Lately I have been muddling through an idea. It keeps presenting itself at every turn and I can't seem to avoid it or get away from it. Sometimes I hate when God works that way. The idea is one of being thankful for the painful moments of life, the ones that kick you so hard in the stomach you think you are going to throw up. The moments that knock you on the ground and you can't think about anything beyond the tears and the confusion. To be thankful for that kind of pain and chaos seems impossible. And part of me thinks that's the point. On my own, being thankful for much of anything doesn't go so well.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." Um, ok. Sure. Let me hop right onto that always rejoicing. And than giving thanks in all circumstances. I am pretty much failing at that all the time. I am not constantly rejoicing for what I have in Christ. For what he has done. For what he is doing. And I am certainly not thankful for everything. I am constantly feeling as if I am lacking in someway which pushes me into an attitude of ungratefulness and coveting. I sit on the floor and ask God why I can't just have what I want.
Recently, I read this post from Shauna Niequist, it's adapted from her book Cold Tangerines, and I loved it. The whole article is lovely and right on point with my emotions right now. But this paragraph hit home:
"What I’ve found this year, though, is a different kind of gratitude. When I left my job, in the swirling pain and confusion of that season, a few people told me that at some point, I would be happy for this, thankful, even. That didn’t sit well with me, and it felt even worse than the clichés about closing doors and opening windows. It felt cruel: not only was I supposed to not be sad, I was supposed to be thankful? It felt inauthentic and creepy, and I swore to myself that even if I healed someday, even if the pain abated, even if I was happy again, I would never ever be thankful for this. I would never be like one of those people who is thankful for cancer because of what it taught them, or thankful for the divorce for teaching them to be independent. I would never be thankful for this."
I have felt so incapable of mustering thankfulness in this season. I have felt lost more than I have found. I have been confused more than I have felt sure. Things have felt incomplete and messy and weird. But, I have this hope that one day I will be thankful for this time, thankful for where God has placed me. I am starting to see little glimmers of why God has brought me to this place. Why he is forcing me to take the road he has me on. Why he didn't allow certain scenarios to play out in my life. And I am reminded in that just how finite I am. I have a small, microscopic view of my own life and their world around me. And he is reminding me that he knows all, he sees all, and he cares. He cares about me enough to deny me the things I am begging for, crying for, demanding. Like a good parent, he is saying no to the "ok" things so that I can have the "best" things. I can't wait for the one day when I can say with certainty "Look, I wasn't crazy, see how God showed up! Look how he provided even more than I ever hoped for!"