And if not…we can still give thanks

From a year ago…

The wall had just gotten painted. The pictures had just been hung up. This was starting to feel like home.
It was November 7th.
But it was about to not be our home anymore.
It had only been a couple days since we had gotten the heartbreaking news of our imminent departure from Spain. We only had a couple more days until our family would spend three weeks spread across 2 different continents. Everything was happening so fast, and life seemed crazy.

Normally, our tradition of doing a “thankfulness tree” would spread over many days. This was not how we wanted it to be or how we had planned. Our world was being turned upside down, but in this moment, we stopped to remember what never changes.

God is faithful. God is good. God is near.

I cherish this moment where we paused in the chaos to read verses of thanksgiving and share together the many ways we were thankful. Most of the conversation centered around the beauty of our time in Spain. The amazing staff at the kids’ school. The friends that were made. The lessons learned.

After years of preparation and watching God open the way to move to Spain, this quick transition made no sense to any of us.

But there is something sacred about praising God in the midst of deep pain. Of remembering what He has done. Of gaining perspective about the hope we have of what He will do. Of uttering words of gratefulness while tears roll down your face.
Because when you don’t understand and it doesn’t make sense, He is still trustworthy.
When you feel angry and disappointed that He didn’t answer the way you had hoped, He is still sovereign.
When the limitedness of yourself and those around you is overwhelming and discouraging, He is enough.

Thanksgiving feels different this year. Because “if not” happened. It feels unfair. And it really hurts.

But we have also learned in a deeper way that “if nots” don’t need to be feared. Because even when our vision is blurred by the tears and the pain, He is still good.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23

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