"...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thess 5:18
If ever someone has a reason to be thankful, it's me. Eight precious reasons are pictured here. Jeff, Jordan, Justin, Jaiden, Joshua, Jillian, Jeremy, and Jordan's wife--Megan. My heart is full.
God has blessed me with an amazing husband, a wonderful family and sweet friends. He gave me dear parents who raised me in a Christian home where everything was filtered through the lens of a biblical worldview, and the gospel was taught as clear as the ABCs. I always dreamed of the day when I could give back to my parents, when I could take care of them and cater to their needs just as much or more than they catered to mine growing up. The day finally came.
Retirement. They both agreed to move onto our ranch to enjoy the rest of their lives with our family. I got busy. Took two years of painstaking planning, back and forth trips to the County, moving 52 years of accumulated stuff out of the family home in San Francisco, grading and preparation of their new little red manufactured house to fit perfectly onto the top few acres of our Crazy J Ranch, just four hundred feet from our house. A full year followed filled with many celebrations, deep conversation, and precious memories with the grandkids.
And then January happened. My life changed in a matter of ten days.
A nasty, cruel stroke took the life of my Daddy. MY Daddy. My hero--the one who
promised to walk through some difficult issues with my autistic son--the one with whom I'd sit and have long conversations with about the state of the world, the state of evangelicalism, the state of anything. How in the world can I be thankful when my heart was ripped out of me? Yes. My life changed in a matter of ten days. (Never mind my mom falling and breaking her hip at the memorial, me having to live with her for almost 8 weeks hoping she'd heal, then driving her to San Francisco for a hip replacement where I stayed with her on and off for over a month. Ah, but that story is for another day.)
"...give thanks in ALL circumstances."
Have I learned this? Have I truly submitted my will to my Savior? Can I honestly say "I trust You in the most difficult circumstance, so I choose to be thankful?" No. I mean, kinda. Well, it comes and goes, if I'm to be truly frank. I don't understand what He's doing, but I know it is for His glory and my good, difficult as it may be. Still haven't had a tearless day after almost ten months, as I'm daily reminded of my loss since my life is now focussed on caring for my mom, handling her finances and driving her to appointments and church functions all while homeschooling two teens and handling the ups and downs of raising an autistic seven year old. Is God still good? Yes. Am I to be thankful in all circumstances? Yes, absolutely. Is it difficult? Completely! But does God leave me without the strength to make that happen? No. Not my God.
You see, my God knows best. He created me. He loves me. He knows exactly what I need (which is way different than what I would choose, ha). I have repented of my sins and placed my faith and trust in Him because I have come to understand, through His saving grace, who He is and what He has done for me. And all of this has nothing to do with what I've done. Thankfully! He has given me new life through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ--a perfect sacrifice to assuage the wrath of a holy God who cannot have a relationship with sinful me. Yup. I'm a sinful woman in need of a Savior. And because of what He has done, I now have been promised eternal life, since He views me through the righteousness of His Son. (Titus 3:3-7) And because my Daddy knew Him, too, I am clinging to the promise in His Word, the Bible, that I will see him again in eternity. This.... THIS gives me great reason to rejoice, and to be thankful in all circumstances--yes, even the loss of my precious Daddy.