Gratitude

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“Oh, the differences that often are between
Everything we want and what we really need……..

We’ll give thanks to You with gratitude
For lessons learned in how to trust in You
That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need.”
Gratitude, Nicole Nordeman

As we drove to church this past Sunday morning we listened to this song and were talking about the truth that is shared in the lyrics. It really hit home as we applied it to the past couple of days where there was some financial stress and strain. We talked through how we both see the Lord continuing to teach us greater trust in Him and His provision (in HIS way and time), and to grow deeper in our gratitude of recognizing and giving thanks for all He has done.

It’s always timely how the Lord works, for as we pulled into our church parking lot our car began to smoke. That’s always a comforting sight. We parked and Jas hopped out and opened the hood, to be greeted by a large cloud of smoke. I ran AK inside to the children’s area of church and hurried back out to help Jas figure out what was wrong. A friend had arrived at church a moment after we did and he was at the car helping Jas tinker around and try to discover the source of the problem. Discovery: a cracked radiator. Solution: they poured some water in, shut the hood, and we would figure out the rest after church.

We walked into church right as our pastor began his sermon. My mind was not there, I was so distracted by worried thoughts. I sat there, teary-eyed, battling, wondering why we had to have yet another car issue that was going to cost a lot of money. As I leaned over on Jas’ shoulder he whispered, “All I can think about right now is that song.” When he said that the lyrics immediately came to my mind — “We’ll give thanks to You with gratitude for lessons learned in how to trust in You….” Oh, what a reminder. It was what I was facing in a mental battle at that very moment. I could choose to remain sitting there, discouraged, worried about money, distracted. Or I could choose to give thanks to the Lord for the COUNTLESS ways He has blessed us, think back on every day that He has provided for us, and choose to trust in Him, resting in His sovereignty and good work in our lives.

What a gift it was to be in church as I was facing this battle in my mind. As communion was served and the music began to play again, I prayed, thanking the Lord for this situation and how He was already using it in our lives, choosing to trust His provision, and asking Him to help me to have joy in these moments. Not a minute after the band began to play “All I have is Christ” which has become one of my favorite songs — “Hallelujah, all I have is Christ. Hallelujah, Jesus is my life.” My eyes filled with tears again, only this time it was because I was overwhelmed by the kindness of the Lord. He is so good.

There were moments throughout the rest of the day where I was tempted to walk down that path of discouragement. The Lord was gracious to help me turn the other way, choosing joy, giving gratitude for all the ways He provided for us that day — listening to that song on the way to church that morning, having the conversation that we did, the friend who helped Jas diagnose the car, another friend who lent us her van to take our car to the shop and get home after church, a new battery for our other car, sweet friends who picked us up for an ice cream social at church that evening and brought us home afterwards, friends coming over to visit that day, encouragement, prayers — His provision was great.

As I’ve thought over this day I know it will be a day I always remember. I just see the sovereign hand of the Lord so clearly in it. I’m grateful that we listened to that song on the way to church that morning and had the conversation that we did. The Lord was preparing us for our day ahead and I am so grateful for the work He did in us.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”” Lamentations 3:21-24

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