Tag Archives: obedience

30 Days of Thankful: Day 29

Thanksgiving. Its power to transform any situation is something of a mystery. When someone gives thanks in the Bible, you often find a miracle close by. Jesus gives thanks before He breaks the five loaves and two fish to feed the five thousand. He lifts his eyes to heaven before he calls the four-day-dead Lazarus to come forth from his tomb.

Yesterday, I found myself waking up, again wrestling for hope. It’s been a hard week since my younger sister’s illness and then serious head injury after a fall resulted in emergency surgery and an uncertain future. The day before, she had lost all movement, all cognition.

On the way to the hospital for another day of waiting, I didn’t feel like it, but I went back to prayer and thanksgiving 101: Philippians 4:6-7:

  • Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need,
  • and thank him for all he has done.
  • Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.
  • His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

I did what I know to be true—though I didn’t “feel” like it. As a former atheist, I seem to always be very pragmatic about taking God at His word.   And I know that giving thanks in all circumstances is His will. I also know He is not offended if I watch and wait to see how His word comes true.

And so I gave thanks for what He had done, and what He would do in this ongoing trial. And I watched and waited for tiny signs of hope. I truly believe that giving thanks is an act of faith. I told God I would be on the lookout for small “seeds” of His work, diligent to thank him for each ray of hope.

I pulled into the usually jam packed hospital lot and a space opened right next to the door. Walking in, the security guard at the door took special interest in greeting me unusually warmly. I walked into my sister’s room. The MRI had revealed no stroke as feared the night before.

A doctor came by and administered a new medicine. And for a few seconds, there were signs of life, and a brief recognition on my sister’s part. He said this was a good sign. A glimmer of hope.

I’m not sure why, but the day was altogether different. I sensed little blessings for which to be thankful. We’re not out of the woods yet, by any means. And we have a long road ahead.

Each day, I learn anew that it’s healing and strengthening to give thanks while I wait, and especially to praise God for the little seeds that are part of what I trust will be a larger harvest.

Giving thanks somehow fuels my faith, which then gives hope. I can’t explain why it gives peace. But God knows what He is doing, and His word tells me not to worry, to pray, and to give thanks. His peace that passes understanding does just that—it bypasses my intellect. I don’t know how airplanes fly but I continue to travel. I don’t know why giving thanks works, but I am so grateful for the peace that it gives my heart.


Choose Life!

God’s words in Isaiah 58 are clear.  He loves it when we pour out our lives for the broken.  Sometimes, the call to obey can seem messy, uncomfortable, even dangerous.  But God promises we’ll  be blessed, often in ways that may surprise us.  Here’s what happened to my friend Laura when she made the choice to say “Yes” to God:

GUEST BLOG: CHOOSE LIFE        By: Laura Snow

At times, we all find ourselves at a crossroads. We have to decide which direction to choose. There are pros and cons with either direction. My crossroads came in the form of a call to adoption. My call to adoption was not a simple one. I already had two biological sons from a marriage that ended in divorce soon after they were born. A few years later, God called me to adopt two brothers (a kinship adoption). So I adjusted to the crazy life of raising four sons on my own.

Four and a half years ago, I received another call asking me to consider adopting a fifth son, brother to the other two. WHAT?? Life was good. We were smooth sailing. We were in a good place. I didn’t even know this little boy. It would be “easy” to say no.

I came up with a list of all the reasons to say NO.  I’m single. I already have four sons. I’m over forty. I won’t have enough money. I don’t have enough time.  All legitimate reasons. However, I kept imagining myself sitting in front of this little boy and saying to him, “I’m sorry I can’t adopt you because I’m tired.  I can’t be your mom because I’m over forty…”  All of my reasons just didn’t feel right in the face of a child that needed a home, a home where his brothers were already living.

God had me at a crossroads. I had to lean into Him to hear His voice and know which direction He was asking me to choose.  I thought back to an interview I’d watched years earlier by Bill Hybels, the Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. He was talking with a widow from Africa. This woman had lost her husband to a tribal war and was left to raise four children alone. She was struggling to provide her family with basic necessities. However, when her neighbor’s children were orphaned because of AIDS, she didn’t hesitate to take on those four children as well.

Pastor Hybels asked the widow why she took on the responsibility of more children. Her response was so simple and yet so powerful. She said, “In a matter of life and death, you choose life.” The words struck a chord.  Later, God led me to a verse in Deuteronomy:  “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30: 19). It was clear to me that this woman made her decision based on Scripture.  In a matter of life and death choose life.

CHOOSE LIFE. So simple and yet you can hold it up to almost any crossroad and it won’t be hard to see the direction God is asking you to choose.  There were people more suited and better equipped to adopt this little boy, but God was calling me. I chose life and said YES to God, and I said YES to my fifth son.

I truly believe that God used this woman, along with this very specific Bible verse to prepare me for what was to come. Looking back, it is easy to see how perfect the timing was and how God was preparing me so that I would be ready when I found myself at a crossroads.

What crossroad are you facing? Today, I hope you choose life, so that you may truly live!

To learn more about adoption and foster care, follow Laura on twitter