I am thankful. I mean crazy thankful. For so many things. This world, as ugly and harsh as it can be, is also wonderful and beautiful. I am also wicked weary, and an exhausted and too busy momma that is regularly crushed by the weight of guilt and shame that tells me I am not measuring up to what my children need, what others need or even what God needs from me. Which, I guess, makes me feel that it is never enough-that I am not enough.
This causes me to lose sight of thankfulness and contentment. Which, I believe, really go hand in hand. How can we truly be thankful without having some form of contentment? At the very least, choosing thankfulness will bring contentment.
I have recently come out of a season of terrible pain and as a result terrible discontentment. I sought contentment. Desiring, as Paul said, "to be content in any and every circumstance". (Philippians 4.11)
As I drew closer to God, I found contentment despite my circumstances. In no way did it remove the pain, but I found peace. My fear of the Lord, drawing near to him gave "rest and contentment" in which I was "untouched by trouble". (Proverbs 19.23) This is what gave me life through my darkest days and moments. It breathed life into me and sustained me.
I am on the other side of those "big storms". Of which I am very thankful. I prayed for a reprieve for many years. A reprieve from the moment of crisis.
Now I find myself in a different kind of chaos. It is not crisis. It's the daily grind. It's parenting. It's ministry. It's everything that distracts me from what I am most thankful for - my relationship with my Heavenly Father. A relationship, when center, brings contentment and rest. Which then brings peace in the midst of the normal weariness of this life.
Yesterday, in a moment of weakness that I am not proud of, I shouted at Brad, "I am tired of being a mom"! I felt horrible afterwards. My children are three of my greatest gifts. I love them more than life itself. And in a world full of sorrow, disease, death, and other awful things - I work hard not take them for granted because I know loss, but I don't want to experience that kind of loss. I am grateful that God has given them to me for this time. They are in my top three things of which I am most thankful.
But I am human, I guess. And I am tired. My children are the most life giving and the most life taking thing in my life. It's just the nature of it, and the sooner we accept that the better we can work to balance and replenish - so we can be the most healthy.
I truly feel that I am most thankful only when I am focused on what is most important. And, believe it or not, it's not my children, my husband, or ministry. It's God. So simple really. Yet life changing. And so easy to forget. He is not always as loud as those other things. My family and ministry pull so much from me. Most times until I have nothing left to give.
Amazingly, he pulls nothing from me-accept my devotion, love...and focus and surrender. Sure, he calls us to live lives that are pure and pleasing to Him. He calls us to surrender. Those are all seemingly hard things, big things. But when He becomes the center, the focus-they really just fall into place. It just happens. It's grace. It's His Holy Sprit's power at work. It's there if we allow it.
When I can focus on the necessary, I have much more to offer my family and the people I am ministering to. I can be content and at peace, and have something beautiful to give them. Why? Because God has given me something beautiful. Otherwise, I am running on my own strength and abilities. Which, simply stated, is not and never will be enough.
I have learned these things before. And that is another thing for which I am thankful. God's grace and love in teaching me discipline and showing me what matters most. I still grieve my precious parents and all that I lost in that period of time. I am missing them terribly even today. Yet, when I think of God...
My heart swells with thankfulness. Thankfulness despite loss. Thankfulness despite unpleasant circumstances. Thankfulness despite my weariness. Thankfulness despite my inadequacies. Thankfulness despite fears.
I have so so much to be thankful for-we all do really-if we follow Christ.
It's a thankfulness that leads to rest and contentment, in which I am untouched by trouble (Proverbs 19.23). And peace because my heart and mind are steadfast in Him because I trust in Him (Isaiah 26:3). Note-it doesn't mean things are all perfect. It just simply means I am focused on what is important, therefore I am sustained through the trouble.
God is so faithful, loving and compassionate. Gracious towards all He has made.
So, today, I breathe in strength, contentment, and peace from my thankfulness. Strength, contentment, and peace that will give me what I need to, then, give to that which I am most thankful - my husband, my children, my family and friends, and ministry life.
I am truly and deeply thankful for God and this life He has given me.