“Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.”
It’s always good this time of year to reflect and take stock on all we should be thankful for. 2020 has been a challenge and it’s been easy to complain. What would have been my attitude if I would have been one of the Israelites who wandered through the desert for forty years? I sometimes think I would have been complaining with the best of them.
I can’t hear about that wandering anymore without thinking of the 40 years I did not know my daughter. I never thought reunion was a possibility and did not allow myself to hope for it or even really pray for it. And when I did pray, it was always with an “if”, not really expecting that kind of amazing gift. I didn’t feel like I deserved it, and honestly I guess I didn’t. God uses even our failures for good when we choose to follow Him. His grace and mercy are not earned, but gifts. And in our gratitude we praise Him and bring glory to His name.
It can be easy to think about those forty years with lots of questions. Why so long? Why can’t reunion be an easy transition? Why does the consequences in my life effect others, mostly her? Throughout the Bible I can see that when God has a plan for His people that it is never without a struggle, from which faith is tested and grown. If it were in my power I would want to make this reunion easy and fun and maybe even normal. I would want it to be easy for my other six children. I would certainly not want them to suffer for my mistakes and choices. But would I also take away their ability to grow in their own faith, to depend on God?
And I’m sure just like it pains me to see any of my children hurting, I know God sees and cares about their hurts even more than I do. When I see my daughter hurting in reunion, it is hard to see her suffer because of my choices or even my choices to do nothing. If I had told my children sooner, if I had looked for her when she was younger instead of waiting for her to look for me. I don’t know that these were “bad” choices but I can see now so many of my choices were made in fear-not faith. Fear of intruding in her life, fear of facing my shame, fear of disappointing my children, fear of causing a strain on my marriage. Maybe I thought God couldn’t defeat these giants in the land. Maybe I kept myself from going into the “promised land” just like the Israelites because of my own fears.
As I reflect on these maybe negative things, how can I remind myself to be thankful and grateful even for the hard things? Sometimes it’s easy to dwell on failures when I need to keep my eyes on Jesus-even in the toughest storms. I need to come to Him thankful even when life is hard. There are so many things I am thankful for.
Thankful for His grace and mercy in my life.
Thankful for His Son who died on the cross for my sin, taking all my shame and guilt, raised from the dead to new life that I too can have eternal life.
Thankful for His Holy Spirit who guides, comforts, teaches and opens my eyes to His word in scripture and changes my heart.
Thankful for my husband who loves me almost as much as I love him…he will never win!!
Thankful for the six children He has bless our lives with. For allowing me to be a mom to each one, even when I didn’t feel like I deserved it.
Thankful for the growing number of grandchildren and for those who haven’t been born yet.
Thankful for my oldest, the first to make me a mother. The first that made me realize life was more than about myself. The first person I ever truly loved not with the child-like love I had for my parents and siblings. And the first person I ever lost and grieved for. All those things made me depend on God in a new way and helped me understand His love for me. And I’m extremely grateful I get to know her and that she sometimes calls me Mom. I’m grateful she is part of our family and that her siblings have a big sister. Yes, it’s sometimes awkward and it’s complicated, hard and emotional, but I know God is growing all of us. He is healing, He is working even in this year of 2020.
We have had so many changes and good in this year-so many things to be grateful for. And I know if we have more disappointments or struggles or hardships or even more pandemic or unexpected financial issues, God will be there. And I will pray for His comfort in her life, healing in the brokenness left by me, guidance in all of our lives, for His unwavering grace and mercy and a love beyond what we can imagine. For He is good. His promises are sure. I will thank Him and I will trust Him, for He is worthy to be praised.
“May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.”2 Thessalonians 3:5
KP Nov 2020