When I come to November in a year, something happens in my spirit. I’m ready to cozy down into warm sweaters and soft blankets. I love scented candles burning and soups simmering on the stovetop. It’s a time to slow down and reflect over the year. When my spirit is in a good place, my heart finds much to be grateful for. One thing that fills me with gratitude is the gift of friends—real life and blogging friends.
For the next few weeks, I have invited five friends I respect deeply to share stories and thoughts on gratitude in their lives. I hope you will join with me for all five weeks and share your responses to their words. If you miss a week, you can click Choosing Gratitude series to catch up with the other posts in this series. Will you settle in with me, with a mug of something warm in your hands and think on those things and happenings in the year for which you are grateful?
I met Lisa Jordan early in my writing journey. She has great wisdom and an encouraging spirit. She’s been my cheerleader, the one who listens when I’m grappling with something in my story. And she has a heart for people. She’s a multi-published author with Love Inspired, and her stories have depth and wonderful characters. Please help me welcome Lisa to this little corner of the blog-o-sphere today!
Everyday we are faced with making choices. Wake up or hit snooze. Eggs or oatmeal. Coffee or tea. Love or hate. Grace or judgment.
What about the choice of saying yes? Especially if it means experiencing pain and overcoming challenges? Choosing to say yes can come at a time when we are at our weakest and crying out to God.
Several years ago, our family experienced one painful crisis after another—my husband and I lost our fathers a year apart, my mother needed another cardiac stent, our oldest son wrestled with some issues in college, and then after finishing his freshman year of college, our youngest son came home with a cold, which turned into bronchitis, then pneumonia and a secondary infection that started shutting down his organs.
He ended up being taken by ambulance to a hospital three hours from our home where his medical team did more tests than we could count to figure out what was wrong.
While sitting in a recliner next to his bed in the early hours of the morning, tears streamed down my face as I muffled my cries and pleaded with God for his healing. I begged Facebook friends around the world for prayers. I had a book due to my editor that week, but I couldn’t focus due to living my worst nightmare.
As I listened to alarms going off in other rooms, footsteps hurrying down the halls, the hissing of my son’s oxygen that helped him to breathe, I felt this sudden warmth envelop me as if someone had pulled a cozy blanket warmed in the dryer and wrapped it around me.
Then God asked me a single question. “Daughter, do you trust me?”
“Yes, God, but…”
“Do you trust me?”
Psalm 56:3 crept into my thoughts, nudging at my fears.
When I am afraid, I will trust in You.
“Lord, I’m so scared. He’s so sick.”
“Do you trust me?”
I wrestled with my emotions, tangled around my fears like a tightly knotted cheap skein of yarn, and had to make a choice.
Drying my eyes, I breathed out a sigh. “Yes, Lord, I trust you.”
Over the next eight days, that blanket-wrapped peace never left me. Not when our son asked if he was going to die. Not when we received disappointing news. Not when new symptoms appeared. Not when our son’s breathing labored just from sitting up in bed.
Thankfully, our son healed from that traumatic experience, and we were released to go home on Father’s Day of that year. What an incredible blessing.
Those two years of darkness—my season of winter as a friend called it—changed me. They were some of the most heart-crushing experiences with lasting effects. However, I’m so thankful for being willing to say yes to God, resulting in a strengthened faith and stronger prayer life.
Our Heavenly Father knows what’s best for His children, even trials and difficulties to draw us closer to Him. James 1:2-3 reads, Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
Sure, we’d prefer not to go through challenges in our lives, especially when they impact those we love, but we are weak and He is strong. He has a plan and a purpose for our lives and promises never to leave us or forsake us . . . we never have to walk through those valleys by ourselves.
I’m so grateful for the blessings I’ve received as I thawed from that season of winter and embraced the spring of renewal, fresh starts, and thriving. When we make the choice to say yes to God, those blessings will outweigh any challenges we endure as we trust in Him and allow our faith to be strengthened in the process.
What about you? When have you had to say yes to God, and how did it change you?
Bio: Heart, home, and faith have always been important to Lisa Jordan, so writing stories with those elements come naturally. Represented by Rachelle Gardner, Lisa is an award-winning author for Love Inspired, writing contemporary Christian romances that promise hope and happily ever after. She is the Operations Manager for My Book Therapy. Happily married to her own real-life hero for nearly thirty years, Lisa and her husband have two grown sons. When she isn’t writing, Lisa enjoys family time, kayaking, good books, and playing in her craft room with friends. Visit her at lisajordanbooks.com.