Thank You

thank-you

For the food you made while I was your guest, even though my dietary issues make me a pain.

For holding onto me during hard days.

For pushing me to seek out new opportunities, and for affirming that my goals are worth the effort.

For your prayers. Always for your prayers.

For the texts, phone calls, and Pinterest messages full of encouragement.

For the right word at the right time (that I probably spun into a blog post at some point).

For taking me away for a spell – just to recoup.

For every compliment. Seriously, each is a precious gift I always remember.

For talks that last till 2:00 in the morning. (Even though I’m a zombie the next day.)

For being patient with me when my introvert battery is drained, and I might behave like a grump.

For your listening ear, even if sometimes I revisit the same angst multiple times.

For making me family.

For BEING my family!

For flourless cake and new ways to enjoy tasty treats.

For little gestures of kindness right when I needed them.

For refuge.

For spontaneous movie nights!

For help in the large things I can’t handle on my own.

For accountability and challenge in my faith.

For introvert parties!

For hot springs trips.

For giving me so much, more than I deserve from so many wonderful people. I’m thankful for you all.

Thanks in All Circumstances

cornucopia

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

Have you ever practiced the advice to write 3 (or 5, or 10, or whatever) things you’re grateful for at the end of each day? It’s said to boost your attitude, change your thought patterns, and help you see the good in life instead of everything that might go wrong.

I’m no pessimist, but even so I’ve never really gotten into it. Oh, I’ve tried before, but after about a week I begin to think: “I could be writing something so much more interesting right now. Where’s that character sheet I was working on…?” So in a hodgepodge of journals I have these intermittent lists of thankfulness mingled with scraps of character development and fiction snippets. (I pity anyone who tries to make sense of my notebooks after I’m dead.)

I also believe that these lists, while helpful, never brought me to meditate on the goodness of God. They were two separate worlds to me: life’s pleasant surprises didn’t mean God was good. They just meant I’d had a nice day. I also tended to watch for the other shoe to drop – not necessarily in the vein of karmic balance, but more the belief that God was always ready to teach me a hard lesson through pain or grief. And that certainly never felt “good”.

I’ve since left that philosophy behind, but in its place I’ve needed to instill a new way of thinking. What does it mean to be thankful to the Lord, beyond everyday circumstances? (And does it require more lists? ‘Cause I don’t know if I can take that kind of commitment.)

Paul said to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18), and he had the credentials to make such a command. Stoned, imprisoned, mocked, ship-wrecked – I could go on. Circumstantially, he had days where you’d laugh to hear him be grateful. And yet, he was.

He already knew what’s only recently been my personal lesson: you can always be thankful, because God’s got this. He is who He says He is. He is good. His love endures forever. Have you ever stopped to consider this love that sticks to you through everything? It blows my mind after giving it just two minutes’ thought.

And you know what? I stand by my creed: life’s pleasant surprises don’t mean that God is good. God’s character means that God is good. What does that mean when our years are a mix of happiness and difficulties? That kind of theology is still too deep for me to comprehend.

But until I figure it out, I’ll keep saying thank you, no matter what happens.