What a difference a week makes. But no matter what chaos and change is happening in our lives, we must still give thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
As I reflect over the last seven days, these are things I am grateful for:
1. Our pastor gave us the last 4.5 years of his life as a faithful shepherd. His big heart and deep love for people were evident as he taught and ministered to us. It is sad news for his wife, adult daughters, son-in-law, and parents that he is no longer here to love and care for us, but joyful news for him that he is in heaven with Jesus. So we rejoice with him and pray for his family and the many people who cared so deeply for him, including ourselves.
2. My son. Although he has decided to drop out of his college program already and it was a place that I thought would be good for him, I appreciate the courage it took to examine himself and realize what's best for him at this time. Also to be able to address some long-standing issues that we weren't necessarily aware of. I'm thankful for the time and space that he is taking to think things through and for his determination to surround himself with positive people.
3. My daughter. She seems to be in a good place right now and has positive supports. She is working toward the achievement of good goals and is growing as a person.
4. My husband. We celebrate 23 years of marriage this Sunday. We've had our ups and downs, but we still love and support each other, laugh together, etc. We're still learning and growing and desiring to better ourselves.
5. My mom. She loves me and my family and does her best to help us in any way she can. I'm thankful God has given her many years and I pray the years to come are her best yet.
6. Prayer. It's such a gift to be able to commune with God and to share everything that's on my heart as well as to praise and thank Him for who He is. I'm thankful for prayer meetings and life group, for every opportunity to gather in prayer - where two or three are gathered, He is in our midst (Matthew 18:20).
7. Old friends. This week I had lunch with someone I went to school with from kindergarten through high school. We also went to the same university, but he was in sciences and I was not. He lives and teaches in the U.S. now, but it's always a treat to see him and catch up. I'm thankful that he's a Christian too and we can converse about matters of faith.
8. Newer friends. Thankful for Facebook and in-person friends who understand some of the things we are going through and are in prayer concerning them.
If you are a praying person, please pray for our pastor's family, co-workers and close friends who are grieving his loss. Also for us and our church as we mourn. Our pastor had a significant impact on so many people and though we trust that God knows what He's doing, this is a difficult time.
You are loved!