If you look back on your life from beginning to end, you can probably pin point some select people who truly have had a hand in shaping the person you’ve become. Kimberly is definitely one of those people for me. She came into my life in high school in a seemingly random way after I became a Christian, and she along with 2 other specific women, were an amazing example to me of what the life of a young woman who loves Jesus looks like. I credit Kimberly with convincing me to go to Taylor University (where both her and her husband attended), which was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Kimberly and her husband Ryan work in youth ministry and have impacted way more lives for Jesus than they will ever know, including mine. Needless to say, It’s an honor to have her here guest posting today. You can also find her over on her own blog promises and perspective.
Over the years, thankfulness has taken on a whole new meaning for me. I’m sure you’ve heard that it means being full of thanks. I almost wish we spoke that way because it gives such a visual image. There are so many things we can be “full” of. We’ve all known people who are full of themselves, full of fear, full of hate, or full of sadness. It is a rare beauty to find an individual that lives their life full of thanks. Sometimes being thankful comes from just recognizing another’s good gifts, and going out of our way to say so. And every person has been through a time in their life where it was difficult to be thankful…but it’s such a triumph when we can find the way to push through the pain to hold onto thankfulness.
There is woman in my Bible study class who lives full of thanks. She is in her 80’s but tells everyone she is still a child, “a child of God!” She often has a little bounce when she steps that I find completely adorable. She is frequently excited, loves to sing and worship, and is not afraid to say anything to anyone if she feels the Lord has asked her to. Her most recent quest involves other people caught smiling. Anytime she sees someone with a big smile “on their face and in their eyes,” she stops them to tell them that she sees the love of God in their face. How precious is that? She has been through a lot of life, and has shared some of her darker moments with me, but still manages to live so full of thanks that it practically bubbles out of her like chocolate in a fondue fountain. Who doesn’t love fondue!? Who doesn’t love to be around people like that?
I love it when you hear a little child say, “thank you,” or as my three year old says it, “fank you.” My kids recently got early Christmas presents from their out of state grandparents. Who knew that a ninja turtle seat pet would be such an object of desire that it would elicit multiple hugs and spontaneous thank you’s all day long! When I tucked my third grader into bed, he even told me thank you for the seat pet. I said, “buddy, I didn’t get them for you?” But he insisted, “Mommy, you knew I wanted one and told mamaw…thank you.” Are we so aware of God’s good gifts that we just can’t contain the thanks? Does it well up within us multiple times throughout the day until we have to stop what we’re doing and just say thank you? I wonder how many marriages would find healing, or relationships could be mended, if we would just stop once in a while to say thank you?
Then there are times when thankfulness is something you have to fight for. My oldest daughter has multiple handicaps. She almost died from a traumatic delivery when I was just 22 years old. To say the first five years of her life were an emotional whirlwind is an understatement. The journey from pain to thankfulness has been, and continues to be, a long one. She’s twelve years old now and still doesn’t talk and needs help with every aspect of her daily care. It’s been a difficult emotional and spiritual quest to find great and overwhelming thankfulness. I’m convicted to my core that it comes from a true understanding of who God is and what he’s done for us. And if you think that grabbing a hold of a thankful spirit doesn’t require training, then you might not understand what it truly is. Trust me when I say there are times that I’m completely exhausted from the fight. But it’s worth it. When the clouds break, and you can feel thankfulness dispelling the darkness, hope can fill your heart despite your circumstances.
I don’t know about you, but I want a bounce in my step when I’m in my 80’s! I want better relationships, a better marriage, a heart that is bursting to say thank you. I want to push through life’s trials and be found on the other side holding onto thankfulness. I invite you start your own journey of thankfulness. If you don’t know who God is, and what he’s done for you, ask Laci or feel free to ask for her for my e-mail. Either of us would be grateful to share with you what that has meant in our lives.
Colossians 2:6- 7 “6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”