Thanksgiving has come and gone here. It’s a busy time and this year I did the cooking. Cooking is my thing anyway, so it doesn’t bother me. Everyone was together and it’s what I expect each year. It’s a little chaotic for me and I ponder that there’s no way to heap a year of thankfulness into one day and the oft heard “we should be thankful every day of the year”. It’s almost too busy of a day to spend a lot of time on Thankfulness. So the weekend after, my husband and I had time to finally recap many things in life. We are of course grateful for our family and truthfully can’t wait till everyone’s grown to enjoy the fullness of it. We looked over the last many years and were easily reminded of God’s faithfulness over the years where Dale worked in another state and I managed alone here. Then after we moved with him, his job changed back to our old home state and I was left there to finish that house before we could all come home. It was only the faithfulness of a good God that got us through. I recalled how lonely and hard those days were.
A very specific low during those years came to mind as we were reminiscing. It was a blistering hot day. A clog in a pipe somewhere out in the yard was causing a backup in our kitchen sink. That clog seemed to be under thousands of pounds of water right under our pool. It meant changing the plumbing under our sink and rerouting things a bit. The house was old and things weren’t done right in first place. The pipes between the main floor and the basement and the weird “second floor” of the main floor seemed to be a problem. But it was old lead pipe and I couldn’t get it apart. I had replaced everything but that little section. I was exhausted, nursing little twins, caring for the youngest seven by myself with my husband 14 hours away. I walked away exhausted and went to the front porch where I sat down and just cried. It was a full blown “Come apart” as my neighbor who saw me called it. After a good cry and telling the Lord I couldn’t do it, resolve finally kicked in and I went down and beat the pipe to death until it gave way. It was a traumatic time. But…during that time God provided an opportunity to lead a small group that affected people for eternity sake. Our MI kids came down and had a very productive mission trip. I got to teach a lesson I had been preparing for months on a subject that I didn’t know I would be offered to teach on. In that time of struggle, God was at work!
This recollection reminded me that when we are thankful, we often list the good things we really are grateful for. But we shouldn’t forget to thank him for the struggles. That is when opportunity to accomplish is the greatest! I may never look back on our years apart as glorious. It just wasn’t. But I can look back on it with Thanksgiving. In the struggle, I found out how strong we are when we rely on Him. In the struggle, I saw Him work wonders! In the struggle, we couldn’t rely on each other, we had to rely solely on God and the way He was equipping is. In the struggle, I learned I was capable of much more than I thought. In the struggle, I learned to produce what my husband could not while he was away, lessening the burden on him. In the struggle, we could only trust Him! In the struggle, I believe God was glorified. I AM THANKFUL FOR THE STRUGGLE. That’s what I am most thankful for this year. Be thankful for the struggle. Dig in, work hard, pray always, do your part. Be thankful for the opportunity to struggle, and point to Him in the process. God is good!
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
James 1:2-4 NIV