I write to you today with a heart full of gratitude. You may not know this, but I love you. Anyone who would take the time to read through these ramblings is deserving of my affection. What is a writer without a reader? More importantly, I believe that God has planted a glowing seed of warmth toward each of you within me. You are His precious children, and I consider it a privilege beyond compare to be a part of your life in some small way. Thank you, dear reader.
If I had to sum up what I have learned throughout this difficult year, I would focus on thankfulness. Today I understand better than I ever have before what James meant when he wrote:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.- James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
The joy is not in the trial. The joy is in looking beyond the trial and into the face of God. It is being able to say, “Thank you, Holy One, for being so consistent in the midst of this inconsistency.” It is holding on to what you know even when you don’t feel it. In the darkest moments of this last year, when all hope appeared to be lost, I was continually nudged by the Holy Spirit to choose. Choose what I know. Feelings, while not sinful, can certainly muddy the waters. Who, indeed, can know the heart? (Jeremiah 17:9)
I am not thankful for clinical depression or CFIDS. What I am thankful for is the opportunity to choose God every day. To choose to believe that He is who He says He is, that He will do what He says He will do (Beth Moore wrote that). I am thankful that I have been forced off my Martha platform and onto the floor with Mary. I don’t have the energy or the desire to put on the show anymore. I can’t keep up. I can’t do life the way I used to. There is no fussing or fluttering; there is no point in that. All I can do is sit at the feet of Jesus and seek greater intimacy with Him.
I am so thankful. Knowing the Lord is all that matters. Completion, fulfillment, is not found in large paychecks or notoriety. It is in being immersed in the presence of God and swimming in the reality of identity as His royal child. I used to give lip-service to this idea. Now, it is all I have. All I want, really. To just be with Him.
There are no fireworks or string quartets associated with this new depth of relationship. It is a quiet strength, a gentle assurance. The Lord is there, always. No matter how it looks or how it feels.
I hope that, in some way, this is what I have communicated to you over the course of 2011. What I really want you to know is the truth of who God is and who you are – who you can be – in Him. The rest, in many ways, is just details. As you step into the freshness of a new year, I pray that you will respond to the ever-calling voice of the One who made you and knows you so well.