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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thankfulness


Well, I am back, after a much needed rest and reflection and it has been very good for me. Sometimes we all need to step back and reflect on our lives and see how they measure up by God's standards. It is so easy to get caught up in our own standards...feeling like a failure if we aren't keeping up with the great list of things that we find important, rather than really reflecting on whether God finds our activities of eternal value. I have spent much time thinking about those very things, and it has given me a different view of many things I once held up as dear to me. God is pressing on my heart more and more the need for thankfulness. It is easy to thank God when everything seems to be sailing along smoothly, but another thing altogether to develop a thankful heart in the midst of trials and sorrow. God used my oldest daughter Joy to convict me of this very thing one day. She asked me, "Mom, do you ever thank God for this deployment?" Wow, that made my mind start spinning! Thank God for being separated from my husband? The children their father? Thank God for going all this time alone? No, I hadn't ever thanked God for this deployment. I have not been bitter toward God because of the deployment. I have faithfully prayed for my husband's safety, our protection, his ministry and a myriad of other things, but never had I thanked God for this deployment. To me...it would be like thanking God for a tsumani! But what does God say?

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!" Phil. 4:4
"giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" Eph. 5:20
"give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God is Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thess. 5:18
Not anywhere in those scriptures do I see where God only tells me to be thankful for things I personally like. But isn't this what loving a great God is all about...trusting Him and thanking Him even when you don't understand, or don't feel like it, or struggle with it all? To love God means I should trust He has my best in mind. That best will not always be what I think is best. I am reminded of a line in a song that says, "When you can't see His hand trust His heart." So yes, I can now say that I have thanked God for this deployment. I still don't like it. I still want my husband home. I am still very lonely. I still cry. But, I am resting in the fact that a great God is watching out for me and He will accomplish His good purposes even in the midst of my pain. I am learning to be thankful.

The pictures today are of the wall in our hall near the bedrooms. This is our thankful tree. I got out some paper bags and made a tree trunk and some branches. I made a template for the leaves and all of us were able to pick one color for the leaves that we will use over and over again from construction paper. That way, at a glance, I can see what each of my children were thankful for. We started eight days before Thanksgiving, putting up a leaf everyday...one thing we are thankful to God for. But, it has been so wonderful, we are going to add another leaf every week until Daddy gets home and he can see it. It reminds us of God's goodness! And by the way, today is December 1st! Do you all know what that means? My dear husband comes home, Lord willing next month for a visit. We are looking forward to 15 glorious days with him! By the time he gets home, it will have been nine months since we have seen him. We are quickly approaching the 100 days until he gets home. The paper chain above our thankful tree is for the last 100 days. We will clip off one chain for everyday and when he gets home...we will throw it up in the air like graffiti!!! What a glorious homecoming that will be! Until next time, it is my prayer that you have a great day...thanking Jesus for all your blessings!

6 comments:

Gail Heaton said...

Children are such a blessing in our lives! they seem to know how to cut right through all the religion and get to the heart of the matter.
What a wonderful and sweet and gentle (but powerful) reminder to be thankful in all things!

His bondservant said...

You are so right Gail! God continues to show me ways my children are a blessing...and He faithfully uses them to sharpen me in my walk with Him. Thank you for your encouragment.

Jackie

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Love your thankful tree. I also came the place of being thankful for my husband's deployment. It was about the same amount of time during the deployment that you are at now. As a result of the deployment, I was able to help lead one wife of a deployed soldier in my husband's unit to the Lord. As a result, the husband has since been saved and now they are raising their girls in a Christian home. Both my hubby and I feel like it was worth all the sorrow and pain to see that family in heaven. I pray God will put another family in my path for the next deployment! So excited your hubby will be coming home for his 15 days. I know the holidays are so hard without our loved ones, but just keep remembering the reason for the season, and God will get you through.

Love,
Jackie

His bondservant said...

Thanks Jackie for the encouragement. How wonderful to share in seeing someone come to the Lord...what a thing to be thankful for! Yes, the holidays are especially hard without those we love around us. But, it also makes me appreciate my husband and loved ones that much more since I have gone through this type of separation. The little things that might normally irritate become so insignificant and all the trappings of the materialism of the season melt away. I pray you are yours have a wonderful season!

God bless,
Jackie

Lois said...

Welcome back, and thanks for sharing your thankfulness tree. My friend does that with her family, too. It's a great idea.

Do you know the name of that song you quoted: When you can't see His hand, trust His heart. I've heard it on the radio once in awhile, but they never say what it is!

His bondservant said...

Thank you Lois. I'm glad to be back. Yes, the name of the song is "Trust His Heart." And although I really like that line, the rest of the words are wonderful too!

In Him,
Jackie