This week we celebrate Thanksgiving.
As I was working in my shop today I thought about all that I am thankful and grateful for. There are so many things I am thankful for and some are common to all of us – family, spouse, children, friends, daily provisions.
Grateful for the difficult times
I certainly don’t mean to trivialize those precious people and things in our lives, but as I painted the farm table I was working on today, I thought about how thankful I am for some of the hard times and trials that I have been through. Please know, that if your own heart is hurting through a difficult time in your life, that I do not mean to minimize your pain. It hurts, I know.
I realize that might seem crazy to be grateful for the difficult things in life, but I truly believe without them, we would become ungrateful. Think about it, if our lives rolled along smoothly every single day of our lives, wouldn’t we take it for granted that it always would be perfect? Or maybe we would even expect more of the perfect world we lived in? You know, the idea that what we have today is never enough.
Would we truly be able to become the people we want to become if not for the hard times in our lives? We say things like “I want to be a kind, compassionate and caring person” but do we count the cost of becoming that person? I, of all people, know that we are not just born with these qualities, we have to live and experience life’s hardships to become that kind of person. It doesn’t just happen, we have to labor towards it. It is hard work becoming better versions of ourselves, isn’t it?
- How could we show empathy to someone who has lost a loved one if we have not experienced loss ourselves?
- Could I comfort someone who is experiencing financial hardship if I had never experienced it myself?
- If someone in my life was going through a challenging time in their faith, could I come along side them in encouragement if I had not gone through a rough spot in my own faith?
Season of growth
The last couple of years I have been experiencing difficult circumstances that have brought about a change of direction in my life. It has been hard at times to realize that the path I thought I was on, took an unsuspecting turn in the road. Through this time, I have learned many lessons that I trust will be used in someone else’s life someday. It hasn’t been an easy time of growth – no season of growth is easy especially when we are talking about the kind of heart and spiritual growth I am talking about. It has been hard, really hard.
And yet, I am grateful.
Over the last couple of years, I have had to dig deep to see what kind of person I really am. How do I exercise my faith when things are tough? Do I really believe what I say I believe? Who do I truly have faith in, me and my ability to hold everything together or my God?
Becoming a woman of faith
I want to be a woman of faith a woman who even though and especially when times are difficult and seemingly impossible, trusts in a plan created by the Divine for my good. I want to be a woman of faith that no matter what, I will believe and trust Him above all else in my life. I want to be a woman who keeps the faith even when she battles with her own inner voice that tells her to quit.
Testing the waters of faith
Honestly, these waters would not have been tested to the point they were if not for the past couple of years of difficulty. I would have continued to bury and push down some of the broken places in my own life that needed healing. My own walk of faith would have stayed in the stagnant place it was. It is through the hard times in this journey that we are healed if we allow that healing to happen.
The wounds that are deep usually need a deep cleaning in order to heal. I would rather be healed than living and coping with infection.
For that I am grateful.
This is my continuing journey of learning gratitude for all things.
James 1:2-4 MSG
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.