The seasons seem to be changing again and I feel as though hard things come around in the winter. I have a hard time thinking of a winter that wasn't tough. The leaves change into glorious colors all vibrant and bright and then they fall leaving everything barren.
As hard as it is, I appreciate the rawness of winter. There are no leaves, less color, gray skies and a season of waiting of anticipating, of advent.
Thanksgiving is next week and though I have an abundance of things to be thankful for, it's hard to be thankful when cancer becomes part of the equation. Walking alongside my Dad as he awaited tests, results and the end result of cancer was and is not an easy path to tread. He is going in for surgery on Monday. My family and the doctors are hoping a surgery will be all that is necessary so please pray with me.
I know I am not ready to even think about where the path might lead. I feel far too young to think about losing my parents. I fear the path ahead but I also have a great hope that a transformation is possible; in the medical outcome and in our relationship. God does his biggest work when we're at our worst and I am holding onto that trust that He will be faithful in the work He has begun. I'm thankful for a lot of things God has done, but I'm hanging onto the gratitude that I'll feel for the work He will do.
a quote from my favorite pastor in Seattle, Richard Dahlstrom,
We think that gratitude is all about remembering the good things God has done for us and giving thanks. Surely this is a piece of gratitude and thanksgiving. If we limit our thanksgiving to recalling the gifts that God has given us, we will miss most of the story, because most of the story is about how God transforms us right in the midst of challenges in this fallen world...
So perhaps this is the year when we'll give thanks, less for what's happening in this present moment (though God knows that there's still plenty of reasons for gratitude if we take even a cursory look around us), and more for what God will do as we collectively walk through these 'very interesting days', as I recently heard them described. I hope and pray that on the far side of these crisis, we who claim to follow Christ will be shaped, liberated, and transformed, so that our lives will overflow with the purity, generosity and joy that is the heart of Jesus.
may we all choose to be thankful in the midst...