Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Embracing the Hard Times

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, our church had it's annual Thanksgiving testimony service (we call it the "yeah God!" service).  As the day approached I was thinking about it, and asking God what I should share.  I really felt like God wanted me to go back to the word he gave me at the beginning of this year:  EMBRACE.

I was introduced to the idea of asking God for a "word" for the year by one of my friends.  The premise is to ask him for a word that puts a focus on the year.  A "theme" for the year you could say.  This year it took some time for me to know what God's word for me was, but when it came the word was very clearly EMBRACE.  When I asked God what the word meant for me, he told me that he wanted me to embrace his love for me, to understand how much he loves me.  There was two parts to the meaning of this word for me though.  The second meaning to "embrace" is that God wanted me to embrace every circumstance and every person in my life as a gift from him.
I just found this- the image is called "The Embrace" by Chris Hopkins
As I prepared for the Thanksgiving Sunday service, and I thought about God wanting me to embrace everything, I knew that God wanted me to share about embracing my hard times.  There is so much that I could thank God for, so many blessings in my life.  My family, our home, our friends, our church, our jobs, our health.  God wanted me to go beyond that and thank him for the hard times, to see the gift in the storm.

I understand it like this:

If it weren't for the storms, we would never know how Jesus is our rock.
If it weren't for our weaknesses, we would never know the size of God's strength.
If it weren't for feeling overwhelmed, we would never know that God is more than enough.
If it weren't for the darkness, we would never see how Jesus is our light.

So that Sunday, I stood up in front of our church, and with tears rolling down my face, I shared my thankfulness for the hard times because it is through the hard times that I know my Jesus more.

I shared this at church, and I share it now, because God wanted me to, and because there may be some who are dealing with struggles and need to be reminded of this.  God embraces you (receive his embrace of love), and because of this we can embrace every circumstance in our life and be thankful.

God Bless You,