I know it’s not Thanksgiving, but I’ve recently found thankfulness to be on my mind anyway. The past few weeks have been very difficult for me. The pain of fibromyalgia and the exhaustion of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have blurred my vision and drawn a veil over my eyes that I find it hard to see past. With each step taken and every movement made, the pain is my constant, unwelcome companion. It whispers in my ear to just give in, give up, nothing will ever get better. Unfortunately, after 28 years, this is probably true, it won’t get better. Just when I’m about to give into the sorrow and grieve over the life I’ve lost, my eyes are opened.
I see with such clarity that to give in is to permit illness and pain to define who I am. I think of Jesus and the pain He suffered on the cross and how that pain is not what defines Him. Instead, it is the resurrection that defines who He is. I think of Paul, who says he can do all things through the strength of Christ, and suddenly, this illness that I’ve seen as a curse, becomes something to be thankful for.
In my weakness, I experience the strength of Christ enabling me to do what He has called me to. As my pen moves on paper, I feel His strength. As I feel hope once again take up residence in my heart, I know it’s Him. The One who took five loaves of bread and two small fish and fed five thousand people until they were full, can take the one “loaf” of my life, and if I accept it is enough, will use that life to do so much more than I can imagine. I need only be thankful for the life He’s given me and simply say, “not my will, but yours”. What freedom thanksgiving brings!