For some time now, I have been pondering in my heart the things I am thankful to the Lord for. Many thoughts and feelings have arisen, but the things He is encouraging me to write about are some of those deep intimate things that have impacted me in life-transforming ways. Thank you for sharing in them with me.
I THANK YOU GOD for intervening in my life~ I was drowning, but was looking everywhere but to You who could save me. Somehow You never lost sight of me, no matter how far away I went. You never forgot I was there. How was it that I seemed invisible to everyone else, but You could still see me?
I THANK YOU GOD that you came after me. All of the ways I pushed You away did not fool You~ you knew I wanted to be loved, but did not believe I could be. My fears did not scare You away. You never stopped no matter what I did. I could not make You go away, or convince You to let me fade away completely.
I THANK YOU GOD that You found me worth saving. But the loving part~ what was there that You could love when it came to me? How could You see past all the awful things I had done~ the shameful person that I was. You didn’t turn away because of these things either. How could You see into my heart and not be disgusted and appalled? Somehow there was an acceptance that had nothing to do with anything about me. You saw me just as I was and still wanted me.
I THANK YOU GOD that You saw the awfulness~ the sin, as something hurting me~ the one You loved. You could not watch me stay there without doing something. You wanted sin far away from me, just as You will not have it near You. But I could still come. You could separate me from sin instead of me being separated from YOU! And You did~
I THANK YOU GOD for all of the things You have done to convince me of Your love. You had nothing to prove as Almighty God, yet You have pursued me as a treasure. You have shown me that You see my heart as one to be prized and cherished. You have brought me trust deep inside that I will never lose Your love and acceptance, and that You will be faithful always and forever.
I THANK YOU GOD that I can rest assured in You. It is so very true that my soul finds rest in You alone~ I can truly take a huge sigh and relax all of my ever-tense muscles. I can put down all my guards and finally let You take care of me. And your assurances oh Lord, are an anchor that keeps me grounded in You no matter how shaky my human emotions become.
I THANK YOU GOD that You have made it well with my soul. You took a person like me full of shame, fear, and nightmarish memories~ and soothed me to the deepest places within. It is a sacred miracle that you could bring a peace that penetrated all these things, and now runs beneath every torrent that life brings:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall (Psalm 46:1-5a).
I THANK YOU GOD that You have always done Your will in my life and never my own. You have loved me as Your beloved daughter, but so much that I could not get away with anything! Even when I pleaded for something that was not good for me, or wanted to grab at something that felt so good for me~ You made it impossible to go ahead without knowing clearly my choice. Your bold love compelled me to want to obey. And the times I pouted or had a tantrum, You smiled at me lovingly~ but did not give in or change Your mind!
I THANK YOU GOD that You cannot be manipulated. Even one bit of Your wisdom has seen through my most sophisticated tries at getting my own way. In this You have blessed me so very richly in learning what it means to wait upon You and trust You with every single outcome. You have shown time and time again that Your way is the only way. My only disappointments have come from my own impatience and unbelief. And even in those You have comforted me, and touched my heart with Your sweet understanding.
I THANK YOU GOD that You always teach me so gently. You know the smallness of my thinking and the frailties of my heart. Never have You expected me to know something I had not yet learned~ and even when I thought I had learned certain things, You used my forgetting to remind me of my need for You. It is You God whom I am completely dependent upon.
I THANK YOU GOD that You continue to do whatever it takes to make me humble before You. If pride begins to slip in, You are faithful to take any steps necessary to pluck it out. And in the times it has gotten ahold of me~ You were willing to let me fall as far as I needed to in order to see it and confess it. Even when Your humbling process feels so akin to humiliation it is not so~ Your hand of grace still catches me.
I THANK YOU GOD for the brokenness You have brought to my life. You knew that all of my defenses kept me away from Your heart. You knew that self-sufficiency robbed me of reliance on You. You knew that all of the ways I learned to cope were all worldly crutches that I made into false gods. You knew that my belief in my own strength had a strangle-hold that I could not see. You have broken my will, so that I may live in You through Your beautiful Spirit of hope.
I THANK YOU GOD for constantly testing my faith~ for continuing to lovingly make my faith strong and steadfast as is the beat of Your heart. Thank You that You do not hesitate to refine me as often and as much as needed~ with a fire as hot as necessary to free me from impurities. You have also allowed me to be sifted as often and as much as needed~ to clearly separate out what is of You and what is of this world. In this You have set me apart so that I might know the distinctions between good and evil~ and that I might live fully in You. You have caused me to thirst and hunger to be righteous and holy.
I THANK YOU GOD that Your love is so strong that You are willing to watch me suffer for Your good purposes. And such small sufferings when I think of what You watched dear Jesus go through~ and to see Him die~ even for me. And that You rejoice in these things is a love that is too hard to grasp. You are giving me a perspective on life that cannot be found in the human mind. You make me want to be a part of Your stirring and terrifying plans. You make me want to go toward things that only an insane person would~ if not for You.
AND I THANK YOU JESUS for the joy of being loved by You. There are no words to express the sweetness that I feel with Your heart intertwined with mine. Thank You that You have been THE ONE all along. Thank You that You were the one who looked into the eyes of the wounded little girl inside me with reassuring words~ where healing began in me. Thank You that it was You who reached out Your hand to me as a young girl~ leading me away from shame~ and showing me that all You have is mine. Thank You that You are the one who won my heart~ to the point of no return. Thank You that You are the one who held me in Your arms as Your betrothed on the threshold of the promised land~ waiting to enter it as Your bride. Thank You that it was Your outstretched arm and smiling face that bid me to dance with You in the minefields~ as You saw the look of apprehensive astonishment on my face. You wanted me to see that the promised land and the minefields are one in the same. Landmines all around~ yet protected on every side. This is the glorious life I have with You. Keep looking into my eyes as we dance Jesus~ until all my timidity fades away~ and a bright smile just like Yours appears, never to again leave my face.
Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders You have done. The things You planned for us no one can recount to You; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare (Psalm 40:5). But for them all~ I thank You my wonderful Father and my precious Jesus from the depths of my heart and soul.