Am I Thankful?

My two healing partners:crutches and walker with my
hope for the journey reminders: leash to walk the dog, and a soccer ball
to dribble by the shoreline (a favorite activity)
…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
     Sometime in Fall, I start to reflect on the year that is winding itself down to a close. I look back, on the hopes I had in January for all the “good things” that God had for me for that particular year. I ask  Him to reveal what I need to see as I look back. I usually ask the questions, “What is useful to my walk with You, Lord and in my relationship with others?” and “What do I need to learn from this year as I go ahead?”. Fall is a reflective season for me as I journey toward the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas and seek to stay grounded, thankful and connected through the bustle of what is to come, a culmination of the days leading to, God willing, another year. So, with that in mind and this year in particular I ask myself the question, “Am I thankful”?
     What pops into your mind when you think about thankfulness? I know for me it’s good stuff! Good things. God given, good things. Generally, I don’t think I am thankful for the negative, bad, rotten things that may have happened. My mind goes right to the good stuff!
Enter the Mind of Christ.
This year my take home lesson, started with the anticipation of good things, but was interrupted by what could only be described as, well, let’s just say less than equal to the good things anticipated! AT least by a temporal perspective.
     In February, while driving my daughter and her friend home for a sleepover, interruption number one occurred.  While sitting at a red light, we were struck from behind by a car that was sitting behind us, which had been hit by a Pick- Up Truck that never even slowed down! CRASH! So it began. My abrupt wake up call beckoning. Could I be thankful, in every circumstance? This present circumstance?
The girls were shaken but physically unharmed.
The car was totalled.
I woke up the next day, surprised by the pain I felt. Whiplash. And an un-drivable car.
(I want to add that I continued to work my regular hours, including classes while I went through the Physical Therapy for this. I pushed through and endured the pain because I knew my boss and clients were counting on me with no ‘back-up” plan. We also did not pursue a law suit but settled for coverage of medical cost for treatment and “fair” compensation for my car.)
Instead, I asked, thanklessly, “Why, Lord?”
The still, small whisper, returned, “Trust me, I am here”.
Changes came this year. Unplanned. Unexpected. Completely without warning.
Sometimes it hurts to follow you, Lord.
     The welcome weather of Spring and a fun-filled, anticipated school Field Day. As a mom, you bet I was there, to help, enjoy and share the day with my daughter and the wonderful school community.
Having taught 4 1/2 hours worth of moderate to intense type classes the day before, I would not have anticipated an injury. Obstacle courses are after all my business, more or less. But, on this day, there was one last squat, bend, twist and SNAP! I felt it. Wake up call. I ignored it. Until my husband found me crawling on the floor at three in the morning because I couldn’t walk, or get back in the bed after I had slithered my way to the kitchen for another ice pack. We were off to the emergency room. Welcome interruption number two. All. Circumstances. Ouch. It really hurts, Lord.
     I work in the world of Fitness. Walking therefore, is a very minimal requirement. No walking possible. Pain, probable. Movement. Not happening. The Hip is complex, and so was the injury. Bone fleck, tear, Arthrogram, MRI, x-ray. Fearful words. Work as I knew it was halted. I literally went from active to sedentary. Halt. Thankful? No, afraid, yes.
     June, brought a final word from my boss. I was no longer a good fit for the future of the company. What good is a Fitness Instructor who can’t move, teach, train? I wondered the same thing myself as I absorbed that blow. Strike 3!
     Was I thankful? Sorry to confess, I was angry, hurt, sad. I heard the Lord’s voice: “I am with you, do not be discouraged or afraid.”
I look back on this year and I see pain and loss. But I also see his hand intricately involved in redirecting my course and redefining me.
 My hope remains because hope resides in me:
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
The reality is, there has been good which has come from each of these circumstances, that look so bad from a superficial perspective. Beneath the surface is where truth roots deeply and where faith is grown. Am I thankful? Ultimately the answer is, yes. Was I thankful during the wake-up calls that God allowed into my life this year? Not initially. But ultimately.
I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
Job 19:25
I CAN and will give thanks in all circumstances ULTIMATELY because
He has called me to it and He makes it possible for me to do it:
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Phillippians 4:13
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according
to the plan of him who works out
everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ,
might be for the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:11-12

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