It began with food, hence, 'Thunch'.
Personally, I find this is always a great way to start church.
After a short message, our pastor gave an open invitation for anyone to share something they were thankful for this year. As congregants stood up to share personal stories of God's faithfulness during the year, I felt the tug inside.
The problem was that by the first testimony, I was already holding back tears, and it didn't help that two of the following testimonies started with tears.
I can cry at the simplest of heart warming stories, so considering this was a major PMS day for me, it was no doubt in my mind that if I had raised my hand for the microphone I would have instantly began to stutter and blubber as I gagged on the massive frog in my throat.
It's so much easier for me to write my emotions. Some people are excellent orators. They can say absolutely nothing, but the simple delivery of their words mesmerizes (hello, politicians?). For me, I have found writing to be the best way to convey my true emotion. If I try to speak without a script, it comes out sounding extremely uneducated, and that isn't even counting the massive number of and's and um's.
That said I have so much to be thankful for, always, but especially this past year.
If you follow my blog, you know I lost my job in June due to my school closing. Initially, I felt little worry over this. I knew God had it under control. I did my part in searching for jobs, and busied myself in the meantime with my blog, other writing projects, exercising, music, and cooking. After two seemingly sure things passed me by, I started to feel the tug of worry within. I had two and a half months of unemployment left. What would I do when it ran out?
Just as my worries began they were squashed when one of my sure things came through and I was offered a job position.
A second thing I have to be thankful for, which certainly would have set me a wreck with tears had I tried to speak it, is restored relationships. A year ago, my younger brother, Joel, and I were barely speaking to one another. Our relationship had spiraled from one of best friends who hung out practically every other day into awkward acquaintances who suffered through spending two hours together at monthly family functions. Today, he and his wife sat with Hubby and me at our church. At this same 'Thunch' service a year ago, I would have said it was impossible for our relationship to find healing. But God crafted our broken pieces into a bond more sincere, more loving, and more worthwhile than even a fraction of what we had before.
Sometimes I know I have faith like the centurion in Matthew 8: 5-13. He asks Jesus to heal his servant and when Jesus asks if he would like him to come to heal him the centurion's response is, "...just say the word, and my servant will be healed".
This story is one of my favorites in the entire Bible because I read it and have instant respect for this man. So many people today want you to prove yourself, they want you to stand on your head to show your ability, to show your worth. Yet, this man knew for certain that Jesus was who he said he was. He didn't waste his time forcing him to put on a show to impress his friends and family, he faithfully asked that Jesus would do what only he could do.
I know what Jesus has the power to do and that I need only to believe he will do it for it to be done. But just as strong as my faith can be at times, I know lurking behind, hidden in the shadows, is unbelief that the father of the demon possessed boy in Mark 9 unabashedly admits to have. Jesus tells him, "...all things are possible to him who believes," and the man answers, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief."
Again, another favorite passage of mine, because how can you fault this man for his honesty? Haven't we all been in his shoes at one point or another? We want to stand strong in our faith, but that unbelief creeps in and, just like this father, we suddenly need to seek God's help in battling not only the problem we currently face, but also, our unbelief.
Most often it isn't that we haven't taken all the proper steps towards what we want or need. We apply for the jobs. We try to say 'I'm sorry' in the most sincere way possible. But as soon as we've done our part, we expect God to instantly move. We forget that even when we are waiting, God has everything under control and is simply hoping that we, like the centurion, will look to him and say, "No need to come home with me God, no need to show yourself with a display of fireworks and fanfare--just say the word and I know Your Will will be done in my life."
God orchestrated what job I would eventually find and the timing in which I would find it. God moved in my brother's heart and mine to prepare us, in his timing, for our reconciliation.
He did the hardest part! I needed to only believe.
In all things give thanks. Give thanks for the things He has done, but also, give thanks for the things that you are believing He will do--because He will certainly do them.