Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12
This series is for women to share what they are learning to spiritually clothe themselves with, how they choose to adorn their heart, and what they choose to put on because of their desire to be precious in God’s sight.
“Gratitude gets us through the hard stuff. To reflect on your blessings is to rehearse God’s accomplishments. To rehearse God’s accomplishments is to discover His heart. To discover His heart is to discover not just the good gifts but the Good Giver. Gratitude always leaves us looking at God and away from dread. It does to anxiety what the morning sun does to valley mist. IT BURNS IT UP.” Max Lucado
I am definitely one who exaggerates things; I’ve been told I get that from my father. [I’m looking at you, T-Mac] But I can honestly say, without a hint of exaggeration, that this season of life is the hardest I have ever walked through. My family, on both sides, has experienced such deep and painful loss; whether that be a physical loss of a person or an emotional loss of what we planned our life out to be. Even as I type this, Jesus is so quick to remind me that my future with these three wonderful people is infinitely greater than my past with them; He is so good to us isn’t He?! But even so, learning to live without people we love on this earth is so hard. For me personally, it all became too much.
I recently graduated and became an RN. One the most vital and important roles of a nurse is to assess and monitor the patient; “How do our vitals look? What can I do to make them more comfortable? How are they feeling? What’s our next step?” I found myself succumbing to this in my own personal life far away from the hospital. The anxiety decided to set up shop in my brain and wake me up each night with one resounding thought — “Is everyone I love STILL BREATHING?” Friends, this is exactly what trusting in Jesus and resting in freedom does NOT look like. When our dog, Bruter, was diagnosed with cancer, I checked his vital signs and gave him a head to toe assessment–DAILY. Poor, sweet, lazy Bruter would be enjoying a nice Sunday nap under our backyard tree and BAM. Here I come to check his gums and reflexes. This is NOT OKAY.
I was suffocating under the weight of my own anxious thoughts, I left no room for Jesus to come in and calm them. I would turn my attention to what I could do to fix the problem, which is almost laughable.
Until my amazing Aunt showed me a certain blog post. In the past year, the woman’s life had been painful and hard. As I read her words, I wept. Finally, someone put this feeling into words. She said:
“I have spent weeks trying to figure out why a God I so love could let this happen to my family at such a time. The only conclusion I came to was this: I have to give up my line in the sand. I have to offer my entire life, every minute portion of it, to God’s control REGARDLESS of the outcome. My family is in God’s hands. No lines have been drawn, no deals made. I have given our lives to the Lord. Peace has entered where panic once resided, and calmness settled where anxiety once ruled.”
And as quickly as I read those two paragraphs, the unwavering presence of the Lord was there.
This year, instead of filling my head with doubts and worries, I want to fill it with gratitude. I am grateful for the way my family has bonded together through the loss of loved ones. I am grateful that I got to see and visit with my Memaw on her last day on this earth. I am grateful that she taught me how to selflessly love the Lord. I am grateful that my mom will be what Memaw is to me to my kids one day. I am grateful I will never forget my Uncle Jim’s laugh. I am grateful that my children will know Chaz’s dad because of traits I see of him in Chaz, his siblings, and my mother in law. I am grateful they all got to see Chaz and I get married. I am grateful Chaz and I got to pour out love to our sweet rescue dog before he died. I am grateful for a husband that I can call my closest friend in all seasons of life. I am grateful for a support system like no other, who laughs when I laugh and cries when I cry.
When I turn my sorrows into shouts of praise, EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT!
“For the Lord is my strength and my shield. I trust Him with all of my heart. He helps me and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of THANKSGIVING.” Psalm 28:7
Above all, I am grateful for a God who meets us where we are but surely does not leave us there. Who remains patient and steadfast when we insist our ways are better. And who is forever faithful and true. I am red faced at His love for me! I choose to clothe myself with gratitude.
Can you relate to my sister Brynn? I know I can. I’ve yet to experience a year like she has, but I do know the temptation and weight of anxiety, and then the freedom of trusting God. How about you?