A couple of weeks my connect group & I joined in with some other ladies from church in an effort to be intentional about giving thanks over the course of the next month using journals. With these journals we are creatively expressing our gratitude through Bible verses, prayers, quotes, etc. Some of us also began the new She Reads Truth study "In Everything Give Thanks", and this has really set the tone for an "attitude of gratitude" for me. I have so looked forward to spending time each day expressing thanks to the Father and carving out that time to just create.
In the midst of feeling very pregnant this week, read hormonal and full of mood swings, I have been finding it refreshing to think upon the things that I have to be thankful for when it comes to Jesus and what He's done for me. It's been refreshing to get into the Word and find it come alive as I read it with a thankful heart. And last week we got a phone call that sent my level of gratitude through the roof.
For about 6 weeks we had been in a period of waiting and wondering and hoping and praying in regards to our baby girl. At our 20 week ultrasound they found something that had them concerned and so began a series of blood tests and another ultrasound and a meeting with a genetic counselor and the waiting.
Finding out you're pregnant brings on such a rush of emotions: you're elated yet fearful; anxious yet hopeful; excited yet overwhelmed. Everyone prays for a healthy pregnancy; everyone wishes for a healthy baby. Then to find out something might be wrong, something might not quite fit into the plan you have have for this baby, suddenly the emotional roller coaster does a loop de loop, and you're wondering which end is up.
When we first heard this news of further blood tests and meeting with genetic counselors, we weren't quite sure what to think other than to immediately begin praying for the Lord's hand on our baby, as well as praying for the Lord to help us trust Him and His leading as we walked this road. As hard as this blind journey was, we rested in the knowledge that He formed this baby, and He has a purpose for her. My husband, who is the worrier in the relationship, was at peace, and that for me was confirmation that the Lord was working.
One day my devotions led me to Philippians 4:6-7, which is one of my favorite verses.
Whenever I am faced with anything remotely scary or might trigger worry, I immediately hear this verse in my head, with a large emphasis on the word "ANYTHING". ANY.THING. It's something that I believe with my whole heart, that we should be anxious over NOTHING! And if we refrain from being anxious and worrying, we receive the peace of God & it guards our hearts and minds. I mean, isn't this a sweet exchange for the awful side effects of worrying & being anxious?? i think so!
I found it fitting that after reading this verse, we got a phone call from the genetic counselor with great news about our baby girl. It was the greatest birthday gift I could've gotten, and it was a great reason to "shout to all the peoples" about what God has done.
But I know full well that we don't always get the answers we want hope to hear. I know that sometimes the test might come back positive and sometimes we find ourselves walking a path that we just would not have chosen ourselves. What I am daily being reminded of is the fact that no matter what He is still good. He still loves us. He still welcomes us to bask in His mercy and grace. He still calls us His own & desires to walk with us every step we take in this life. And more & more, I find this to be the thing I am most thankful for in this earthly life.
Last night as Mike & Eli & our niece and nephew sat down to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws house, my mother-in-law went around the table asking the kids what they were thankful for. When it was Eli's turn, he blew us away and said, "Jesus." Later when we were driving home high-fiving each other for the "parenting win", I began reflecting on his answer. Really, is there anything else more important to be thankful for? I mean, it pretty much sums it up. Because of Jesus, I have everything. Because of Jesus, I am who I am, and because of Jesus, I can walk through this life with abundant blessings and feel secure knowing I am His. Because of Jesus, my future is secure, and I have hope beyond hope.
Because of Jesus.