Two years ago, I remember for the first time realizing that there had very much been a theme to the way I had experienced God that year. Good was the word; God was good. Seems trivial, maybe even a given to some. But for me it was huge, as for the first time I didn’t feel as if I was picking and choosing where He was good and where He just hadn’t answered my prayers. All was good, because all was within His reach, and all was within His care. And with that realization came a truckload of grace that allowed me to exhale for the first time, maybe ever.
The next year brought the theme of mercy, and perhaps that couldn’t have been experienced if I hadn’t been brought into the belief that He was good. I realized that His mercy wasn’t done for me out of earning or worthiness, but out of that goodness. I felt myself rest even further as everything I looked at and saw and envisioned included the knowledge that He was in it. I didn’t have to do anything to welcome His presence or make myself clean enough for Him to be in it. I could approach Him knowing He was listening- I was welcome and wanted in His presence; He just wanted to be near me. Perfection was no longer a goal or even a desire as I was able to believe that He was working all of the pieces of my story, my day, my hour into His plan for my restoration.
This past year I would say that the theme has been abundance. This may seem to some as something that only a woman of privilege would say. Seeing Him as abundant is perhaps one of the most difficult pieces of His character for most to rest in, let alone see. There is so much that we are missing here on this earth that He intended for us to have and to experience and to exist within that is beyond our reach at this point- we live without much. There are different degrees and stories and experiences behind not only that belief but that reality, for many of us- but may I challenge you in what I have seen: it is not beyond the reach of HIs hand. His abundance is often mistaken for the good stuff He gives us, the things that are bestowed upon us through His mercy and out of His grace. And although those things; such as a warm home, food, jobs, provision are all very much dues to Him….His abundance is so full that it does not stop there. Out of His abundance He has provided for our ransom, He continually rescues us from the sin that we so often choose instead of Him, and He redeems those broken stories that come from that sin. I have said for years now that He is not a God who wastes, each story is gathered up in His hands and made beautiful as the light of His face pours out a cleansing for all that is dirty, broken and what we have determined beyond repair. And in those things I think we find the true definition of His abundance. His abundance provides us with new, with that which we do not deserve on our own feet but by the goodness and glory of His hand. It replaces doubt with hope and fear with sure standing. His abundance is one that makes sacrifices that are bigger than we can fathom, simply so we can be near Him. Simply so that we can be part of the family.
I have experienced this abundance in many ways this past year, don’t get me wrong- I have received plenty of shiny things from His hands this year, but my stories of this true abundance have been found when He has reached down from the throne to pick the grime out of my hands and handed it back to me clean and new to give it another go, not out of a need for me to try again, but out of an opportunity to experience again, to live again. And that, friends, is what I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving. Because everything else; my friends, my family, my children, restore, my home, my food has all been a result of this.