Ephesians 5:20 says "give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (ESV)
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (ESV).
"Saying thank you to God in the midst of our circumstances is definitely different than saying thank you for them. And yet, scripture tells us to do both"
This is a quote from Angie Smith (an amazing woman of Christ, with a beautiful story, and a strong Love for the Lord).
All day I have been thinking of things I am Thankful for and praising God for these things. I am sure many of you have done the same. My list was quite long and it was quite fun to come up with even more. However, not until this evening (wed night) did I realize that Thanksgiving was also the one year anniversary of the death of our baby. 11/27 Who I have called Grace. I have been dreading this day for awhile and sick to my stomach as it has hung over me like a black cloud. I was hoping it would pass and I would forget, but God had another plan.
I again avoided these thoughts for a few more hours until I was heading to bed. I grabbed my bible, a poem I have been writing, and Richard's computer. I dropped my bible and the pile of papers inside fell out and I shoved them back in randomly to get to the bedroom. And then I saw my hope chest in our bedroom. I wouldn't be able to give you a full inventory of its contents, but I do know a few special things that are kept safe inside.
The memories of these things flooded me and filled me with pain and sadness. As I allowed myself to return to these places in my mind, the Lord filled me with peace and wrapped His arms around me. I opened it up and found what I was looking for. A sleeper and two blankets I had bought for our sweet baby when I was still pregnant last year and hopefull for a daughter. (Just so you know we did not find out the sex of our boys until they were born so I purchased one boy and girl sleeper and blanket to get them home from the hospital in). And a onesie from the Children's Hospital of Iowa that was a gift from Richard and the boys for mother's day last year in memory of our baby.
How do I say thank you for this? How can this be added to my list Lord?
Next I climbed onto the bed and pulled out my bible to search for a specific verse. As I did these things I prayed for the Lord to speak to me, and quieted my soul so I would hear Him. I am not sure if He was afraid of my short attention span, or what, but the papers that were randomly shoved into my bible pointed me to a few verses on trusting the Lord that I had underlined.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" -Proverbs 3:5 jumped out at me as I pulled one piece of paper out. Immediately tears began to flow and I began to realize how I am Thankful for losing Grace. My relationship with Christ has strengthened tenfold, I have a new perspective on life and find myself praising the Lord for the good and bad days, I have been able to cultivate relationships with other women because of our common bond in losing a child, and I can see now (a year later) all the other wonderful things that God has done as a result of this loss.
I have been able to Trust His plan (most of the time) and if you read my blog you know this is my biggest struggle. It has been a long year and I have walked through some dark days, weeks, months and somehow come out at His feet thankful. Thankful for all the wonderful friends and family who have lent their shoulder for me to cry on, ear to talk off, and comforted me. Thankful for my husband who has been there every step of the way holding me up too. Thankful for my two beautiful boys who the Lord has already given me and for their continual reminder of God's love.
During this intimate soul searching (which I am sharing with you all in hopes to bring God glory) I was brought to Angie's blog, where the Lord brought me when I was coming out of my darkest time last year, and read her challenge. I can't give her words justice so you will just have to go and read it for yourself to fully grasp the wonder I am feeling as I frantically type at 230am.
She has challenged her fellow readers to write down something you are thankful for. The catch being, something you don't feel thankful for, like losing a baby.
It is not easy, but the freedom is amazing. I am also humbled by a Savior who is Soverign and has a plan for me.
These words came to me on nights when I could not sleep and prayed for peace and comfort. I prayed for something tangible since we have no footprints, baby bands, pictures, etc. One year later, because I trusted the Lord, He has given me this...
I'll never kiss your baby cheeks
or smell your soft, clean hair
I'll never walk right by your room
and see you playing there
I'll never feed you late at night
and watch you as you eat
I'll never sing you lullabies
to help you fall asleep
I'll never get to watch you grow
and teach you along the way
About a man named Jesus
who died and washed your sins away
I'll never kiss your scraped up knee
after a super-man attempt
I'll never get to hold you tight
just because I can
I'll never do these things with you
but that's okay because
I know you're in the arms of Christ
and surrounded by His love
I'll always have my dreams of you
and await that wondrous day
When I get to hold you in my arms
and thank the One who kept you safe
and helped me find the way
The way to the cross
The way to say Thanks
for taking Grace.