Radical Gratitude

As Thanksgiving approaches this week, I am grateful to be in a dancing stage of life, where things are good.  I love my husband, and our marriage is a fun place to be.  Our kids are all in great stages of life, and we love our relationships with each of them.  Our church is exactly the right place for us.  I have a rewarding job.  I'm blessed with deep, sweet friendships.  Even our dogs are cute and non-shedding. I do not take these things lightly.  I am deeply grateful.

Because it has not always been so.  At times, our marriage was a mess.  Our kids were making choices that made us scared and sad.  I've lived through years of hard, grinding work that I didn't understand or enjoy.  I've been lonely and it seemed like there was no end in sight.

Henri Nouwen has a beautiful essay on gratitude that I turn to again and again.  He says this:

"If mourning and dancing are part of the same movement of grace, we can be grateful for every moment we have lived.  We can claim our unique journey as God's way to mold our hearts to greater conformity to Christ.  The cross, the primary symbol of our faith, invites us to see grave where there is pain; to see resurrection where there is death.  The call to be grateful is a call to trust that every moment can be claimed as the way of the cross that leads to new life."

I can look back and see that God has redeemed the messy, sad, scary times in my life.  Out of the worst brokenness, out of things I thought could never be fixed, God redeemed.  And hopefully that experience with God is teaching me to trust that no matter what, every moment is in His hands.  I want to learn to be radically grateful.

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