We're six months in and things really aren't better yet. I haven't written much on here because I don't have much new to say. It still hurts. It still is hard. In fact, I would go so far as to say that in some respects it's even harder than 6 months ago simply because nothing has changed like I hoped that it would and I'm being forced to settle in for the long haul. My new life still feels impossible. And tears still fall most days.
Today is a day of thanksgiving. I have so many memories of thanksgivings past that are full of joy and happiness, fellowship and family, love and tender closeness to my dearest ones. The enemy has shown me, again and again, today how much I have lost. He has repeatedly whispered in my ear how justified I would be to not participate in this holiday. And I surely have seen how much my heart wants to say a big huge, "no thank you" to what God's sovereignty has brought.
Sacrifices are painful. They are costly. Life would be so much easier without them. Perhaps the Israelite bringing his best lamb might have wondered some years, is this really necessary? Does it really help?
Isn't it a wonder that after mentioning pain and loss, the Psalmist puts on a face of determination and says, "I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord." (Psalm 116:17) Here is the truth that was shining at me today: sometimes life hurts so much that thanksgiving becomes a sacrifice and we have to choose to make it. It can be painful to wake up in the midst of sorrow and say thank you. It would be much easier to not. One might wonder as the holiday marks a painful year like this one: is this really necessary? Does it really help?
Thanksgiving has a way of forcing our eyes to see Jesus. Like the prayer of St. Patrick who cries, "Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I arise..." Thanksgiving forces us to look above, beneath, on our right, on our left, throughout the day and see Christ working on our behalf. This thanksgiving sacrifice works for our good as it draws our eyes out of our pit and back to our Savior who is working all around us for our good. Surely this kind of calling out to the Lord will open our hearts to an eternal joy even when there is very little earthly happiness. So yes, it is necessary and it does help.
So by God's grace, we made our green bean casserole, drank our Uganda coffee, carved our turkey, fashioned our pies, sang our hymns and went around the circle giving thanks like we always have. And you know what? My heart was soothed a bit. God's grace has once again brought me to the end of what could have been a very hard day and I can see that he hemmed me in and held me tightly through it. Thank you, Lord. You truly are a gracious God.