I like Thanksgiving. I like that it falls shortly before Advent and if we really appreciate the holiday for what it is, it puts our hearts in a grateful place before beginning the weeks of anticipation leading up to Christmas. I’ve been thinking about what I’m grateful for the past week or so, though honestly, my heart and mind have been in some turmoil and I know I haven’t been as focused on what I’m grateful for as I could, or should, have been. In knowing that, I am reminded what I am very grateful for this year: We are always in process. I am a person in process.
I’m so grateful that God sent a Savior, whose birth we will joyously celebrate in 26 days, to provide the ultimate change in our lives: sinner to saint. It’s a process to truly understand we are sinners, to make the choice to repent and put faith in Christ, and then the sanctification process that begins with salvation and ends with our natural death. The length of each part of that process is different for everyone. I’m thankful God doesn’t give up on us.
I’m thankful God’s time table is not restricted to our timing. Granted, there are times it’s frustrates me that God has done something faster than I want or not nearly fast enough or not even at all. In hindsight I have usually seen why God has done what He’s done when He’s done it. His time table being different than ours brings a peace to me, too. I don’t have to panic that something hasn’t happened in my timing because how things ultimately play out is in His.
I’m thankful that as God has brought me through the process of life that He’s put such a wide variety of people in my life for a wide variety of reasons. Some relationships are healthier than others. I’m thankful some of the healthier relationships I have are with the main man and four little misters that I share a house and adventure with through life. Toffer and I are very well-suited for each other and I have such cool kids. I’m thankful that one day God will make any less-than-healthy relationships whole and reconciled in heaven, if not on earth. Relationships are in process just as much as individual people.
I’m thankful for the various processes it took to get back to the field. We had to go through the process of raising more financial support, more prayer team members, sorting out visas (a process that is seemingly never-ending for those of us who live abroad), and so on and so forth. Working through all of those things grew our faith and trust in God and His plans. We worked and waited and saw God move. I’m thankful God worked everything out for us to continue living where we had been.
I’m thankful for where God put us in the world and how we’ve learned so much more about this world because of it. I’m thankful for the ways God has challenged me as I’ve watched so many heartbreaking events unfold, but also seen how His hand has been in them. I’m particularly thankful He’s pushed me to look at the people, not at the events themselves, and how that has changed how I react when I see something. I know God is moving even when things seems dark and desperate.
I’m thankful for tears and laughter and myriad facial expressions and all the emotions that go with those. As we go through life we do have ways to express what’s going on in our hearts and minds. Learning to express these things in good, healthy ways is part of the process, too. I pray I do it well more often than not.
I’m thankful most of all that God is always with me. God always loves me. He will never leave or forsake me. He will never give up on me. He will never say enough is enough. And as much as that is true for me, it’s true for every other person, too. I know I can look anyone in the world in the face and say, ” God loves you” and know that I am speaking truth to them. That is something for which we can all be grateful.