Thanksgiving has passed and if you are a “normal” American, hopefully you have reflected on your life and are at least thankful for one thing in your life. Family, love, health. There is always something to be thankful for.
As I reflected my year, I have to say that I am thankful that this year is close to an end. Its not been an easy year emotionally, yet I would not have had it any other way. When life seems to bring hard times, our Father, who never leaves us alone, will always bring us something in return.
So today, as like most of you, I am so thankful for my family, the roof over my head, and good health. But as I was meditating on my year, some words came to me and I thought, these are uncommon thankful words. Words that can inspire the negative, but I realized that with out the words, feeling, and emotions, it can often inspire strength and joy.
I am Thankful for:
- Growth – Cultivating a life of growth seems like it would be easy. Educating yourself, finding the avenues to which expands your tents, but growth can also be painful. Stretching you to change; pulling at the heart of what you believe and having to alter a new mindset. Growth, although we can agree we need it, really can roughly change us into beauty. I still have not fully learned to see when it comes, through pain, through joy, and through mess and mistakes. I am thankful that when I recognize it, it becomes part of my life.
- Despair– Despair comes front the same root word as hope. The real word of despair, actually comes from the Latin Word Aspire. So, in the times we feel despair, it is actually supposed to aspire us to hope. Isn’t that amazing. Here we thought that a word so full of negative emotions, actually inspire us to look outward to hope. Hope that our answer, our cry, and our savior is waiting for us. He is faithful. Psalms 146:5
- Storms– I was in a worship service a few years ago and felt like the Lord told hold on that I was about to go through a hurricane. At the time, I didn’t feel like it was a negative word, and later pondered on the word some more. I looked up the benefits of a hurricane. Hurricanes take all of the garage and trash in the ocean and stir it up. Bringing up some debris so that it cleans the water. The wind and waves bring up more sand from the bottom of the ocean adding new shores to the shorelines. What we see is the wind, the waves, and the damage. I know that in the natural, the tragic outcomes from those who stay by the shore while in a hurricane. But without the storms, we can’t appreciate the sun. We can gain new land. And all the junk in our lives that can we brought to the surface, gets swept away into the ocean. I will praise Him in the storms. His love for me is a mighty wind and wave, bending me and adding, and taking away. A beautiful mess. I come out and see that I am fully grounded in His love for me.
- Pain– I have been told I have a high tolerance for pain. Things that should be hurting me, I seem to just muster through, both physical and emotional. And so I thought. Truthfully, like most of us, I have in the past just tried to avoid it, to continue life as if it were not there. This is not healthy. Pain is not a fault in our body, it’s an indication that something needs tending to. Where physical or emotional, we need to listen to our pain, look at it, and when it most heart wrenching, began to look to others to help bring you through it. Not many people celebrate the pain, but we should. Without pain we can’t have growth. Without pain, we cannot make room for healing. I don’t live in the pain; I look to Jesus my healer. I say, pain can not stay, because He already paid the price to set me free. I do not acknowledge that is it not there.
- Vulnerability – So, I really learned this year what an important word this is. I am thankful for it. This has change the course of my life, and I finally understand the extreme value of this word. Vulnerability comes from the Latin word vulnus or “wound”. This is all about how we connect with those around us. Allowing ourselves to be fully known. If we all lived in a culture that would be fully vulnerable, then we would be afraid of disconnection, shame, or guilt. I am amazed that I have lived a life where I just wanted to be hidden in fear that the ugliness of my past would define who I am but one of my peers. And yet it has. But still, the need for me to be vulnerable is not about them, its about me being ok with me. Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on “The Power of Vulnerability” first set me on a path, but still was not enough. Now, I can surely see and understand why this has to be a lifestyle for me.
Although these words may seem negative in definition, they are precious to me. I have resisted these words, looked at ways to avoid them, and finally embraced the them to know that sometimes the ugliness of life, is only a moment. That when my redeemer comes, I am made whole. I am so thankful for the life I live and the seasons I endure.