared how he would have rather kept the truck and bought me a car and I was honest about my reasons (aka threat to pedestrians near and far). We both apologized and moved on.

Then one random weekend the subject of vehicles made its way into our conversation and the truck incident came up again. I felt this need to apologize and he stopped me and said, “You didn’t really do anything wrong, you’ve already apologized, I’ve just got to deal with the outcome of it all.”

His statement caused me to ponder which led me to a podcast where this same thing was mentioned again. The podcast was about forgiveness and how we not only have to forgive the person but we have to forgive the ripple effect of their actions. Not gonna lie…this one stung a little bit. Okay, okay…it stung A LOT. I struggle with forgiveness. I’ve been hurt…deeply hurt and I’ve got a lot of baggage because of it, and in that moment when I was listening to that podcast I realized that while I have forgiven the person, I haven’t forgiven the consequences of their actions and the deep wounds it has left on my heart. Deep inside I’m still holding on to my anger which, truthfully, is now shreds of bitterness.

So, here I am being as raw and real and exposed as I’ve ever been. Trying to process what God has shown me and looking for the courage to forgive what I would consider unforgivable. But, you know what….out there in this big ole world there’s someone who is struggling with forgiving me and the consequences of my actions on their life. Grace goes both ways. I’ve been wronged but I’ve also handed out some wrong of my own. So, it’s a new day and a new chance to do the unthinkable… to forgive the unforgivable 💛