Today, I want to "Name Ten" again - name 10 things for which I am thankful - but today, my list is not a means to counter discouragement or weariness. Today, I need to alleviate a different kind of pressure: my heart is simply so full - so full of gratitude for the many ways that God has shown me favor and kindness - that it feels like it is about to burst. Honestly, my heart feels like an over-inflated balloon inside my chest. Why?
10 Things I'm Thankful for Today
1. I am thankful that after I gave birth to my twins, I did not have my tubes tied. God knew there was someone else - someone very special - that He wanted to add to our family. That special someone has grown into a beautiful young woman who consistently encourages me in my faith and who challenges me to apply the gospel to every area of life. She is pure sunshine.
2. I am thankful that not everybody is good at math, and I am thankful for Algebra tutors. I am thankful that the struggling math student and the ridiculously-good-looking math tutor fell in love. I am thankful that their this-is-what-our-family-is-going-to-look-like didn't work out the way they originally planned...because God had a different wonderful plan for them. I am thankful God made this couple wait for children, until just the right time, for just the right children. If their Plan A had worked, my heart would not be so incredibly full today.
3. I am thankful my son Reuben bought that ticket for me to attend the Faculty Women's Club luncheon way back in 2012. The luncheon where, as Reuben put it, "Mrs. Lisa pulled a big Jesus on you [me]." I am thankful God brought a funny, loud, gregarious speaker (who is not very good at math) and a quiet, introverted, house-mouse mom (who is pretty good at math) together and began the work of knitting our hearts and lives together.
4. I am thankful for 4-H camp, where my didn't-get-my-tubes-tied #7 and the fell-in-love-over-math couple's precious #2 worked as junior counselors. I am thankful for the opportunity these young people had to work together and corral kids and talk about life, free from "relationship" pressure or any need to perform to impress the other. Each just being who they are, in the same space, living the stress and exhaustion of camp life together with a sweaty horde of rowdy elementary-school-aged campers.
5. I am thankful that God's timing is not our timing. I am thankful God gave these two camp counselors time - years - to be disinterested friends whose paths intersected only occasionally.
6. I am thankful God doesn't always write our stories according to predictable plot lines. (Does He EVER?) I am thankful for failed romances and disappointed expectations, for lessons learned, and for the growth and maturity that come from having to step back, pause, regroup and ask, "Lord, what are you teaching me?"
7. I am thankful for romance that begins not with lightning and thunder, but with quiet respect and gentle appreciation. I am thankful that sometimes, God postpones the fizz and sparkle in the blood until the heart and the head have time to thoroughly engage first.
8. I am thankful for separation - for long lonely days, and for hand-written letters, and for the growing awareness of a void in the heart that is most keenly felt in absence.
9. I am thankful for delay. I am thankful that sometimes, God doesn't answer our prayers right away, because He is teaching us to rely more fully on him...and that takes time. I am thankful that sometimes, God doesn't answer our prayers right away because He knows that, in earnest, prolonged prayer for another, our hearts are knit more fully to the hearts of those for whom we pray.
10. And, yes, I am thankful for the lightning and thunder. The fireworks. The fizz and sparkle. The glow. The zing in the blood. The fruit of affection and desire that have grown all the sweeter for having matured slowly, over distance and time.
Mostly, I am just thankful. I am thankful for this young woman and this young man, for the intricate details God orchestrated to bring them together, for the work God has already done in each of them and for the story that God has only just begun to write in their lives.
|...and she said Yes!|
Congratulations, Jonathan and Helen. I am so happy - and so thankful! - for you both.