The cobwebs were thick this morning as I struggled to keep my eyes open. My morning devotional study was being pondered; my son David had kindly put my coffee pot in the microwave, the kids had let me sleep in until 9 am, and I was scanning my Twitter timeline in an attempt to prompt my writing projects for the day. Beth Moore’s tweet stopped me in my tracks.
It follows: @BethMooreLPM “Do everything without complaining.” (Phil. 2:14) Now that’s a word. We can dang well choose how we’re going to do what we’re going to do”. My response follows: “@GracieKHarold:@BethMooreLPM, such deep truth; easy to require in our children yet SO hard to remember sometimes as adults…especially precaffeinated”
It’s been a hard few days. Good and hard have co-mingled in an effortless way that have left my husband, James, and me exhausted. We have had incredibly sweet moments with our 5 youngest children; our pride ever-increasing as we watch them live out the truth of Jesus’ life in their lives. We have been richly invested in by good friends who surround us and encourage us.
We have wrestled together long and hard for me to truly walk in freedom from the past abuses that I have survived. This last weekend was filled with a battle of stubborn hard-headedness as I fought with all of my resolve to place steel walls around my heart. I felt so rejected and so hated by something that unintentionally happened in our family; that I reacted out of sheer terror and fear of re-living the past. I could only say, “Jesus, I hurt so deeply that all I can say is ‘Help. Please, help.'” I couldn’t even speak to the family member.
In my first marriage, a family member of my ex-husband’s yelled at me on more than one occasion to say, “I hate you! You’re terrible! You’re awful! No wonder your family hates you, it’s because you are horrible!” That combined with my ex-husband’s constant verbal abuse and continual rejection of me apparently did more damage than I realized. In the past, I had resolved to never let my feelings show.
After years of unconditional love being poured into me, and being able to embrace the Goodness of a Loving Heavenly Father; I can no longer hide my emotions. I can no longer hold back the tears if I am hurt. I can’t cower within the walls of impenetrable steel any longer. I’ve danced in the bright light of Yahweh’s Love for me. I’ve been cleansed, made whole, and brought to life.
My beloved James refused to let me pull back from him. He gently and tenderly reminded me many times this weekend that he is here. He prayed when I couldn’t. He spoke truth to me and over me. He said, “I chose you to be my wife. I love you. You were chosen by me. Daddy God CHOSE you to be his child. That is not going to stop! In the Hebrew culture, children who were biological could be disowned by their parents; but an adoption is legally irrevocable. Once you are adopted, that’s it…it’s forever. Gracie, the best part of adoption is that the parents CHOOSE the child. You were chosen to be HIS. He picked you!”
For years, I have felt unworthy of my parents love; of anyone’s love. I have literally dry heaved in the past to hear the word “chosen”. I was so deceived. I thought that I was nowhere near worthy to be chosen by God.
Technically, I believed a half-truth….which is still a lie. The truth is that I don’t deserve to be chosen but the blood of Jesus Christ covers me and I have been chosen by HIM to be HIS new creation. I can’t earn it. I don’t deserve it. I receive it, though!
Earlier this morning, as I sat in my bedroom scanning through tweets; I was a bit grumpy with God. (Translation…I was wenchily complaining about the things that I thought should have been in place by now.) That’s when I read Beth Moore’s post. I realized what I had been doing. I was so focused with my gaze on the situations that I failed to focus on the faithful Creator who chose me and loves me.
I got up, and announced to the kids that today; we would intentionally focus on thankfulness. My son David chimed in, “Oh, it’s Thankfulness Thursday!” I grinned and added, “Yes it is! Mark it on the calendar, son! Every week, let’s do this ‘Thankful Thursday’ until our attitudes change!”
A while back, James surprised us with a “gratitude board”. We worked as a family to staple fabric on it, and then we took turns putting up scraps of paper with things that we are thankful for. It is in our Dining Room, and it is a beautiful reminder. Now, it’s time to intentionally bring about thankfulness and gratitude in our daily life…I want it to be as natural as breathing.
Today, I realize that there are some things which require a deliberate decision to be thankful for…and that’s okay. In fact, I tend to think that deliberately giving thanks for the rough stuff is what dispels and disarms the dark powers that those situations have over us.
I believe that the discipline of re-directing our gaze to HIM is what worship is all about, as our friend Michael Brooks so brilliantly stated. So, Jesus; I am thankful for the following:
1. I am chosen by you
2. You are a GOOD Father, and you love me unconditionally
3. Medical wisdom and caring professionals
4. The ability to see your HAND at work when all else looks hopeless
5. Your Holy Spirit to interpret between believers, and to reveal truth.
6. Our 6 children on earth, and our 2 babies in Heaven
7. My tender husband who loves me so well, in your name.
So, reader; is there anything that you are thankful for today?
Just one thing?
Enjoy your Thankful Thursday!