The Thankful List of the Broken
The majority of the More Precious girls may live on the other side of the Atlantic, but seeing as I carry a blue passport as well as a red one (thank you, dual citizenship!), I couldn’t let the Holiday of Thanksgiving go by unnoticed. Plus, there seems to be something universal in the act of giving thanks, especially for a Christian.
For many people, this time of year is one of family, joy and celebration. The world sings a tune that implores you to be happy, to take stock of all you have, and to present a showcase of blissful, functional families. We begin to make lists of all the things we are grateful for, combing through for all the good that God has provided.
There is always good. But sometimes the good doesn’t come neatly packaged with a bow on top.
Sometimes our thankful lists finish with a quiet whisper of “I’m here”. With the era of Facebook, social media overload, and the art of presenting a well-lived life, I’m wondering about the honesty of sharing what we are truly grateful for. In light of our discussions about bold-faced weakness, I would like to give you my list of thankfulness.
When you’re in a time of healing; a time of understanding; the thanksgiving you want to release to God can be muddled with pain. Yes, God has made me strong, but only through Him, and only by offering my broken pieces. A bittersweet melody. When I was finally ready to take to Him my suffering, my doubts, my fears, my questions, it was a young girl, poor and broken by this world who presented to God her heart, shattered in pieces and tarnished by sin. God saw the girl, the broken heart, and whispered, "I can redeem all things". And so began God's work in my life. As it can begin in yours.
I do not have all the answers yet, and I doubt I ever will. Some days the fear comes back with a terrifying strength. Some days the doubts dominate the internal battle. It is on these days that I kneel a little lower at His throne.
Grief of things lost is a long and arduous process. But God is patient, and constant, and He has not left me. He is doing something with my heart. He is releasing the pain for what it is, and drawing me closer still. He is teaching me the difference between happiness and joy. The difference between a fleeting emotion, and the knowledge of His never-changing grace and love. With the grief of things lost, God does give life to something new.
And so, with my vulnerable heart cracked open, here is my real Thanksgiving List:
- That He does not leave me in my wrestling with faith, but draws me into His safe arms.
- That in my weakness, His strength is perfect. I never need to rely on my own abilities but trust Him to carry me through.
- That He has written a love letter for me to read over and over again when the doubts become unbearably loud. Genesis? The story of a God who kept His promises. The Gospels? The story of a God who keeps His promises.
- Since I know He keeps His promises, I know too that He will never leave me nor abandon me. Even when we find ourselves in the darkest of this world.
- I can feel grief and not feel as though I have failed as a Christian. Jesus himself wept at the sight of death and tragedy. This is a God who understands the pain and rejects the darkness of a fallen world.
- That God does not require a tidy life from me. In fact, He can use my mess to create a more important message.
- That He makes beautiful things out of the dust. He makes beautiful things out of us.
- That, everyday, He calls me upon the water. Everyday, He gives me the choice to live out His grace. Even when I feel inadequate and undeserving, He reminds me that He calls me, not because of who I am, but because of who He is.
- That in the silence, in the broken, in the raging storm, I can sing a song of praise, because:
I hope that this list encourages you to give thanks to God, no matter where He has placed you at this point of time. You do not need to be at the end of the battle to give thanks. In fact, isn't our gratitude at its most sincere when we're kneeling, face down at His throne?