– The Word ‘Thankful’ All Folded Up (Part 1) –
Time to do something: think. Think of an extra-tough time you’ve gone through. Okay, maybe not the most joy-filled request.
Now, look at the definition of thankful:
1. Aware and appreciative of a benefit; grateful – grateful and appreciative
2. of, relating to, or expressing thanks – a thankful feeling – thankful words
Curious why I’m asking you to think of an extra-tough time, as well as defining what thankful means? It’s to help you understand what got me—as years went by—to be closer to being thankful for these two, somewhat life-changing hardships I’d gone through. (*1) (*2)
Thankfulness. Do I want you to think that from day one I was filled with thankfulness when my teenage pregnancy soap opera started? Or, do I want you to think I was overflowing with thanks a few years later when my brain-damaging encephalitis hit, that had me unable to even understand who God was TO thank? Am I saying that that one question, ‘Why, God?’ was nowhere to be found during both of those times? Of course not. As a matter of fact, if it could have been visible, “Why, God?” would have been bubbled over my head more hours of the day than not. I bet all of you reading this have had that bubble at least once, and that it seemed, at the time, impossible to pop.
God, having saved me when I was eighteen years old, was who I gave most of my thanks to, as most things went by pretty smoothly that first year. This verse fit perfectly:
Ephesians 5:2 – Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
But about a year later . . . . things changed.
I was so young when I was hit with the first of these two trials. Young in age, at nineteen, yes, but I’m mainly talking about young in my Christian life. There had only been one year of God’s word and guidance before that larger-than-life trial unplanned pregnancy occurred, followed by the brain illness only a few years later.
Thankfulness was difficult to detect. It was hard to even find a little drip-drip-drip of thankfulness. Yes, I did sense God’s Fatherly care, but thankfulness as to why I needed that care sure wasn’t standing out. That word ‘thankful’ was folded up at least ten times, put in the back pocket of my jeans in that closet I never wore.
Hearing those common words, ‘God has reasons,’ caused me to think ‘But what are they?’ That question was glued in my thoughts as every day, week, and month I was pregnant went by, and especially after every day, week, and months, even years, after my illness went by.
As time did go by, however, I—how shall I say it—started wearing those jeans tucked in the drawer, sensing something was going on in that back pocket. Something was unfolding.
James 1:12 slowly began making sense.
To be continued.
Marianne Petersen is a former volunteer at a local pregnancy help organization and is actively involved in her local pro-life community. She is also the author of a forthcoming early spring memoir, God and My Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.