"Everything is a gift...
it's just that some things
don't look gift wrapped."
I love the fall. I love the change in rhythm from the chaotic, fun-filled-every-minute summer time, with
its go-GO-GO mentality, to a more introspective
savor-every-moment-of-sunshine kind of thinking.
I love having a fire going, hearing it crackle, sitting in a comfy chair, wound up in a warm throw. I love sipping on hot apple cider as I read a new favorite book.
It's getting bone chillin', here in Spokane, as my Grandma used to say. Especially in the mornings.
Fewer and fewer folks at Starbucks are ordering iced drinks as the sound of a pumpkin-spiced latte' sounds much more to their liking.
And the leaves, oh, the glorious leaves. Some trees are in the shedding process, almost as if they have gotten a haircut. Others have clinging leaves, just barely holding on to their mother lode. Some, in an instant, a blink, let go of one or two or three leaves and they float away, dance through air and then gently land on the ground. Those red and yellow and green leaves, saying goodbye after their season.
It's beautiful and at once a little sad.
Fall... the time of football and reading and hugging and thinking and pondering and reflecting...a time of small bits of nostalgia. Time to look back and ponder. Where have I been? Where am I now?
Fall...on the cusp of the holidays...Halloween and then Thanksgiving.
I love thanksGIVING.
Even more, I love thanksLIVING.
I give thanks every morning in a daily ritual. I write in a gratitude journal, a tradition started long, long ago. High school really. And in the fall I inevitably
get out some old gratitude journals and page through
them. A walk down memory lane, if you will.
Some older entries show me giving thanks for my parents, my friends, for the fact that God loves me. Giving thanks for the opportunity to go to college. Thanks for the little things like my Mom making my favorite meal, or a special Young Life meeting I attended.
And after giving thanks, I wrote about my life lessons, about what I was learning. Then I took a breath and wrote about the challenges, the heartaches, the losses.
Little losses. Big losses. Heart-crushing losses.
And as I peruse the journals and re-read the entries,
I am at once stunned and amazed. Those losses that seemed sad and hard and even unbearable have been the catalyst for my greatest growth. They have almost always propelled me to have faith in God. They have almost always inspired me to do something different, to work on myself and have new goals. Those losses have catapulted me to trust God and to pray and pray.
And as I read and read...I see over and over and over again, that prayers have been answered. Not always in the way I had hoped or planned, but answered,
according to His plan. The bigger plan I could not see or imagine then. Clearly, He had a plan that I can see only in retrospect.
And I am amazed and humbled and grateful. Everything has been a gift. All of it. The great and the small. The easy and the hard. The moments of terror where I thought I will never get through this. It was a gift too.
Everything was a gift, it's just that some things didn't look gift wrapped, especially at the time they were happening. Unexpected gifts all around me. I just didn't know it then.
As I read those old pages, a pattern becomes very clear. He has made a way where there seemed to be no way...time and time again. He, the Lord God Almighty, was there, along side me, little 'ol me, and He was faithful.
He made a way when my heart was shattered during a divorce. He made a way in healing my heart and helping me love again. He made a way when my beloved Bert fought cancer. He made a way when my precious older daughter, Jessi, was riding her bike, training for a bike race, hit a deer and sustained a brain injury. He made a way when my beloved younger daughter was running and got hit by a car.
He made a way when my Mom and dad passed away.
He made a way. He made a way when there seemed to be no way.
And so this morning, as I write in this new leather-covered journal with inspirational quotations on the inside cover, I find I am encouraged, even deeply hopeful.
No matter what happens, no matter how hard things get, I am not alone. I was not alone back in 1969, or 1984, and I am not alone in 2014.
And for that, I am deeply grateful beyond what words could ever express.
May God bless you and keep you and hold you
in the palm of His almighty hand.
May you know, in your deepest heart-of-hearts that
He will make a way for you!
Please Note: If your heart speaks to you and you want to donate to my friend Vicky's medical expense fund, please click here. We are so grateful for your support!
"We are all just walking each other home." ...