You defeat your dark
when Thanksgiving is your default.
- Ann Voskamp
It is Sunday morning and almost 3 am here in Spokane. I have been up for an hour and I finally made coffee, set the fireplace to going, and wrapped myself in a quilt made by my grandma.
I look at that quilt so lovingly made and see the threadbare pieces. It once was so carefully sewn together with meticulous precision. Now it is time-worn, but not worn out. It's starting to fray.
I feel like that quilt.
Wonderfully made by my Heavenly Father, yet frayed at the end of a week that left me speechless, tossed, torn, scared and barely able to breathe.
Perhaps I was just naive and unsuspecting at the start of this week, not totally prepared to imagine what was to come.
Yes, it was the first week back with students. Yes, the college had instituted a new computer system that impacted every, and I mean every, aspect of college life for everyone. Yes, I attended a soul-grabbing memorial service for a former student on Monday. Yes, we had a birthday dinner on Friday night and Bert got ill once we got there. Yes, many students who desperately needed financial aid appeared to be without it all together. Yes, many faculty didn't get a pay check because of a "new system" glitch. The list goes on and on.
Individually, these life-events don't seem to be an undoing.
Yet combined, and somehow left vulnerable and tired and discouraged, by bedtime Friday night I was one. hot. mess.
I was very worried about Bert and I couldn't seem to shake the fact that the upcoming MRI on his brain might not give us the news we were hoping for.
I was very worried about the students whose lives are in pieces because of all that had fallen apart at the college. Sad students.
Crying students. One I even took over to an administrative office and begged for help for him.
And the help came for Tony in the nick of time, like a ray of light and hope.
I found myself in my office at the college in tears filled with great relief that he could stay in school.
All week I prayed continually, "Lord help me know what the next step is. What would you have me do?"
I know God is faithful. I know He was there and is there.
Yet sometimes the dark moments, even when I know God is there, are still dark and hard and uncertain. I am hunting for grace and thanksgiving like the needle in the haystack.
Thanksgiving is there, somewhere, I just can't see it.
I went to bed Friday night and awoke with a start at 3:00 Saturday morning. It was still dark outside and still dark in my heart.
I felt so, so scared. I went to the family room, the same one I am in now as I write this. I turned on the same fireplace and wrapped myself in the same quilt.
Only one word, one prayer, came out.
Then slowly, minute-by-minute, I felt like God reached down at 3 in the morning on Saturday, put His Almighty hand on my heart and said, "It's okay to be scared and unsure and worried, but you don't have to stay there, Linda. My dear daughter, it's okay to have tears. I gave you tears."
And the tears came. I cried and cried. And then my cry turned to a sob.
I held the quilt over my mouth, hoping not to wake Bert up.
No such luck. He came out to the family room, took one look at me, came over and encircled me in his arms and held me tight.
And I cried and cried until I cried out the hurt and pain and scared that was all bottled up.
I put words to it so it couldn't engulf me. Piece by piece I took the week, brought each piece out from the scary darkness and shed Gods's healing light on it.
And as I did that, God's grace and healing turned my speechless fear and worry into thanksgiving.
Not a whole banquet of thankful, mind you. But at least some
appetizers to sustain my soul.
God's like that, you know.
Just when you feel the worst, the most hopeless, the most helpless... He can take the dark and bring His grace to the table. He can turn a week around and help me focus on my blessings.
The blessings mixed in with all of the scared and worry and overwhelm, and hurt.
He can help me to defeat my dark when Thanksgiving is my default, what I turn to next. What I go to instead of fear.
I just have to turn to Him and let Him help me.
Thanksgiving at 3 in the morning when sleep seems impossible.
Thanksgiving when my husband wakes up and encircles me with his love.
Thanksgiving when God promises that All Shall be Well, no matter the results of an MRI.
Thanksgiving when He is there in my sobs and most speechless
Thanksgiving when a loving Pope Francis shows us all what kindness really looks like... when he stops a motorcade, gets out and kisses the head of a disabled young man in a wheelchair.
Thanksgiving when I hear the words, "Thank you for not letting Tony fall though the cracks."
Thanksgiving when I get a phone call from my daughter asking how Bert is doing today.
Thanksgiving at the sunrise, sunset, and beautiful fall leaves God has adorned our world with.
So this Sunday morning I am more calm, after a Saturday spent praying and napping and talking and processing and allowing glimmers of Thanksgiving to come to the forefront.
There's so much I don't know and don't have an answer to. Yet what I do know is that I have so many blessings in the midst of the mess.
And those blessings are what I am counting this morning.
May God Bless you and keep you and hold you in the palm of His hand. May you know that even in the dark, He is there.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
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