Thursday, November 10, 2011

Faith and Thankfulness in the Shadow of a Slow Heartache

I've had this post percolating in my heart all day long. While I'd rather not turn it into a blog entry for mass consumption, I can't ignore the pull to let the words spill from my spirit onto a blank canvas.

Here's the thing. I'm an eternal optimist. I don't struggle with faith in general. I take the promises in the Word and snuggle them up close to my heart. I believe them. I trust them. I'm not afraid that they won't bloom in due time-- because spring always comes-- even after the harshest winter.

But it's been a hard 2.5 years. At the end of the first year, I was saying, "It's been a LONG year." As year two closed in, I lamented, "What a rough two years! I'll be so thankful when we can move on." As we push toward year three in the mire, I can't help but feel a little battle weary.

Our journey has been so long and our story so very complicated. If I could put it into words, it would read more like fiction than reality. Only it's not. We've lived and breathed every last minute of it. And now, as the holidays near, I feel completely justified in throwing myself a little pity party as we're still waiting for a door to open for a new position for Jeremy.

In the midst of our lengthy season, my eyes have been opened wide to the needs that exist in the world. The hurt. The pain. The loneliness. The sadness. This season I am thankful for God's protection over our family and for the provision necessary to get us through this time. But this year too, I recognize how very difficult it is for so many people to find things to feel thankful for during the holidays. For once, I sort of understand why this season churns up feelings of just wanting to button up your heart and hide it away until the new year knocks on the door.

I don't want to do that. Well...not exactly. But I do see very plainly that for every single thing that I am thankful for this year, it's difficult to not recognize a lack of sorts too. I'm not saying (or even implying) that it's a bad thing to focus solely on our thankfulness, or that I'm not. I praise God moment by moment for His abundant blessings in my life-- of which there are so many. But this year, I do feel a little raw, vulnerable, sensitive and even a little disappointed.

So this season I'm going to invite God's promise to "work all things together for the good" (Rom. 8:28) to come alive in ways that I didn't ever expect. I will cling to faith that He has good plans for our family (Jeremiah 29:11-14). And I will do my best to choose thankfulness at every turn. This will be my final song:

You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I'm about to burst with song; I can't keep quiet about you. God, my God, I can't thank you enough. Psalm 30:11-12 (MSG)