Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Being Thankful for the Pain

With Thanksgiving being a little later than normal, I've been a little more aware of the holiday than it seems like I normally am.  Of course, food and family are at the forefront and cooking and traveling are what we usually focus on.  Our thankful thoughts hover around freedom, safety and abundance, which is right according to the custom.  This year though, I'm reminded of a few of my weaknesses surrounding this topic of thankfulness.

I'm thankful when I get what I want.

Being thankful for what I have is easy as long as it is what I want.  But, all the submission, obedience and grace goes out the window for me when things don't go my way.  It's kind of like the passage in the Bible where we're told its nothing to love those who love you back.  Of course, you should do that.  It's, generally, automatic.  To really love is when you love those who hate you, who can do nothing for you, who can and will hurt you back.  I think gratitude, real gratitude, might imitate love in this way.

Some friends of ours were expecting a baby and have begun a blessed journey with all of the events surrounding this child's life.  I would like to encourage you to read from the beginning the father's blog about the coming and arrival of their child.  I'm not joking when I say starting from the beginning is sooo worth it - talk about a plot twist!  Shaun does an awesome job at writing and encouraging others through the words and videos.  I'd also appreciate it if you would pray for this family.  God has been doing so much in a short time for them and it's exciting to see what will continue with God's help.  The reason I bring this family up now is because of the gratitude Shaun expresses in everything.  Take a read and you'll see what I mean.

Over and over in my life, my loved ones lives and even through out the Bible, God knows what He's doing.  Things we think we want and don't get are usually for our own good.  For learning, for better things to come, for protection, etc.  And that almost always involves pain at some point.  I hate that part.  You can do so many things 'right' and if you're always avoiding pain, you miss so much.  My labor with Jude was like that.  I did a lot of things well to prepare - we were both very healthy - but when the pain hit, I shut down and wanted out.  In childbirth and life too, pain means something is happening - usually an opportunity for growth and something better and until you embrace it somehow, you'll just be stuck.

So, thanksgiving.  I have much to be thankful for and many to pray for.  There's a lot of pain, loss, and struggles.  Pray for the evil who are hurting so much - in need of mercy and grace.  Pray for the hurting - loss of family, old and young.  Pray for the misguided - those with zeal but without truth and understanding.  But mostly, be thankful for all of these people and circumstances.  I'm trying to see the pain and discomfort, wherever it grows, as blessings this year - gifts to be fully appreciated farther along.  I hope our gratitude can be just a touch more true when including pain in the category of thankfulness.

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