The thanksgiving holiday is about giving thanks, hence the catchy name. It is a time allotted for us to reflect on what for most of us is a wonderful life. I know, that's a Christmas movie, but it is still true nonetheless. I preached on Sunday about getting too close to the mirror to see what God sees in us. If we become too self-consumed, we can lose sight of the potential God knows is in us. It is all too easy for us to dwell on imperfections and limiting factors in our lives and not see the blessings.
I shared recently that I will have to have another ankle surgery in the next few weeks. I was not happy about that news. To be perfectly frank, I was depressed at the prognosis of surgery, recovery, crutches, no weight-bearing, and physical therapy. Others have helped me see the good in my situation. For example: I have surgeons available who can DO the surgery; removing the hardware from my leg will alleviate a great deal of my pain; I will regain the range of motion I am missing; I have a loving family and church around me to care for me; and I have a God who will be with me through the entire process. Giving thanks is such a liberating endeavor.
I wonder what part of your life seems bleak right now. Is it as bad as you are making it out to be? All of those difficult situations can improve drastically if we remember how fortunate we are. I don't mean compared to just our neighbors in our community or state; I am talking about compared with the majority of the world.
You may be facing something right now that seems daunting, or you may have a challenge in your near future. It is a reflex response to give the adversity the power, but we are never powerless because our God is always full of the power we need. Find comfort in God this week, and may we all see how blessed we are and that God's strength is always enough.
Blessings to you,
Before that was written, and before that doctors appointment, I submitted the following devotion for the church Advent devotional book.
"Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted his people." (Isaiah 52:9)
I have learned something about the Lord’s comfort this year. When I first answered my phone just before 8 o’clock on the morning of July 17, I heard a stranger’s voice. He told me he was with my husband. And I knew. Something bad had happened. Thankfully, Joe came on the line and I heard his voice. He had been hit by a car. I knew he was out on his bike, and that this was always a possibility. When I heard his voice, I knew the situation could be really bad, perhaps paralysis, but I knew he was alive.
In the uncertainty and quite scary circumstances as the next couple of hours unfolded, I turned to God. As I drove to MCG Trauma in Augusta, I prayed. I made a few phone calls, and I prayed. I asked for God to be with Joe, and then to be with me. I asked for His peace and His comfort. I never panicked. I was comforted. The whole time in the hospital and in those first few weeks at home, I was comforted. I knew God was with us, and that knowing provided more comfort and peace than I can express.
How do we burst into songs of joy when suffering or going through trials? I can tell you, with Joe, that there has been a lot of suffering. But for the most part, we have rejoiced. We are so thankful that he is alive and recovering so well.
I am married to a man who loves triathlon, who’s raced competitively for 20 years. There’s no changing who he is, so there will be more runs, more bike rides. And I can tell you now, I will be nervous for a while. I might require he ride with a group. I might follow along in the car. And I very well might buy him a DOT neon vest as I’ve threatened. But more than anything else, I’ll pray – for his safety, and for God’s comfort and His peace that surpasses all comprehension.
Dear God, thank you for comforting us. We know that we will have trouble in this world. Remind us that you are always near. Let us praise your name and burst into songs of joy for your abundant blessings. Amen.
Of course, I did not know when I wrote that that Joe would need surgery again. But it doesn't change anything. I still have felt God's comfort throughout this time. And I know that as long as we focus our thoughts on Him and ask for it, we will continue to receive His comfort.
Please keep Joe in your prayers. This has been another set-back for him, and as ambitious and goal-oriented as he is, it has been quite an adjustment. We are optimistic that this surgery will be the answer and he can get back to doing what he loves. He has his pre-op appointment this morning (right now) at MCG in Augusta. We will find out a date for surgery soon. Thank you for the check-ins and words of encouragement. They truly are a blessing to us.
UPDATE: Pre-op appointment went well today. Surgery is scheduled for Monday at 8:30!