Yes, this post is late, but I've been having such a wonderful time with my family, I haven't been willing to sacrifice the sweet time with them to blog :)
I have to say, every year I realize more and more what I have to be thankful for and the importance of gratitude. Things that I would have never considered thanking God for I'm finding myself saying "Wow, thank you, Lord!"
I really feel like every year I post the same things that I'm thankful for, but one of the pastors from our church the other day posed the question to the children of our church "has anyone ever done anything so nice for you that you felt like 'thank you' just wasn't enough?" and for some reason that stuck with me. That's how I feel sometimes. Just saying 'thank you' once or twice or a million times to God for all of His blessings just doesn't seem like enough.
The first on my list must be the unfathomable grace that God has extended to me. I am eternally grateful to Him for calling me out of darkness and redeeming my soul. I cannot comprehend the kind of love that sees creatures in such a state of sin and depravity and loves them in spite of it. I'm thankful that I don't get what I deserve. I deserve death, but He gave me life. I am thankful that Jesus obediently became the propitiation for our sins and satisfied the righteous wrath of God. I am grateful that I now get justice, not based on my life, but on His death. If this grace were the only thing that He ever blessed me with, I would be complete. But in His sovereignty, He has bestowed me with other wonderful gifts.
Second to my salvation, my family is the greatest blessing in my life.My mother and sister are two of the most godly women that I know, and I am blessed every day of my life to live in unity with them. Through the hardest of life's trials we have been brought closer, and through the fire we have together been refined. My dad has taught me so much over the years, and always being a "daddy's girl", I thank God for allowing me to be his daughter. I consider bearing my father's name to be a privilege and I pray every day that my relationship with him would be whatever God would mold it into for His purposes and glory. My extended family are also quite precious to me. There is a very special bond in our extended family that I have observed is absent in many others that I know. Though we vary widely on beliefs, lifestyles and ideas, there is something that holds us all together. Of course, that thing that holds us together is our shared love for Christ. I cannot express the joy I feel when I see my little cousins walk with the Lord, hear my grandfather pray, and feel the unity of Christ when I look into my uncle's eyes. Praise to God that we all are unified in our faith in Him!
Being thankful for my family would be incomplete without expressing gratitude for my spiritual family. The church universal, and spicifically the brothers and sisters in the various churches in that we have walked in fellowship with over the past couple of years and that we have recently met upon moving to Natchez. Though God saw fit for me to only have one biological sibling, a sister, He has made me especially aware of my brothers and sisters in Christ, some of them my very best friends. I am always astounded by the love and grace of God shining through in the lives of His children.
I got flack for saying this last year, but it's true so I shall say it again :-D I am grateful that God saw fit for me to be born an American! I am furthermore always grateful for those fighting for our freedom, willing to pay the ultimate price for the survival of liberty. When I stop to think about it, that willingness and devotion astounds me. This nation was founded on Christ, and I pray that it will one day return to Him.
And though it might sound strange, I truly am grateful for the trials that God has allowed in my life. Some of the trials have been seen by others, some of them have not been, but God has walked with me - and often times carried me through them all. The fire is hot and sometimes excruciatingly painful, but God has proven Himself faithful again and again and again. Great is Thy faithfulness unto me!