This is another post from the upcoming Marriage Renovation.
It was near the tail end of our marriage renovation, the second and final time Rob suggested we separate, that I had a choice to make. I stood at the edge of the cliff, with God asking me to leap. I had nothing left to hold me but God, and every ounce of my hope was in Him and Him alone.
In that leap, I found myself extremely grateful for God, for what He’d shown me, for my children, for family, for friends, for the many disasters God had averted through this whole experience. It wasn’t because I was so spiritual—it was because He was all I had left. I was grateful He still had a plan for me, that He wasn’t yet finished with me. I wanted to stick my head into a Monte Python skit and say, “I’m not dead yet!” It feels like death. But then you take one more step beyond death, and you soar in freedom.
Wherever you are on this journey, begin to consider what you have to be thankful for. In your confusion, anger and intense pain, invite your heart into the beauty of seeing all that remains. See what God may whisper to you. Thankfulness at this time may seem like a trumped up emotion, like thanking someone for a gift you don’t like, but instead it is the recognition that God is sovereign, loves you, and has something ahead better than you can imagine. [Ephesians 3:20] Thankfulness is the truth.
Thankfulness will not instantly change your circumstances, of course, but in true thankfulness, the circumstances recede. They cease to matter so much because God. Because I am. What else could matter?
God told Rob we were not to separate, but by that time, it almost didn’t matter. Separating or not was no longer the main point. God was the main point. I had fallen fully onto God, and He had revealed that He had me. No matter what happened, I would be good. Not, I would be okay, but I would be good. Thankfulness puts you in the place to hear God as He leads you into new circumstances. Nothing beats knowing Him like that.
When we turn to Him, He has a unique way of showing us our issues we might not hear from anyone else. Michelle was a young wife, livid about her husband’s selfishness—and he was selfish. She reluctantly began a gratitude journal and was surprised to see how much she had to be thankful for. She was even more surprised to see how selfish she was as well. God did not change her husband just then, but He turned Michelle’s life completely around. Gratitude lifts your eyes from your spouse to God. Gratitude lifts your eyes from yourself to God. On God is the best place your eyes can be.
Don’t need try to give God a reason to bless you either. (That’s kind of like earning His blessing.) Just rest in His goodness and mercy. Aah!
This renewed heart of gratitude—this focus on God—is an ongoing process. When our backs are no longer against the wall, we can lose sight of what got us through. But I’m thinking nothing will bring life to your wounded heart like lifting your eyes to Him in gratitude, and loving what He is doing in your life.
Like Job, we can recognize that good will come to us and so will trouble; we brought nothing into the world, and we take nothing out. But we can still praise the name of the Lord.