It's Fall. In fact, it's SO Fall like that it's beginning to tip toe into Winter territory. I don't love Winter because I typically run cold....however, a few years ago I discovered space heaters. And out of my heart blossomed a tolerance for Winter that has blessed me and others, who now have to feign less compassion for my liturgy of complaint.
This is also the time of year I steep in deep pockets of memory. Four years ago at this time, I was deep in depression and feeling spent and out of control. And God met me there. Nothing changed in circumstance but His presence burrowed deep into my marrow. I haven't forgotten those days and I love to remember them.
I've began again one of my favorite books. One Thousand Gifts. Pondering gratitude and joy. Asking how Jesus can stitch thanksgiving into my being. I keep being pressed by the same verse inescapably.
Do not be anxious about anything, but by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God.
Thanksgiving precedes the request and the answer. When we live under the banner of heavy gratitude, the kind with the audacity that thanks Jesus for His death, we are acquiescing. We say that we know He will just show up, and it will be enough. True thanksgiving is capable to withstand cancer, infertility, financial crisis, not by making it easier but by promising His presence. And in the abiding relationship that comes from just knowing God to be God, we can acquiesce. Knowing full well that pain will be pain, but that just as Jesus talked to His Father while sitting on the cross, He will hear us too and draw near.
And in the dear times, when we celebrate well, when we sing a merry tune and revel, holding tight the moments which carry the sweet aroma of things being most well, we know Him to be present too. And isn't that the fundamental difference? We choose to see God in joy as opposed to seeing joy from God. His capability to transform all things to being good and helpful far exceeds our barometer for happiness. It is there that our perception for thanksgiving that we can foster space for it to break our gauge.
In these days of remembering the despair of loneliness of my 20th Christmas, I am incapable of severing that from remembering the hope He gave through being there. It changed everything. It gave me the ability to acquiesce the responsibility to fix and resolve to His shoulders and to just be present in my hurt so I could truly heal.
As we are about to step into Advent, I am looking forward to this time to think with weighty expectation and joy of the weeks that lead us to the night of our dear Saviors birth.