Thanks In All Things

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This past weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada. I have so many things to be thankful for – I wake up each morning in a warm house, in a beautiful little town, with my husband and daughter. I know how fortunate I am.

At the same time, it’s hard to give thanks right now. It’s hard for me to feel thankful in all things. Which, as a Christian, I’m called to do. I don’t know how I’m supposed to be thankful for the loss of a baby – or if that’s even what I’m supposed to strive for.

In the days before Pearl’s birth I remember reading the story of the fiery furnace in Daniel 3 and being comforted by the fact that we worship a God who enters the furnace with us. We were saved from that furnace and given a healthy baby. The men in Daniel were also saved; although they were thrown to the fire, they were unharmed.

So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire…They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

Daniel 3: 26b, 27b

But what do you do when you are not saved from the fire?

I don’t think I’m expected to give thanks for the fire itself. I do believe that my God weeps with me. The Bible never ever chastises the mournful. Jesus himself wept at Lazarus’ tomb (John 11). In Exodus 23, the Promised Land is described as a place where none are barren and there is no miscarriage. Clearly we don’t live there yet. I find it comforting that God’s perfect plan doesn’t involve the loss of my baby. And I find it confusing that an omnipotent God allowed that loss.

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Daniel 3:17-18

In Daniel, the men declare that they believe God will rescue them. But even if He doesn’t, they will not turn from Him. They are thrown into the fire and a fourth figure is seen in the furnace with them. That is the strange and confusing and beautiful part of our faith. We are not always saved from the fire but we are never alone in it.

I will not be burned up by this fire. I will not bow down to the gods of grief and loss. I am here right now but this is not my forever. Slowly, slowly, I will give thanks. God help me.

This weekend we skipped town for a couple of days with some very wonderful friends in Victoria. Pearl’s first trip to the place where Peter and I met and fell in love and spent the first year of our marriage.

Downtown Victoria Harbour

Downtown Victoria Harbour

We were fortunate enough to be able to fly by seaplane from Sechelt, which makes the trip so much faster. Pearl’s first time on a seaplane went very well, though she refused to wear the ear protection they provided for her.

Telling me to catch up on a walk with friends.

Telling me to catch up on a walk with friends.

There was a lot we didn’t get to do in our quick trip but we did get to catch up with some of my favourite people, meet a new-ish baby, visit my old workplace/Canada’s largest bookstore, and walk a little through a lovely city.

Tried to take a picture of these two at the bookstore and Pearl is picking her nose.

Tried to take a picture of these two at the bookstore and Pearl is picking her nose.

Also, Pearl discovered she can put her hands in her pockets so please enjoy one of my favourite pictures ever:

img_4188

There is a lot to be thankful for.

Advertisements

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving weekend in my part of the world. I know I have so much to be thankful for. This has been a big year.

Last night, Peter and I went out for dinner with friends to celebrate his 30th birthday. I’m unspeakably thankful for this guy and that we get to share life together and grow old together. I’m thankful for friends and the extra money to go out to eat. I’m thankful for grandparents who babysit and a baby who sleeps through.

I’m thankful for our church – our community here on the Coast and in other places. The friends we have here and the friends who are now scattered around the world.

I’m thankful for the Thanksgiving dinner that we’ll have tonight and that I have no doubt will be delicious. I’m thankful for my family who are coming to visit tomorrow.

I have so much to be thankful for.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Give thanks in all circumstances. The things I’ve mentioned are easy to be thankful for because they are such good things. It’s easy to be thankful for my marriage, my home, my friends. It’s easy to be thankful for my daughter and her life. It’s hard to be thankful for the fearful time that preceded her birth. It’s hard to be thankful for what came before – for miscarriage and loss and difficult diagnoses.

But God’s will in my life is for me to rejoice, to give thanks. To pray without ceasing. Which, really, is the key to all of this. I don’t know how to be thankful for any of these things – good or bad – without filtering that thanks through Jesus. When I think of the great love my God has for me, my thanks seems weak.

So I could focus on the hard stuff, the stuff I don’t understand, the times and memories that will always be twinged with pain. But, with God’s help, I can look at my life with new eyes. At a recent medical exam, the tech commented on a congenital issue that I have and asked me if it was hard for me to get pregnant. “Not really,” I said, without going into a lot of detail.

“Well, you have the most pronounced version I’ve ever seen,” she told me. I have no idea how many women she’s seen with my particular style of misshapen uterus but it struck me once more how much I have to be grateful for. How delicate the balance of life is. The goodness of God in my life that I am so far from worthy of but that has shown up again and again, in the light and in the dark. In ways that, I think, I’m not even yet aware of. There are things God is teaching me; I am still learning. I am learning to give thanks in all circumstances. I have so much to be thankful for.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thankful

After taking my camera everywhere for a month, packing it with me on trains, subways, mountain trails, and through museums, I guess I needed a break. September 2013 will remain without much photographic evidence in our household. That’s okay. Sometimes it’s nice to just look at things and remember them that way.

This weekend though, I picked the camera up and started snapping again. I love the way it changes my perspective on the world. A crisp and sunny long weekend was the perfect time to get outside and take pictures. And, obviously, the right time to remember how much I have to be thankful for.

Here are a few from life recently:

Fall has arrived in our part of the world. I love autumn on the West Coast. The colours everywhere are amazing.

IMG_0824

I discovered that the iOS update now allows me to take panorama shots with my camera phone. I never knew before that I needed a panorama picture of my living room! This was the view from my in-laws house on Sunday afternoon.

IMG_0830

Table set for Thanksgiving dinner.

IMG_0832

Monday afternoon explorations in our neighbourhood.

IMG_3489

It's mushroom season on the Coast. I'm too afraid of poisonous mushrooms to pick any but we've been given some chantrelles by friends.

It’s mushroom season on the Coast. I’m too afraid of poisonous mushrooms to pick any but we’ve been given some chantrelles by friends.

IMG_3493

My Scottish heart loves the thistle.

IMG_3471

Loggers’ cabin on the hill.

 

Wildlife spotted.

Wildlife spotted.

Wildlife not spotted. Elk prints.

Wildlife not spotted. Elk prints.

Not pictured: the unexploded dynamite that I came across. I poked at it oh-so-gently with my foot and then walked away.

And tonight, more beauty.

IMG_0834

Thanksgiving Weekend

For me, Thanksgiving always marks the end of summer. It’s the last cottage weekend. It’s the last long weekend before school starts to get extra crazy. It’s the weekend when you pull out scarves and boots and sweaters and start eating as though you’re planning to hibernate.

Except it feels decidedly non-autumnal around here. Peter and I went for a walk on the beach this afternoon and before we even headed back I had pulled off my scarf and was regretting my jeans. I changed into a skirt and tank top before we enjoyed a couple of gin and tonics on the beach.

You know what? If summer wants to hang out a little longer, I can handle that.

Usually we’ve had a few solid days of rain already by this point in the year but as of today I’m using my rain boots as a door stop in the basement and not for much else.

Here’s a few pictures from today:

A little evidence of fall…

A random surprise on the beach:

Happy Thanksgiving to all you Canadians/early harvesters!