I am thankful



Last week I started a new part time position working for a church as their Sunday School Director. I smile s I write this because for the past few months (well, longer if i’m honest), I have been struggling with the “institution” of church. So much happens in church that is not of Christ. I think it was Ghandi that said he would be a Christian if it wasn’t for Christians, or something like that. I remember discerning a call to becoming an Anglican priest and pursuing theological education. And then i came to realize that being a priest would mean I would have to spend time in meetings, dealing with church politics, preventing congregational fires and dealing with administrative matters – all of which I hate with a passion. I began to see that I could serve more and do more good if i simply was with people rather than shepherding a congregation. I vowed that I would never work for a church again. But then this opportunity fell into my lap and somehow found myself accepting the position even though my employer would be in fact a CHURCH! I left the interview shaking my head at the insanity that must have possessed me at the time. But alas, this new position is filled with beauty and challenge and it is right that I work here. I think I’m going to give up my quest of staying away from institutionalized church. the harder I try, the more I find myself involved.

Anyways, on the way there, I was thinking about today being thanksgiving and how, even in the midst of a tough week, I have much to be thankful for. The above picture was made by the kids in my Sunday School – we picked leaves and as part of our prayer time wrote what we are thankful for and made this banner. It was a blessing to hear what these young people were thankful for – there was both simplicity and profundity in their comments.

I decided that I would create my own list of things that I am thankful for.

I am thankful for God. This might sound trite, but I mean this deeply. I don’t know how people get through the difficulties of life without God. God showers joy and beauty in the midst of pain and suffering. And in God’s economy, he can use my past – my wounds and my sin – for his glory. He is continuously shaping me into the woman he is calling me to be and refining me with the flame of love. But more specifically, I probably would not be alive today if it weren’t for God and how he met me in my weakest moments. I am only beginning to discover how high, how wide, how long the love of God is even though I’ve been taught its immensity since birth. It is God’s love that makes life beautiful. I also would not be where I am at today – taking full time courses and working two part time jobs and taking leadership in various areas – without God. There’s a verse in Isaiah that is coming to mind – that even youth grow weary but those who wait for the Lord will be raised on eagle’s wings. I often feel like I am being carried not by my own strength, but with the strength of God raising me up.

I am thankful for my aunts and uncles and cousins and their spouses. I know they have always loved me, but over the past 8 years they have shown me unconditional love and cared for me in so many ways. I don’t know how I would have made it through these years without them. And the cost has been huge – they have financially and emotionally supported me as well as had to deal with realities of division in the family due to me speaking up about the abuse. I am very thankful for them and do not say this nearly enough.

I am thankful for my mom and my stepfather. This might be puzzling for those who have been following my story and indeed, in court, I was challenged on this so much. My parents aren’t evil people. They are people who have done evil things. There is still much good in them. My interest in writing and research and education comes from the inspiration of my stepfather who attained a PhD and made a career of research and writing. My creativity and musical abilities comes from my mom and her amazing gifts. It would not be fair to totally write them off. Oh how I long that they would stare truth in the face because then they too can experience healing. And once they experience that deep healing, cleansing and restoration, I can only dream of how they will touch the lives of those around them and experience God’s love in deeper ways. They have so very much to give.

I am thankful for my birthfather who I see trying to have a relationship with me. It’s not easy to figure out a father-daughter relationship as adults without having to grow into it.

I am thankful for friends and mentors who have spent countless hours with me – as I deal with the hard stuff but also to just enjoy every day life. Last night I was walking down by the lake with one of my best friends and he added an application to his phone that makes farting noises (and many different ones!). I should say that it was I who told him about the app since I heard about it from someone else and I will probably live to regret my inability to keep my mouth shut. However, last night, as we were walking, he pulled out the phone and experimented with the various sounds and we were killing ourselves laughing. That is such an incredible gift – to laugh until it hurts.

I am thankful for my community for it has given me such life and joy and changed my life in so many ways. I am not the same person I was a year ago and that is largely due to the relationships and the ethos of the community. I am thankful for the church before that that shaped me and prepared me to go out in the world and make a difference.

I am thankful for my cat who seems to not be able to stop loving me and who is always eager to see me come home. He makes me laugh, comforts me when I am hurting.

I am thankful that I can be in school right now and that I have amazing professors and absolutely love pouring my time and energy into studying and learning. I am thankful for the capacity and the means to do this at this point in my life.

I am thankful for my jobs. The little 6mth old boy that I babysit brings life into my life – it is so amazing to watch him grow and develop and laugh and sleep. It’s such a privilege to be a part of his growing and maturing and to have his trust. And I am thankful for the church position in which I can use my gifts and creativity and (hopefully) be an instrument of change and growth in that church as I seek to spread God’s word and love to children.

I am thankful for the beautiful house that I live in and the wonderful people I share it with. I am thankful for the amazing landlord we have who has gone above and beyond. I am thankful to be living in community, to be able to be a part of daily prayer and to share meals with each other.

I am thankful for love of cooking. Few things consistently give me so much joy and excitement than cooking. I love trying new recipes, I love food, I love watching people enjoy what I create.

I am thankful for music. If you’ve been following my blog, you will know that I write a lot about music that has touched my life. There are two many artists to name but each of them has been a part of my journey.

There are so many more things that I am thankful for, but I thought that I would share the big things.

May we become a thankful people who dare to see, delight and rejoice in God’s rich blessings.

  1. October 21, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Hi A pleasant surprise to see you are following my blog. I have only touch briefly on some of your story which is both moving and profound. We are a small group that meets to pray using Celtic daily prayer at St Peters which is situated on the Monastic site famed for the venerable Bede and some think an earlier community of Hild’s. If you would like us to pray for something or somebody please get in touch http://celticnightprayer.wordpress.com/pray-request/

    • October 21, 2012 at 11:54 pm

      Thanks for your message! Yes – I heard about you through a facebook post Northumbria community facebook group. I’ve been praying through the Celtic daily prayer and have been really blessed by it.

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