It’s Thanksgiving today and there is no smell of turkey cooking; no laughter of children playing; no one to sit with over breakfast to share all that my heart is grateful for, and no plans to go spend time with family and friends. There is nothing in my house this morning but a deafening silence, and an ever-present awareness that this life I am living is not the one I wanted.
I had big plans in my younger years. Good plans. Plans of a better life ~ a life filled with success. I could see every detail through the eyes of my dreams, and was confident that I could cause every bit of it to come true.
Instead, over and over, my carefully laid out plans came crashing to the ground. All of my striving always ended in disappointment, with all of my dreams laying shattered on the floor. So often, in those years when being twenty-something slowly turns into thirty, I asked myself, “There must be something more than this? Something more than the emptiness I feel in my heart. Something more than living with the pain of longing to feel loved by those that should, and the longing for dreams that never seem to come true. There must be something more to life than endlessly searching for what seems can never be found.”
I wish I could say that life has gotten easier as thirty has turned to forty, but it hasn’t. Life is like that. There will always be struggles, always be pain of various kinds, and times where we have to bear the weight of disappointment as things don’t turn out as we plan. Nobody desires for their health to deteriorate. Nobody desires to sit in the cancer ward watching drugs designed to destroy dripping into their veins. No one wants their family relationships to fall apart, or the financial strain from unemployment, but all of these things happen. Jobs are lost. Health issues arise. Loved ones die and family relationships do break down. There is much evil and heartache in this fallen world, and sometimes life just isn’t what we want it to be.
But there is something more. Someone more.
Someone who will become everything you are longing for, after you come to Him and accept His sacrificial life that He died on the cross to so freely offer. Come to Him every day, in the moments of the every day when life is hard and the disappointments are many, you will find what you have been longing for. Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) It is there, as we come to Jesus, that He teaches us what this abundant life is. It is surely not the life I had planned, or even the one that I continue to want in my moments of weakness. It is the life He gives. The one that is in His hands, and written in His book. As we open our lives and our hearts to Him, they become His perfect life lived through us, and we become all that we are meant to be. (Galatians 2:20)
A long time has passed since I last put my fingers to the keyboard offering my words to minister for my sweet Jesus. I have been struggling with the Lord, allowing Him to teach me what my life is and is to be. The work He has done in my heart this year ~ to change my desires for my life ~ has been beyond hard, but good. What I have been longing for all along has not been my dream definition of what my life should be ~ it has been Him.
Today, as I sit here in the silence on Thanksgiving Day, with my children far away, and my family for various reason not coming together, my heart is overflowing with gratitude. So thankful for the One who saved me from the life I thought I wanted, to become something more in Him. Thankful that even in the moments I would not have chosen for myself, He is there. and He is enough. Never have I found Him not to be enough when I turn to Him, giving Him my desires so that He can fill me with His.
It is with this heart full of thanksgiving that I once again surrender my pen, my words, my heart, and life to the Lord who is sovereign, and to the all-sufficient King that I love. To Him be the glory!
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died ~ more than that, who was raised ~ who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:18-37 ESV