Be thankful.

This week’s post is by Becca Wellan. A volunteer at Redeemer and full-time nanny (aka: superhero).

Be thankful.

I have a pretty good guess at what you’re thinking: It’s not Thanksgiving yet.

I am notorious (in my own head, anyway) for associating certain emotions and concepts with specific holidays. I can’t be the only one. The word Immanuel means “God with us.” The word Immanuel also makes me want to hang up Christmas lights. And I can make a good guess at what song is playing in your head right now (does this mean I’m psychic?).

I do this with the word “thankful.” Maybe you do too. I think of cozy sweaters, the smell of cinnamon, the laughter of friends and family as we eat ridiculous amounts of food, and the pumpkin cheesecake I make us each year that never turns out right. Ever.

Last night, I went for a walk with my dear friend and roommate, Kyla. Actually, she was longboarding and I was panting like a lost puppy trying to keep up with her.

“Hey Becca,” she called out, roughly two miles ahead of me. “Let’s do the thankfulness ABC’s.”

… but it’s not Thanksgiving, goofus.

I just laughed and went along with it. We were thankful for everything, from “Apples” to “Zaaa! For pizzaaaa.” Our conversation was a fun, silly exercise but it got us talking. How would our hearts change if we started to actively cultivate a daily awareness of the wonder and blessing from God in our lives?

When we aren’t thankful, our hearts may grow cold and we may not see just how truly, deeply, unbelievably blessed we are. A thankful heart opens your eyes to blessings in your life that, let’s be real, may go unnoticed as real-life tears at your skin and threatens to steal your joy.  

This year, I’ve cried my fair share of ocean tears. I’ve learned that on Christ the solid rock I stand, sit, lay down and cry. So have you, in one way or another. 2016 has been an incredibly trying year for many in my Redeemer family. We’ve been heartbroken, individually and collectively.

In the midst of deep hurt and sorrow, God pours out His love in abundance. What if we started to notice it and talk about it? The bible encourages a thankfulness that runs deeper than circumstance, rooted in the goodness of Jesus and everything that He has already done for us. thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. // Colossians 1:12-14

We can praise God, always, because He already rescued us from the domain of darkness. Even when we feel darkness surround us, it’s not our home anymore. Darkness isn’t our identity. We are redeemed, forgiven, and qualified to party in heaven one day, where He promises to remove all sorrow, pain, and death forever (Revelation 21:4). Until then, we have a God who promises to never leave us, no matter what battles we may face (Deuteronomy 31:6).

So what are you thankful for?

I am thankful for:

  • A brand new awareness of my weakness and sin that has driven me deeper into the arms of Christ.
  • A God who calls me His cherished, forgiven, deeply loved daughter, in spite of me.
  • My friends who have extended their forgiveness, even though it was undeserved. Who sat with me and let me be broken. Who reminded me of the gospel when I couldn’t remind myself. Who gave me their wisdom, and food (I love food).
  • My beloved church family at Redeemer. Even all the nerds in my Gospel Community. I love you all.

The list could run for miles. 

Let’s be a community who together recognize and talk about the power of Christ at work in the mundane, the suffering, and the joy that life brings.

So, what are you thankful for?

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name O Most High, to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night. // Psalm 92:1.