For the past three years, we’ve done a “Thankful Tree” during the month of November and though I believe it’s been a great way to turn our attention to the abundant blessings in our lives, I also think we’ve been doing the whole “thankfulness thing” kinda wrong. Like…kinda more than kinda-wrong.
Thank you Lord for…
“the nice people God gave us on earth.” -Caden
“our jobs.” -Daddy
“God’s grace.” -Mommy
“not having mean people in our house.” -Caden
“His new, morning mercies.” -Daddy
“Being able to work and be at home with the kiddos.” -Mommy
“Supportive friends,” “a nice car,” “a warm house,” “nice food,” “a faucet with water,” “sunshine and parks,” “electricity so we can see our house,” “learning new things at church,” “our nice back ‘yarden’ to be in,”…etc., etc., etc.
And as Caden would say, these are all perfectly nice “blessin’s,”…truly merciful provisions from the Lord’s kind hand… but after reading Romans 5 this week, I got a little bothered by the other “thankful leaves” that were missing from our tree.
“…but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4
THAT, right there, is where the Buczek’s went wrong.
We had been neglecting to thank God for the hard.
Because it’s not easy sunshine and happy rainbows to thank God for the hard.
Because if we thanked Him for the hard, we’d have to acknowledge (out loud) that the hard is good…that the hard is producing something for our souls, and our hearts, and our lives that the happy and easy can’t produce.
And THAT, my friend, is super-duper hard because our earthly selves don’t like painful suffering and fiery trials. No, we like the good and happy, the easy and light.
In short, we like the sunshine and the rainbows.
So…with coffee cup in hand and a journal in front of me, I grabbed my pen and started a new, more complete journey through the abundant blessings that God has graciously given through the good, the bad, the ugly, and the hard.
Lord, thank you that my job is not easy because then I can’t be tempted to find my joy there.
Lord, thank you that people don’t always like what I say because then it’s not as easy to make their opinions my identity.
Lord, thank you for the moments of doubt because then I have opportunities to trust you.
Lord, thank you for the ‘bad days’ because then I have moments to lean on you.
Lord, thank you for the mistakes I make because then I can’t boast in my strengths.
Lord, thank you that I’m not perfect because then it gives me more opportunities to rely on your sufficiency.
Lord, thank you for arguments with my husband and frustrations with my kids because then I am reminded that they do not complete me.
Lord, thank you for the broken and vulnerable moments because then I have chances to seek godly support and loving accountability.
Lord, thank you for the times when I sin and fall desperately short because then I am reminded of my needy dependence on you and your unfailing, merciful love.
Lord, thank you for loving us enough to give us more than easy sunshine and happy rainbows.