Our family watched A Christmas Carol last night and I began to ponder the life of Ebenezer Scrooge. He had a difficult childhood…abandoned, neglected, forgotten. He lost a sister he loved. He lost perspective. Fear and greed drove his business to flourish, but drove his engagement to destruction. The story reminded me once again; we all have reasons for being where we are and who we are at this very moment in time.
The past 12 months have been a doozy. No one would blame us this holiday season if we were a bit cranky, like Scrooge. “Bah Humbug,” yeah, it doesn’t roll off my tongue?!
It wasn’t the 3 spirits that convinced me…but I am convinced that there is something to finding a thankful heart in the midst of pain. I have watched people from afar…and admire them deeply…specifically the one’s who bring thankful hearts to the suffering table. I don’t know if thankfulness wards off bitterness, or if it just does battle in the soul? Some sort of power is unlocked when we approach our pain with thanksgiving.
Scrooge’s nephew was a picture of grace toward his uncle. Fred showed a grateful heart despite his ability to change circumstances. I was inspired by his tenacity and was cheered by Ebenezer’s changed heart. Everything and everyone in his eyes became, “delightful.”
It seemed appropriate just 10 days before Thanksgiving that I would put forth 10 thankful thoughts today. Examining the past year…here are my thankful thoughts:
10. I thank God for our faithful friends and families in the US. Friends who loved, supported and prayed deep faith-filled prayers for our family for months and months on end. Who emailed, and face-booked and refreshed our family through the roughest of days. Those same people linked arms with us, sent treats and comforts from home.
9. I thank God for the country of Uganda who introduced me to two precious little faces. Faces whose tears I wiped and cheeks I kissed. Children who I was privileged to know, raise and love (as my own) for nine long months.
8. I praise God for the families and friends we met at Jaca–for their laughter, tears, healthy distractions, memories made, playmates for my children…life long friends.
7. I praise God for the life I have lived in this place. The perspective changing, life-altering experience that anyone lives when they do life in a different culture. I praise God for the things my children have seen at tender ages…things that will challenge and expand their world view for a lifetime.
6. I praise God for the beauty of Africa. The red dirt, the beautiful smiles, the friendships and simple life lived. I thank God for the beauty of banana trees, the rushing Nile, and powerful Karuma falls. I praise him for the animals we have seen and little glimpses of His creative side displayed in the kneeling warthog or majestic giraffe.
5. I thank God for clean water and paved roads. For the conveniences I took for-granted like dishwashers, disposals, and dryers.
4. I thank God for Restoration Gateway for the incredible little lives that we have had a chance to know and love. I thank God for the dedicated staff who have committed their lives to serving in this place.
3. I am thankful for the power of prayer. The prayers of healing over both body and heart. I am thankful for the taps and nudges God has given to a multitude of saints. Awaking friends in the night and prompting them to pray. Those very prayers and ones like them have sustained us…we are so grateful.
2. I am thankful for my best friend who has walked for literally miles and miles over the red dirt roads talking, listening, talking and listening. His solidarity and understanding have been paramount. God knew what I needed in a partner and provided it…I am so very blessed.
1. I am thankful that God is God and I am not. We are confident that God called us to Uganda. Therefore He knew the way our lives on this side of the world would unfold. Somehow He gives me the strength to sincerely say (at least for today)…it is well with my soul.
May You Be a Blessing and Be May You Be Thankful,