I woke up this morning at 5:45am and could not go back to sleep. I took that to mean the Lord wanted to spend time with me extra early today. As I read and worked on a study I'm going through, I ended by praying thanksgiving to the Lord for His many blessings. When I paused to just sit, the Holy Spirit whispered to me "What about the hard things? Are you thankful for those?"
Wow, in all my 31 years on this earth, how many times have I thanked the Lord for the times that I did not enjoy, the times I hurt, the times I normally try and forget? I don't know if I truly have.
I sat and reflected. In my life I have buried my best friend and cousin, I have been deeply wounded by an evil act of Satan that made me want to lose my trust in the good that should reside in humanity, I have almost died in two different car accidents, and I have been told that I could never bear children. I have seen friends suffer, I have suffered, and I yet here I am. Still standing, still alive. But when I thank God, I thank Him for the "blessings He has given me."
Shouldn't blessings also be the fact that He brought me through those things as only He could? That he saved my life? Was infertility a blessing? Was losing a loved one a blessing?
We live in a broken world, but the Lord is still in control. He was the one that brought me through my grief. He was the one that sent angels to surround me when I should have died wrapped around a tree. He was the one that blessed me with two amazing sons because I couldn't have any in my womb.
Often I forget to thank Him for carrying me through the hard times, but more than that I forget to thank Him for sitting with me during those times. My faith was strengthened enormously then, my walk and heart forever changed. Had I not gone through the pain, I would not have seen the true identity of my Heavenly Father. His face was made known to me in those moments.
So today I sit in a state of thanksgiving for going through the fire, sitting in the den of lions, in the body of a whale and living to tell the testimony of His grace, His strength, His love. Forever I am changed by those experiences...for the better. And I would walk through them all again because He was always beside me and that was and is all I will ever need.
So what are you thankful for today?