Grateful. Hopeful. Restful.

On Mondays at lunch, we fast and pray for women and men to bear the image of God in their unique ways, and for marriage to be given to those who desire it. 

Based on the extravagant displays at the grocery store, it’s apparently already Christmas and I’m already late on everything. Sigh. I feel sad for Thanksgiving, having gotten run over by the reindeer and cookies, and almost a footnote at the start of the holiday rush. But I can’t blame the stores – my heart is often the exact same way. I’d rather rush into the busy than be still and be grateful and be hopeful with the “now and not yet” in so many parts of my life.

I often attribute this lack of “stillness” directly to not being married. That somehow, I have more space to attend every Christmas event. Or I need to keep myself busy to “prove” that it’s ok I haven’t gotten married — “Look, I have friends!” — “Look, I need to attend some parties!” — but the result is the same regardless of my motive: exhaustion and disconnection from God and other people. And I don’t think this is an issue for only single women – I think the pressures of the holidays reach us in different ways, but the underlying struggle might be similar…women often feel that they need to measure up in some way…which is a recipe for not resting and not feeling grateful.

And it’s easy for me to imagine that in some future state with different circumstances, I would be naturally restful and unfailingly grateful. Not quite. It really takes God’s work on our hearts to change those patterns…and I need His work to learn how to rest and give thanks in all seasons.

And so, for me, the challenge for this often overlooked season of Thanksgiving…is simply to be still, remember God’s extravagant goodness this past year, be honest with Him about the true state of my heart right now – whether I’m feeling grateful or not.

The other bit is that we’re headed into Advent, a season which makes more sense every year. We are turning our eyes toward the solid reality of gospel hope while acknowledging that we are all still waiting. We are grateful for the work the Lord has done, and we lean forward to see His next work. We rejoice for His provision, and we trust Him to answer other prayers in His perfect timing. (Perhaps the holiday our hearts really need is Thanksgiving and Advent on a loop through the entire year!)

We are grateful for each of you — praying a blessed restfulness, gratitude and hope-filled Thanksgiving on each of you.

In His Grace,

Amy

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