Today I find myself thinking differently about what I am thankful for.
I took all four of my kids across the mountains to visit family and enjoy a meal along with great quality time with them. Cousins played while adults talked, prepared food, and played as well. I enjoyed everything about this time together, and when we arrived back home and I tucked them in late, and started to pray I thought of where we’ve come.
It’s natural and normal to be thankful for the good in our lives and what hasn’t went wrong, but tonight I found myself thankful for the course through which life has brought me. I am also thankful for the struggles, and pain. These times have shaped me, have revealed my calling, and brought so much good that I don’t think would have been possible without them. While I never would have considered being a single dad, starting over completely to be a blessing, I consider where God is leading me now and how he has used these times to shape me, humble me, and teach me.
I’m thankful for my family that has loved and supported me every step of the journey. I’m thankful for friends that are just as close as family. They have truly shown me what it looks like to be the hands and feet of Christ. I’m thankful for a Church that has and is helping me find my calling as a pastor through an internship while also referring me to seminary. I’m thankful for the opportunity to receive training and an education online so I can juggle being a father, working in ministry, and seminary simultaneously. I am so grateful for three great mentors speaking in to my life and allowing God to use their advice and guidance to help mold me into the man God intends. I’m thankful for housing options that allow people in my position an opportunity to afford a safe place for my kids. I’m thankful for the current missions field I find myself in, while training for a future in missions abroad. I’m also thankful for friends, family, and even some strangers who support me financially so that I can minister to the men and women in the church I serve in, life groups I lead, and future ministry I am preparing for.
I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be thankful for so much if life was never challenging. I marvel at his creativity, his ability to use a broken world, and tough circumstances to bring about good, and ultimately glorify him. We brought sin in to his creation and seemingly ruined it, but he continues to create in our mess, redirecting our sin at times to bring about his eventual good. To fulfill his ultimate plan of a creation redeemed, restored, and renewed.
Most of all I’m thankful God is in control and not me, and that by his grace I am his child.