Monday, June 24, 2013

A sacrifice of thanksgiving



I read not too long ago that sometimes when you’re living it, you just can’t write about it.  


Writing is my life. It’s not part of my life. Or just what I do for a career. It’s who I am. I am not drawn to television or organizing or shopping in my free time. I am a reader and a writer. God created me to write. And I read like crazy because I love to hear what others are writing and I want to be inspired by them. When I don’t write on paper or the computer, I write in my head. Or on my phone when I’m on the bus :)

Sometimes when life happens, writing helps me process. Other times, it’s too painful or personal or draining to try and put my experience into words. And that’s when days upon days go by with no blog updates. Because I’m too busy living it.


I think that’s where I’m at right now. Getting my thoughts and emotions onto paper (or the computer screen), seems like more than I am capable of doing. I start blog posts but I don’t finish them. I write them in my head, but they don’t make it beyond that. I think often of what I want to write about…but it ends there.


There are seasons when God calls a writer to write. And other seasons when He calls us (or forces us) to silence. Sometimes it’s like a well that has run dry…you know the water is underground somewhere, but you can’t get to it. I know the words are there…waiting to break forth, but I can’t dig them out most days.


Currently my world is filled with a broken collarbone, surgery, hospital visits, infection, and storms that lead to water-soaked basements. I am not complaining. I know many whose lives are full with their own hard stuff and I know I am not alone. I am just stating that this is my world right now and it’s hard to write about it while I’m living it.

Are you familiar with the Jesus Calling devotional? You can get it as a book or an app on your phone. It is filled with inspired words written by the author as if Jesus were speaking to the recipient. These daily devotionals speak to me personally and profoundly so very often.

I woke up Saturday to no power and no water (except in my basement where it was not wanted). Here were the Jesus Calling words for the day:

Thank Me for the very things that are troubling you. You are on the brink of rebellion, precariously close to shaking your fist in My Face. You are tempted to indulge in just a little complaining about My treatment of you. But once you step over that line, torrents of rage and self-pity can sweep you away. The best protection against this indulgence is thanksgiving. It is impossible to thank Me and curse Me at the same time.

Thanking Me for trials will feel awkward and contrived at first. But if you persist, your thankful words, prayed in faith, will eventually make a difference in your heart. Thankfulness awakens you to My Presence, which overshadows all your problems.



I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.
—Psalm 116:17 nkjv


Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
—Philippians 4:4–6



Jesus: Thank Me for the very things that are troubling you.
Me: Are you kidding me? Dad’s surgery and recovery, Ryan’s broken collarbone and impending medical bills, a broken dishwasher and a wet basement? And that’s just the past month!

Jesus: You are on the brink of rebellion, precariously close to shaking your fist in My Face.
Me: Yes, I most definitely am.  

Jesus: You are tempted to indulge in just a little complaining about My treatment of you.
Me: I’ve given into temptation and am partaking in complaining daily. Hourly. If not verbally, for sure mentally.



Jesus: But once you step over that line, torrents of rage and self-pity can sweep you away.
Me: Pretty sure I bought a one-way ticket to self-pity this past weekend.

Jesus: The best protection against this indulgence is thanksgiving. It is impossible to thank Me and curse Me at the same time.
Me: Thanksgiving? It’s so hard to imagine that right now. What does that even look like? I don’t know how to thank you for these things and I don’t want to curse you…so instead I just say nothing at all.

Jesus: Thanking Me for trials will feel awkward and contrived at first. But if you persist, your thankful words, prayed in faith, will eventually make a difference in your heart.
Me: My flesh doesn’t want to thank you. But the Psalmist reminds me that it’s a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Praise and thanksgiving isn’t expected to be easy in these days. Lord only you can grant me the strength and grace to offer up a sacrifice of thanksgiving that comes from a pure heart. Teach me how to pray in faith words of thanksgiving. If not thanking you for my trials, then thanking you simply for who you are in the midst of them.

Jesus: Thankfulness awakens you to My Presence, which overshadows all your problems.
Me: Awaken me God. Awaken my heart. Overshadow my earthly problems with your grace and love and beauty and your promises of provision for the day. Let me not wait until the trials pass, but enable me to offer up a sacrifice of thanksgiving today.


So here I am friends. I’m living it right now. Just like many of you are. My situation is not unique. I am not alone. Some of you read this bone tired. Some of you read this heart broken. Some of you read this deeply concerned for a friend or family member. Some of you read this while living it out yourself (whatever your ‘it’ is). Maybe you can’t write about it or talk about it either. But together we can pray that God might supernaturally enable us to offer up a sacrifice of thanksgiving in the midst of it all. And one day we’ll look back at this season and see how God replaced our rebellion and complaining and self-pity and fist-shaking with thankfulness. And our heart will be so overwhelmed with it all, that we won’t be able to stop writing (or telling) our story.