Yesterday at church, Pastor passed the microphone around for anyone to say what they are thankful for. Person after person stood up and told tales of how God had moved mightily. I never talk when they pass the microphone, but yesterday the tug at my soul was far too great. I still wasn't going to speak but the microphone got handed right next to my head and I suddenly was reaching for it.
"I have nothing profound to say." I heard the strange echo of my own voice being broadcast to each person in the sanctuary. "I am just thankful that I am at church with my whole family. We've been battling the crud and missed the last five weeks of church while we each passed sickness to the next. I'm thankful today that my family is healthy enough, finally, that we could come to church today!"
I sat with the sick feeling in my stomach that comes when I talk in front of large groups. But I didn't regret standing. On the way home, I told Hubby I don't usually talk when they give the opportunity. He said he was glad that I did this time. And as I talked to him I knew exactly why I felt so drawn to share.
I was thankful for something small. I was thankful for the fact that God showed up in an ordinary way in my life. In comparison to the stories of miracles upon miracles, it was not worth celebrating. But see that is the reason that I needed to celebrate. Is it possible that we often miss God because we are looking for the wonderous not the ordinary? Do we too often look over the ways that God says "I love you, Child" because we haven't seen glory surrounding it?
I'm thankful for stories of brain surgeries that were successful against the odds. I'm thankful for stories of job transfers that brought the person to a place where the owner had been praying for a godly man to fill the position and God directed both parties to each other. I'm thankful for the prodigals who renewed relationships with their families and for the family finally able to adopt their special needs child after a long and hard road. Those are amazing stories and well worth celebrating.
But so are the little stories. The stories that say my family is finally over thier colds, that someone who feels overwhelmed was able to wake up with a smile for the first time in weeks, that the rolls you made on Thanksgiving turned out well, that your favorite song came on the radio. You get it. There are a million ways God says He loves us and if we only wait to hear the big ones, we will miss out on so much of God.
Oddly enough, I was just sitting at my desk reading a book my dear friend gave me. And I read these words,
"Isn't it here? The wonder? Why do I spend so much of my living hours struggling to see it? Do we truly stumble so blind that we must be afronted with blinding magnificence for our blurry soul-sight to recognize grandeur? The very same surging magificence that cascades over our every day here. Who has time or eyes to notice?"
That paragraph came from One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. If you haven't read it, you should. It is a beautiful book. I just loved that the day after I told Hubby that we miss God in the day to day because we look for Him only in the extrodinary would be the day that I read in such poetic form the exact sentiment.
What are you thankful for today? In the midst of pain there is still something beautiful. In the midst of suffering God still says I love you. How will you hear it today? A song that soothes the soul, an email from an old friend, the falling of snowflakes on a quiet day, a cup of coffee in a favorite mug or shared with a friend. Whatever it is, know that God is saying He loves us today, and we need only to hear it in our own languages.