Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:7
Marlene was a woman unlike any that I’ve ever known. The first time I met her, it was as though the sun was shining out of every cell in her body. She greeted me with a huge smile, a warm hug, and offered me a cup of tea. I instantly felt as though I could lay down the heavy burdens that I had been carrying for a brief moment and give Marlene my full attention.
As we began to talk, Marlene shared a story from her past. It was a story that most of us have lived, or could at least relate to. There was brokenness, devastation, heartache, and loss. Before I knew what was happening, tears were streaming down my face. Marlene said to me, “Don’t cry child, the story didn’t end when I lost everything. That’s when it began.”
When she said this, I found myself sitting up straighter, leaning in, and hanging on her every word. The story that followed the loss, devastation, and heartbreak was one of redemption, restoration, healing, and thankfulness.
Marlene told a story of growing up in a single mother home in the ghetto of Germany. She was eventually adopted by her stepdad who rescued her from a horrible situation and moved her to a new life in America. She grew up, met the love of her life, and spent the remainder of her time on earth dedicated to impacting not only her child, but a child that she adopted, and another from a family friend. She took these children in and became a safe place for them to go. She taught them love, grace, humility, and kindness all while suffering through her own pain. Toward the end, her body was riddled with cancer, but her light kept shining bright, drawing people near to learn about living a life of thankfulness through difficult times.
For weeks after meeting Marlene, the thought of thankfulness consumed me. A women who had lost everything time and time again radiated thankfulness so strongly, that everyone she came in contact with walked away changed. Every single one of us encounters brokenness, loss, and heartache throughout our life, but when we can come out on the other side of that and embrace the redemption and healing that can come out of those dark places, we find ourselves in complete surrender to our Heavenly Father. This is the place that thankfulness is born.
When we walk through the deepest valleys in our lives, and are able to climb, crawl, and claw our way to the top of a mountain of redemption singing a song of praise and thankfulness the entire way, people see that. They see it, they remember it, and they cling to it. When I met Marlene that day, I was in the midst of one of the darkest seasons of my life, but her hope, courage and thankfulness that she radiated was the exact thing that I needed to cling to during that time. Looking back now, I know that it wasn’t the sun shining out of every cell of her body that illuminated her, it was her love for Jesus, her thankfulness for where she had been, what she had lived through, and what Jesus had overcome for her that completely changed everything. That completely changed me.
1. Look around you, are you truly thankful in your current circumstances?
2. What are the things that are holding you back from living a life that exudes thankfulness?
3. Pray today that God would fill you with thankfulness for your current circumstances. Pray that he would give you the ability to see around the difficult situations that arise in your life and that people would be changed because of the thankfulness that overflows from your soul in all situations. Pray that you would be able to recognize God’s sovereign plan in the things that you are experiencing and that you will be able to rest knowing that he is in control of every situation.
About the Author: Amanda is an adventurous spirit who loves people well. She is passionate about helping women step into the calling and purpose for which God has created them. She believes that growth always follow our struggles and that there isn’t much that can’t be fixed by a long nap and a strong cup of coffee. Follow her adventures at livescattered.blogspot.com