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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day Eight

Day 8. The letter H. 

Today I'm thankful for hard times. And hope. 

Last weekend I had the opportunity to spend time with a group of writers. My heart came away full with learning new things, catching up with some of my favorite pals, and meeting new friends.

Over a shared stuffed pizza – Chicago style – one of my new friends told me how the last year had gone by in a blur. Her debut novel was set to release, but in the midst of preparing for that, she was blind-sided by a personal injury, prolonged medical treatment, and was then called to another state to help care for her mother in hospice. Her emotions were frayed, her supply of energy depleted. She’s coming out from a hard year, and as we talked, I couldn’t help but think of the valleys I’ve been through in my own life. Dark valleys where I didn’t know what tomorrow would bring and was almost afraid to wake up because I knew new challenges were nearly certain.

We’ve all had them. Family crises. Deaths of dear ones. Job upheaval. Serious illnesses. Redirecting our lives. And yet, during those times, even when I didn’t know what to pray, I’ve cried out for wisdom and strength and provision. And it’s only when I look back at the hard times that I see them for what they are – treasures that have made my life richer. They are the places in my road of life where I’ve learned the most about who I am and grown the most in my walk with God.

I know it’s a bit of a paradox to be thankful for hard times during this season of thanksgiving. The valleys of despair can seem endless and unbearable, but even when we aren't aware of his presence, God walks beside us. The valleys are rich and fertile, filled with streams of hope to water our weary hearts. It's a hope not only for tomorrow, but for all eternity. And that is worthy of celebration. Worthy of thanksgiving.


Erica Vetsch said...

You're so right. I am thankful for those hard times (though I'll admit, I'm thankful when they've passed too!) My faith and my gratitude grow as a result of my times in the darker valleys.

Julie Garmon said...

Beautiful post, Carla.