Rejoicing + Giving Thanks

Last year, I wrote a chronicle of blog posts, of people and blessings I was (and am still) thankful for.

This year, wanting to write about Haddon’s name and the third trimester, I decided to write only one post on thanksgiving. I have a litany of blessings I am thankful to the Lord for – but for writing and time’s sake, for life right now in this season, I think one post is sufficient.

There are two scriptures that keep on swirling around in my head – the first one is

“Rejoice in so much as you share in Christ’s sufferings, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:13 (NIV)

I have recently completed two fantastic books sketching the lives of faithful Christian women. To read their stories is deeply inspiring and devastatingly convicting. I am so inspired when I read of these women who gave their all to live for and to love Christ, and I am devastatingly convicted of my own lack of completely living for the Lord with all I am and all I have.

As I read through these biographies, full of both burden and blessing, this scripture from 1 Peter continued to exhort me.

“Rejoice in so much as you share in Christ’s sufferings…”

Am I sharing His sufferings?

I looked down at my swollen feet… and Christ reminds me of His unrecognizable, nailed-to-the-Cross feet… His feet, swollen with death. My feet, swollen with life. Because of the life He gave, I carry life.

I notice my numb fingers… again… those precious nail scarred hands. Life given for me, so that I may give life to another.

I don’t know if this is exactly what Peter meant… and I know that these swollen feet and numb fingers are only small portions of sharing…

But, am I rejoicing in the little ways that I might be suffering, and therefore could get a taste of sharing in Christ’s sufferings?

I can say… I don’t always rejoice. I am in my heart of hearts glad for this life. But I am also glad the numbness and swelling will be over – and soon.

Both of the biographies that I read recorded the life of Sarah Edwards, Jonathan Edward’s wife. She gave birth 11 times (and lacked so many of the conveniences I take for granted) and she considered it all gain to give life.

Christ considered it gain to give His life.

Do I rejoice? Do I consider it gain? Do I gladly share with Jesus?

… And to think the promise if I do rejoice and gladly share is to revel in His glory! – that is soon.coming.

O Lord!, Don’t let me miss it! Don’t let complaining and complacency keep me from sharing… keep me from giving my all… keep me from thanking Him, who suffered in my place.

The second Scripture is this…

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” PHIL 4:13 (KJV 2000)

This is the sort of bible verse plastered to the locker room wall in my Christian school. This is the verse that FCA would use to encourage the athletes. And this verse has so much more significance than the “you-can-do-it” attitude it can communicate to football players.

Because of Christ’s strength in me through the power of the Holy Spirit, I can do the day in and day out that the Lord providentially gives… and I can endure, accomplish, gladly enjoy and triumph in the blessing and in the burden. All of it. because of Christ.

I can walk on swollen legs, give love with numb hands, hold this life in my body, in my lap… and hold my two other sons in my arms, I can continue to be my husband’s helper… soon, I can labor and give life… because Christ strengthens me.

So, this Thanksgiving, with new life entering into our home, forever changing our family for our good and for His glory, I am thankful for the blessing, for the burden, for the way in which Christ gives His life for us, so that we can gain His and give ours… Jesus, may I give my all. May I rejoice in all. May I live all + only for You.

Happy Thanksgiving.


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