A Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

Many of us will celebrate Thanksgiving Day this week. It’s a bittersweet day for some of us because of losses and brokenness.

I read a post last week by Molly Huggins, and it deeply touched me. I can’t ignore the God-nudge to share it with you. May it help us remember God’s mercy and grace stands sure, no matter how broken our families, this world, or our own hearts are.

A Thanksgiving Hallelujah

I hope you will take time to read Molly’s post. Here are three quotes that especially speak to me. What speaks to your heart?

“A sacrifice of thanksgiving means grieving what could have been while remaining grateful for what is.”
“His covenant of mercy and grace is as sure as the covenant of day. He is faithful in our loss. He is faithful in our fear. He is faithful in our grief.”
“And on this Thanksgiving Day, and all the others before and after, I will sing a sacrifice of praise and thanks, a bittersweet response to the mercy we’ve been shown. A grief-tinged, grace-laced hallelujah chorus of my own.”

May we join her hallelujah, my friends, not only this Thanksgiving Day (here in the USA), but each and every day.

“Yet I call this to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for His mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness!
I say: The Lord is my portion,
therefore I will put my hope in Him”.
Lamentations 3:21-24

“Our Lord and God,
You are worthy to receive
glory and honor and power,
because You have created all things,
and because of Your will
they exist and were created.”
Revelation 4:11

“Broken Hallelujah”
by Mandisa

“With my love and my sadness
I come before You Lord
My heart’s in a thousand pieces
Maybe even more
Yet I trust in this moment You’re with me somehow
And You’ve always been faithful so Lord even now

When all that I can sing is a broken Hallelujah
When my only offering is shattered praise
Still a song of adoration will rise up from these ruins
And I will worship You and give You thanks
Even when my only praise is a broken Hallelujah…”

Precious Lord, Take My Hand

Do you have a song that often springs up in your thoughts when you feel weary and overwhelmed? One that identifies with the deepest longings of your heart? One that helps you to keep taking the next step forward?

Have you ever heard of the hymn “Precious Lord, Take My Hand?” It was written in 1932 by a man who lost his wife during childbirth. Their child, who seemed fine, died a couple of days later. In the throes of grief and despondency, Thomas Dorsey one day sat down at the piano and began to sing this song that we can identify with and be blessed by yet today.

I cannot count the times, whether I’m weary in body, mind, or spirit, when the words of this hymn bubble up in my heart as a desperate plea to God. The weariness isn’t immediately replaced with energy. The troubles overwhelming me don’t go away. There is no instant light in the stormy darkness of my soul. But there is a quiet strength in my spirit that reminds me God is with me. He will help me and get me through whatever is wearying or stressing me and He will keep leading me on to His light. And someday I will forever be home in His Presence.

“Precious Lord, take my hand,
Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn;
Through the storm, through the night,
Lead me on to the light:
Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.”

As frail, broken children, we need God’s constant reassurance that He is leading us by His precious hand further on this journey to hope, healing, and freedom. It is a journey of pain and sadness, but it is also a journey of hope in Jesus. This same Jesus who had the power to rise from the dead has the power to hold us up. He descended into the darkest depths of despair and yet rose out of it. This same Jesus has the power to pull us up out of the pit of despair and despondency. He who has the power to walk on water and calm the raging seas will get us through every storm and night in our lives. Thank You, Jesus!

What song has special meaning to you?
Why? Will you share with us?

 

Grieving and Giving Chronic Illness to God Who Cares

I don’t write about it much, but I’ll admit I do get so weary sometimes of chronic illness… Shortness of breath, persistent coughing, tight and sore bronchial airways, aching in my bones, draining energy, brain fog, and recurrent bronchial infections that flare up my sarcoidosis, a multi-system inflammatory disease primarily affecting the lungs.

Through all losses, we need to go through a grieving process, don’t we? Even when we have health limitations. Sure, it helps to look at others we feel have it so much worse, but I’m learning that only leads us to dismiss or minimize our health issues. Then we start to do more what others expect of us than to care for ourselves. We end up draining ourselves.

We need to allow ourselves to believe we have a problem so we can do what will help, not hinder, our well-being. We need to work through any feelings, like anger or depression, that detriment our health. To mourn the things our hearts long to do, but our bodies don’t agree to. To grieve over the pain of others not understanding us. It’s okay not to feel okay.

God invites us to unburden any and every hurt in our hearts, even when we feel upset at Him for not healing us like we want. He desires for us to allow His grace-filled arms to hold us up, His compassion to console us, and His unconditional love to release the pressure we put on ourselves.

No matter what we suffer from, Jesus empathizes with us and cries with us. He has experienced every kind of suffering imaginable, so He understands. Because He suffered for us, we don’t have to be alone in our suffering.

It can be so hard though, right? It’s a process that recycles over and over again. But God is not going to abandon us, even when it feels like it. His character is the very essence of love and faithfulness. His mercies are new every morning.

“Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for His mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness!”
Lamentations 3:22-23

I have not posted this to gain any pity. I’m just trying to be real. It’s something I really need work on. I usually have this automatic answer when most people ask me how I am – “I’m fine! How are you?” I try to be strong in front of others, and I end up paying for it. I’m not meaning we should wallow in a puddle of self-pity and expect everyone to sit there with us. We can be honest about how we feel but still, through God’s grace, seek the beauty all around us.

I know there are many who compare their suffering with others’ and feel their suffering isn’t worth mentioning and think they should just be thankful for what they have more than others, myself included. I write this with a prayer that even one reader will feel less alone and will realize Jesus deeply cares and understands. He doesn’t measure one suffering to be worse than another. He waits with open arms and ears to hear each of us pour out every pain of our hearts, minds, and bodies.

“Praise You In This Storm”
by Casting Crowns

 May God give you strength and hope for each day!