I am so thrilled that today is finally here, my favorite Holiday: Thanksgiving! And because it's my favorite day of the year, I asked a very special lady to guest blog. When I asked my friends to guest blog, I also gave them liberty to write and when to submit their post. However, after spending some time with the Lord one day I felt him prompting me to ask Francine to write the Thanksgiving Day post. The Lord is brilliant and He knows what He is doing. Francine truly is a crown o glory in the hand of our God (Isaiah 62:3). She is so precious. May you be blessed by Francine's post and encouraged to rejoice always, pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks. God bless YOU.
Thankfulness, Thankfulness is what I want from You
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 16-17
Thanksgiving is such a wonderful reminder to us to be thankful for all God has, is and will do in our lives. I am thankful for the reminder.
Ever been through a horrific season and found that it became increasingly difficult as the trial continued to hold on to your faith let alone to praise God for your circumstances?
I have experienced some major seasons of drought, fire, despair, times I felt that I would drown, times I felt so alone that I was almost convinced there couldn’t be a God, times of such agonizing pain that I literally thought I would die from it. There is a specific time in my life where the trial was long and the suffering so intense that at one point I thought I had lost my faith and felt that if I didn’t hold on I would never get it back. I spent months of crying and pleading to God to heal my sweet husband Bill.
Bill was not well and in a lot of pain for 3 years. We were married for 2/1/2 years, all of which was during this time he was in constant pain (chronic pain) and we sought many treatments for nerve repair, spent a small fortune on changing his diet, juicing, all natural treatments, etc., etc. He was on 2 class 2 narcotics plus a host of other meds to treat his pain and symptoms from that pain. During this time he started getting swollen nodules in his neck. Two biopsies were done; they thought it was cancer and we prepared for the worst. The first biopsy wasn’t conclusive so they did the second to rule out the possibility of cancer. He had appointments with an Oncologist who was sure it was cancer and was preparing us for the worst. The swollen lymph nodes were all throughout his body even in his lungs. The second biopsy ruled out cancer. Then they thought for sure it was a fungus, so off to the Infection Disease doctor we went for more tests. We saw a few other doctors along the way but nothing was conclusive. Finally, his pain management doctor, after many trips to the emergency room for overdosing on his prescribed meds, determined that it was the medication itself that was killing him. His immune system (lymph nodes) was holding onto the meds so that he wouldn’t kill himself. All of this is too complicated to go into in great detail here but you get the idea.
His doctor sent him to a psychologist to help him prepare to come off the meds. He told him that if he did not stop taking all of the narcotics he would kill himself. The psychologist helped him to prepare. We went to our pastors and asked for counsel and guidance. Bill entered a 2-week detox program. Once he finished that he went to a Christian drug treatment program. He was there for 3 months.
When he came home it was a time of adjustment for him but he did really well. After 5 months of praying and seeking God for the direction our life would now take, we both sensed God calling us to move from Miami to Virginia to be a witness to his 9-year-old son, Bradley. Bradley had no Christian influence in his life and we readily moved 1 mile away from his house.
We were there for 6 weeks when the unthinkable happened. Bradley woke me one morning to tell me that Daddy fell in the bathroom and that he couldn’t get him up. My heart plunged.
You see for the first 2 years of our married life I had expected to wake up one morning and find that Bill had overdosed. After rehab that fear had dissipated. I knew before I ever went into the bathroom that morning that he was gone. I won’t go into all of the details of the situation but being away from my church family was extremely difficult. But from the first day God provided for my needs and spoke his peace and love into my life. The Calvary Chapel we were attending there has an amazing pastor. He and his wife and other members were there for me in anyway I needed them for the next 2 months.
Bill had secretly kept some medication. As I said he was taking class 2 narcotics. The meds he was taking were extremely strong. You had to “work your way up to them”. He had been complaining of pain for a couple of weeks and I can only imagine that it became unbearable for him. Sometime during that last night he took one of the narcotics and immediately went home to be with the Lord.
As I prayed about what to write, this was not my intention, it doesn’t feel holidayish, but I do feel certain that this is what God asked me to write.
I shared this with you to share this specifically, what I learned during this time. My loss was immense and it is just within the last couple of months that I feel completely whole in Christ. In the onset of my grief God asked me to praise Him in my circumstances. He had chosen not to heal my husband but to take Him home and yet He asked me to have a grateful heart. I must confess that I started off with mere words, my feelings were not gracious, nor understanding. But I did what God asked of me. After months of saying “thank you” to God during my prayer time and through out my days, one day I realized that I WAS thankful to God for taking Bill home.
Is. 57:1- The righteous perishes, and no man takes heart; merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil.” God gave me this scripture within the first couple of weeks of Bill’s death. It did bring me comfort that God had spared Bill from evil that was to come. A couple of months later God gave me this scripture again and told me that He had spared me from evil to come also.
I now understand that 1 Thes. 1:16-17 that we are to give thanks IN everything. Not just for everything, while it is actually occurring. I believe that thankfulness is the same as forgiveness in that both are claimed in the Spirit and are done at that moment through the strength of Christ. The flesh eventually catches up as we continue to claim it and walk it out.
I want to encourage you to be thankful in the midst of your situation, no matter how bad it seems. Thanksgiving is a great time to think on all God has, is and will continue to do in your life and it is a special holiday to do this! But, please take it to the next level and give God the thanks He is due at all times and in all things. “All things work together for our good and His glory”. Either God’s Word is true or it isn’t. Let’s stand in faith that God hasn’t given us more than we can bear and let’s praise Him in the midst of our worst.
I pray that your Thanksgiving and Christmas is filled with God’s love through His Spirit and His people. The best blessing in life…that God loves us! Receive all that He has for you. Let go of any bitterness toward God and know that He is working all things out for you so that He will be glorified!
I moved back to Miami to be with my loving, supportive, church family. I am completely healed and take great comfort that Bill will never hurt again.
Blessings, peace and love.