Last December, my Pinterest obsessed sister found a neat little project she wanted the both of us to do in 2016. It seemed simple enough. We were to put small notes of why we are thankful into a jar throughout the year and read through them at the end of the year. Well here we are, December 2016. Exactly a year has passed and my jar is full. It sits in the center of my dining table for me to stare at everyday. I sat and stared at it all weekend, what could I have possibly written? What could I have possibly been thankful for?
2016 has been by far one of most challenging years and the most eventful in many good and bad ways. I look back at the things I’ve done, the places I’ve gone, the people I met, the relationships I built, those that were restored and those that broke. I can’t explain why events turned out the way they did and why things work out the way they do. We fail a lot in our plans and sometimes we win. Sometimes we are tested in ways we cannot comprehend and other times we are simply blessed.
Most of you know the beginning of the year kicked me in the butt. I lost my sweet Elsa to cancer, I lost my little niece/nephew, and to top it off – I had surgery. What else could go wrong? It can only be better after all these, they said. Wrong! Lets add failed relationships and self-pity to that list. I couldn’t understand why all these were taking place.
As I look back at my notes I find that in each sorrow I was able to find a peace and joy. I don’t know how I found peace in the loss of lives I loved. In each failed relationship, I learned things about myself I never knew before and I learned more about the nature of God. And I can honestly say I am grateful that those relationships never worked out. I can only say for it is by the strength that God gave me that my heart was able to heal. The wounds have left visible scars, but for those I am thankful. The scars remind me of what was extended to me.
I’m not quite sure who that Pinterest idea belongs to, but the concept is very powerful. We are taught to have a grateful heart in every season we find ourselves in. Don’t get me wrong, in each circumstance I found myself asking, God why would you allow this to happen? When we are walking through such seasons, God is present and walking with us. He uses these trials to refine us, teach us, build us, strengthen us, and most of all to prepare us for the blessing that will start flowing.