Gratitude Challenge 1.22

It's the 22nd day of the Gratitude challenge. As always, it is an anchor of perspective for my heart and I hope you've discovered new ways to be thankful. Today I'm going to write a post about things that are normally viewed as unpleasant, bad or icky and how I've learned to be thankful for them. 

I've been exceptionally weepy this week. I'm a girl, I"m allowed to be from time to time. All I know is that this time last year, I was crying everyday for months on end. The fact that it only happens in small spurts at this point is one reason I'm thankful for tears. But really, tears remind me that my heart is alive, beating and feeling. I went for far too long in this life not really crying or resisting the tears. In the last couple of months and the heartbreak that have upended my heart, I've dropped a lot of tears. Not as many as I expected - mostly because I spent about a month in sheer shock and some kind of post-trauma coma. The tears come all too easily now, but I'm thankful for them. I'm thankful that I can cry and God doesn't run away from my tears. Most people don't know with a weepy, messily crying Amanda, I've learned. And honestly, it makes me so thankful that I can fall apart as much and as hard as I need with Jesus and He isn't scared off, and I'm not too much for him. But really, the tears are a reminder that hurt is real, and someday it will be over. And that there will be better days. I remember a few years ago my brother reminding me that bad days are good because they help us be more thankful for the good days. I've never forgotten it. So tearful days make me thankful for the days I make it through with lots of sunshine and no tears.

...missing people...
Tonight someone posted a picture of a woman I greatly respect and admire from my old church. I miss her. There are people I miss in my life. My nephews. My beloved friend who has completely cut me off. I miss my childhood friends sometimes. I miss my old friend who I don't talk to often enough. I miss my best friend who I talk to almost everyday but don't get to see more than once a year. I miss the hugs, the talks, the snuggles, the connection with all of these people. It makes my heart ache on levels I can't even begin to describe. How could I be thankful for such a painful ache and holes in my heart like that? Well, honestly, some of it stings far more than others and it's hard to be thankful when the thought of someone still brings a tear to the heart. But the truth is, each person has become a part of me. I love so deeply, so fully that each person I pour into like I have to each of these are forever a part of me. Never will my heart not have a space for them, even if they - like one recent - choose to reject that space. My gratitude is that God has allowed me to love that way. Painful. But a reminder of what love should and could be like. What restoration of the human condition awaits us when He comes to the earth and makes all things right. I need that so much. I'm thankful for a King who is Redeemer and Restorer of broken things. Even these spaces in my heart that break when missing beloved people.

...hurts & heart- wounds....
Of these, I have plenty. But I'm thankful for them because my Jesus is a healer. He restores, heals, redeems and puts hearts back together. He is Liberating King. He is Healer. I'm thankful that I am not alone in those hurts, those wounds. A few nights ago, sharing with a friend some places of deep hurt that are still far too tender to be touched frequently, she reminded me that He is with me in identifying with those hurts, because He experienced and still experiences betrayals, rejection too. No one understands more the deepest kind of hurt better than Jesus. The kinds of betrayal and hurt he walked in on this earth are every bit as real and true as what we can experience. Still, people reject, defame, bad mouth, toss aside His love as casual as yesterday's trash. I'm thankful for my hurts, my wounds because His grace is more than sufficient to cover and carry. Because He alone heals me. Because He understands it.

with that, I have not a whole lot more to see. Tonight, my heart is heavy but I carry with me gratitude like a beacon of hope that better days are coming, healing, restoration and redemption are coming for all the hurts in this life. 


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