“God, thank you. Please change nothing.”

Standard

Friends. I’m thankful for you. And I always write from my heart. And trust me when I say, the last few weeks, my heart hasn’t had much beautiful to write from.

View More: http://rebeccacerasani.pass.us/rackley

I don’t like change. Just packing for a change of living space for a short vacation gets me into a tizzy. I don’t like change. Goodness knows we’ve seen enough changes in our family – many recently weren’t pretty ones.  And here we are at another holiday season. After a survival-mode one last year. Another Thanksgiving Day when I have to find something to be thankful for in the midst of turmoil.

View More: http://rebeccacerasani.pass.us/rackley

And the thankfulness tree I was planning to do with my kids again this year remains undone in the closet because I just couldn’t manage the energy or time to figure out so many thankful things.

Sure, we’re supposed to be thankful in all things, but does that mean I have to be full of thanks for the kiwi sized brain tumor in my husband’s head? Or what about the injured blood vessel in his cerebellum that caused a stroke 2 days after his super successful surgery that left his entire dominant left side so “weak” (the doctors call it), “paralyzed” (we call it), that he couldn’t swallow, walk, talk, type, or write?

View More: http://rebeccacerasani.pass.us/rackley

“Dear Jesus, Thank you for the stroke. Amen.” is just not something that’s been spoken in this house. That hurts too much. “Thank you for the skilled surgeons.” sure. But not “Thank you for the brain tumor.”

In fact a few weeks ago, when a close friend’s husband was dealing with a possible cancer diagnosis near his lungs said she was thanking God for the cancer, I corrected her. “Don’t thank Him for that cancer!!! Thank Him for what He’s doing because of that cancer maybe, but not the cancer!”

View More: http://rebeccacerasani.pass.us/rackley

Being thankful for such things would be such a death to me. I want to fight to hold on to those things – my husband’s quality of life, his job, my security, our dreams, our plans. Being thankful would be saying “I accept. What God has given us, I accept.”

I don’t.

Or, I didn’t.

View More: http://rebeccacerasani.pass.us/rackley

I used to think (like, yesterday) “In everything, give thanks.” meant being thankful for something in every circumstance. Surely you can always find something good to be thankful for, right? “I’m thankful the tumor wasn’t the size of a cantaloupe.” Or, “I’m thankful the stroke didn’t affect my husband mentally.” But no matter how many ways I look at that verse in so many translations and so many languages – I come up with the same thing. Be thankful. For Everything. For the tumor. For the stroke. For my friend’s cancer. For the faulty DNA that kept my son from seeing my eyes.

Then, I read a few chapters in Hebrews the day before this big day of giving thanks.

“Let us let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

A sacrifice of praise. A sacrifice. So something has to die in a sacrifice.

Perhaps a dream. Perhaps a plan. Perhaps a wish. But to sacrifice something, it has to die. To be thankful for something that seems awful, something I’m tightly holding has to die.

View More: http://rebeccacerasani.pass.us/rackley

And who says thankfulness is a state of being? It’s not. You can’t be thankful until you do thankful. It’s an action.

Thanks-giving.

(willingly) Giving thanks.

In order to give thanks continually, in all things, I have to willingly offer something up to be sacrificed. 

It’s not called Thanks-taken Day. If thanks is being taken from you, it’ll look something like this:

“Day 17: Today I’m thankful for my job. Because without it I would probably be back at the bank yelling at the teller who told me my account was over drafted.”

or

“Day 24: Today I’m thankful for my mom. Because of her I learned what *not* to be to my kids.”

And the month of November ends and the bitterness, the anger, the hurt is all still there. Because we aren’t giving up those frustrations of small bank accounts or giving up some ideal wish of a perfect mother. The irony is, the tighter we hold on to those things, the easier it is for true thanks to be taken away from us.

To give thanks is something different entirely.

View More: http://rebeccacerasani.pass.us/rackley

To let go of those things – to offer them to an altar of death. To sacrifice those dreams, desires, rights, entitlements, wishes.

Yeah, it hurts. It would look something like this:

“Day 17: Today I’m thankful for my job.”

or

“Day 24: Today I’m thankful for my mom. Yeah, you know the one. But today, truly, I’m thankful for her.”

Giving thanks for the divorce, for the cruddy father, for the untimely death of a loved one, for the good, the bad, and the oh-so-very ugly.

 “…life change comes when we receive life with thanks and ask for nothing to change.” 

View More: http://rebeccacerasani.pass.us/rackley

Not the surgery outcome, not the divorce, not the death of my son, not a different dad, not a different bank account, not a different teacher.

It’s asking for nothing to change because we have God. And He’s enough.

Is it easy? No. That’s why it’s a sacrifice.

But, ironically, until you sacrifice – until you give up those things to their deaths – you will never really live.

“How my eyes see, perspective, is my key to enter into His gates. I can only do so with thanksgiving. If my inner eye has God seeping up through all things, then can’t I give thanks for anything? And if I can give thanks for the good things, the hard things, the absolute everything, I can enter the gates to glory. Living in His presence is fullness of joy- and seeing shows the way in.” 
― Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

For a special Thanksgiving Message from my friend, Ann, herself, watch this:

Thanks to Rebecca Cerasani from www.leighandbecca.com for the family photos the week before surgery. They mean the world to all of us, and give us all something to shoot for on this long recovery road ahead of us.

Advertisements

About Kim

I am a sinner, miraculously saved by grace, living by faith, and pressing toward the mark of being more like Christ. I absolutely love being a stay-at-home mom! I'm also a caterer for a few weddings throughout the year, a baker, and a party planner. And I love to play in other people's kitchens as well as my own! My husband, Chris, just finished his studies for his MA degree in Pastoral Studies. He's a wonderful (and super smart!) daddy - and the most loving and supportive husband. My two beautiful daughters, Chloe and Kami, are the joys of our lives! We pray that they both would be greatly used of the Lord. Throughout their short time here on earth, we have learned so much about ourselves, our God, and the gratefulness we have towards our own parents, who raised us in the ways of God's Word. Our third unborn child is a blessing as well - even after its recent pre-diagnosis of Trisomy 18, or Edwards Syndrome. This blog has kinda turned into a little journal of sorts of our dark journey down this rather uncommon road. I stay busy cooking, cleaning, gardening, and raising the plants I killed back to life, and homeschooling. I blog when get the chance. :) We are always happy to have visitors, so please stop by anytime! Although, if you do give us a call first, we'll make sure to have some fresh cookies and sweet tea available when you arrive!

5 responses »

  1. Thank you {so much} for always being so transparent about God’s work in your heart and life. You are continually in my prayers. I can’t wait to see you guys again.

  2. Beautiful. And I am thankful for you and Chris and your kiddos (all of them), and for the way you are allowing God to work through you and the way that He is doing so. Happy Thanksgiving, Rackleys!

  3. The only way I can reconcile these sacrifices for the sake of gratitude is to “preach to myself” the Gospel of Christ’s sacrifice for my sake. Knowing that God allowed me (all believers) to be reconciled to himself through faith in Christ is the only way that giving thanks with a grateful heart makes sense. All the tragedy and suffering sometimes scream so loudly that I almost can’t hear anything else. Thankfully, even when I lose focus on these things, God is patient and forgiving and reminds me of his great love. Praying for you and Chris and the girls. God bless you all, Kim, may God bless you and show you his perfect plan in every circumstance.

  4. Pingback: A Dusty Frame » Blog Archive » From Outside The Frame

Tell me what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s