Thanks be to Thee

I am honored to present to you a guest post from by my friend, Amber Thornton. She and her husband Michael gracefully model “thankfulness.”  So I asked her to blog about it.  Enjoy.  ~Lisa

Sometimes, you have to dig deep. Real deep.

You know. Those days when the dawn breaks, and it feels like it’s breaking you? The screams of laughter from your loud, but chipper, children in the next room greet you with a sigh as your eyes attempt their opening.

“Can I parent today?”   I think to myself.

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This season of “loving the little years” has been my companion far more than I care to face (seven years and counting). With five kids ranging from seven years old to 9 months old, diapers, nursing bras, and sleepless nights have often felt like my only friends.

I love my children. I wouldn’t trade one moment with them for a thousand moments of solitude or showers or good books or, whatever it is that people who do not have a butt load of responsibility do in their “spare time.”  Does “spare time” even exist?

I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t trade a thing. I wouldn’t take back a moment. I wouldn’t exchange it even for a shower.

I love my babies.

But there are days, when the sun greets me and I don’t care for it too, just yet. Just one more moment, please, to pretend I’m free from the caretaking of so many little people – these cute little faces that are dependent upon me for not only their physical existence but also their emotional existence.

Their emotional existence, ouch. I must be emotionally present. Despite how tired I am. They need me. And really, I need them.

I know some of you who are reading this are also in the thick of motherhood and feeling the physical exhaustion it brings. Or maybe your children are older and you’re emotionally exhausted because all you’ve poured into them over the years is now being tested and you are having to sit back as they learn from their mistakes.

Perhaps you’re a caretaker of a terminally ill spouse and joy sometimes feels nonexistent or just impossible. Or you are struggling to be thankful this Thanksgiving/Christmas season due to a limited income and you’re not sure how your going to feed your family a feast.

Possibly you’re at odds with your some of your immediate family and its makes the holidays seem gloomy.

Or this time of year can be painful because it’s never the same without a certain loved one who has already passed.

I’m here to whisper in your ear:  There is hope, lots of hope. Because after all, despite our current seasons, despite our current circumstances, and despite our physical exhaustion and our internal screaming for identity or belonging, God is good.

GOD. IS. GOOD!

The sun did rise this morning. My eyes did open today. And despite me being tired, I am able to move my body in order to care for my children.  And although I am not able to use it sometimes, I do own a shower.

I have way more to be thankful for than I sometimes acknowledge.I must dig deeper.

I have a bed. A bed I so often don’t want to leave.

I have a home. Not just a physical structure that holds stuff, but also a home that is filled with laughter and young unadulterated joy despite how early the day starts.

And most importantly I have a family.  No matter how many “poopy diapers” I face in one day, or sometimes in one hour, I can smile and be thankful to God for His many blessings that come in many shapes and forms (no pun intended).

I am thankful. I have so much to be thankful for.

Psalm 116 always rings in my ears when I am pondering thankfulness.

While in college, I was a vocal minor that required me to sing many “spirituals” in many different languages. One of my favorites was a German song, entitled, “Dank sei dir, Herr” by George Frideric Handel.  The translation is “Thanks be to thee, Thanks be to thee.” It focuses on how God led His people of Israel through the sea, like a Shepherd, He led them and shielded them. One line states, “Thy hand shielded them in Thy great goodness, unto the end.” If you’ve ever heard the arrangement of the song, you might too fall in love.

I wasn’t aware of my bond with this German hymn until I approached the altar one Thanksgiving season to sing it at a Heritage Bible College chapel service. In the middle of the song there is a long instrumental section and my vocal instructor requested that I read portions of Psalm 116:

“I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits towards me? I will take up the cup of salvation (I rose my cup), and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His people. I will pay my vows to the Lord Now in the presence of all His people, in the courts of the Lord’s house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!”

And there I was, doing exactly as these scriptures state. Visibly lifting up my cup of salvation to the Lord, in the presence of His people, with a thankful heart, remembering all He has done for me. And I was overwhelmed. I stood there, in the middle of this old chapel, with this German hymn, giving thanks to God, and weeping in the presence of His people. And again, He filled me cup.

When we open ourselves up to our Savior, when we acknowledge His goodness, and all that He has done for us, He is faithful to meets us.

He can meet us in the middle of weariness. In the middle of our brokenness, in the middle of our exhaustion, in the middle of our anger, in the middle of our lack of understanding, He can meet us. And as we dig deep for a remembrance of ALL that the Lord has done for us and we muster up a whisper of, “Thank you,” the Spirit of God will rush in like a flood and fill us again.

Because He is able.

Because He is good.

Thanks be to thee, Thanks be to thee.

Amber Thornton is from Virginia Beach, VA and currently resides with her husband and five children in Wilmington, North Carolina, where her husband, Michael, is an Outreach Pastor.  Amber and Michael are co-founders of Ignite Ministries, Inc., a traveling tent ministry, igniting souls and cities for Jesus and helping re-dig the destinies of revival over regions and individuals. While being a wife and a mother are priority to her, Amber longs to fulfill her God given destiny on her life by: Going where God calls her to go, Doing all God calls her to do, and Loving the people God has destined her to love.  Amber loves to spend time in the kitchen cooking and baking, playing the piano, and she enjoys creating beauty though practicing photography with her children around her.

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