Bursting with Gratitude
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness - it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” - Brene Brown
I’ve always been a better communicator through writing than I am through speaking. Especially if I’m having to deal with something that may end up in conflict, I’d much rather write a letter. But even when the moment is a happy one, it just flows better if I can write it. I can put my feelings down on paper so much easier than to pull them from my thoughts and speak them out in a moment’s notice. I’m the one that always thinks of a great come-back after the fact. WAY after the fact. I guess I’m just one of those people who needs time to process their thoughts, feelings and reactions.
As I sit and reflect on this past weekend, I find myself completely overcome with gratitude and thanksgiving. Gratitude is described as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Well, I am definitely ready to show appreciation. I thought about posting a picture here and there with some comments about how thankful I am but it doesn’t seem adequate. There are so many people who helped make this journey possible, and to convey it in an Instagram or Facebook post is just not possible for me. So I decided to dedicate this week’s blog to expressing my heartfelt gratitude, however feeble the attempt. I won’t name any names, (to protect the innocent-just kidding), because there is NO WAY I can take that much room in a blog, and also because I know there are people who have supported and prayed for me whom I’ve never even met, so I couldn’t even mention a name if I wanted to.
It goes without saying, my heart is bursting with gratitude towards my heavenly Father. I honestly feel like Deuteronomy 30:3-4 was written about me: “God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he'll have compassion on you; he'll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered. No matter how far away you end up, God, your God, will get you out of there…” Have you ever felt like your life was just pieces scattered about? Seasons when you felt so broken and couldn’t see how the pieces could be put back together? I have been there, and I can testify today that not only has the Father put the scattered pieces back together, but in His mending He has also erased the pain that accompanied the brokenness. And I remember moments when I was consumed by thoughts that whispered I was so far away from where I was supposed to be in life, so far from what I knew God wanted for me, so far from the plan He had for me. But just like this scripture states, “no matter how far away I ended up, He always came to get me out of there…” Even when I couldn’t see a way, He made a way and faithfully led me out. So my utmost goal in everything I do and say is to bring Him glory. To always point to Him, as He is the great Restorer. I want people to look at my life and find themselves infused with hope in a trust-worthy Father.
The Bible says in Psalms that “promotion comes only from God”. I have certainly seen that to be the case in my life. There have been doors of opportunity He has opened for me, that I could not have made happen on my own. I believe He opens those doors of favor in order to promote the gifts He puts in us, so we can promote Him to a lost and dying world. It’s not about promoting ourselves, but it’s using whatever He has put in our hands as a tool to bring Him glory. The Bible also says our gifts will make way for us and bring us before great men. Again, it’s not about us, but about getting us in a position where we will make the most impact for the Kingdom. I’m thankful for every person that has helped promote this “New” EP, because you are helping me promote Jesus. Thank you. Please find yourself in the paragraph below and know that He has used you mightily to strengthen and encourage me to keep running my race. I pray that He uses me to inspire you to keep running yours.
To people who have known me for many years and have watched this journey close-up, thank you for standing with me and for every word of encouragement and every prayer lifted on my behalf. Thank you to every person who has downloaded my EP on iTunes and to everyone that came out to worship with us at the Night of Worship Sunday night. I’m grateful to everyone who purchased a CD and/or a shirt that night, and stood around waiting to hug me and speak life-giving words to me. I’m grateful to every person who has supported this project either financially or with prayers or just with a simple “you’ve got this, Sharon.” I don’t take any of it lightly, and am humbled that the Lord would use me to minister His life to people. Extreme gratitude to my producers on the EP and everyone who was involved on the project. All of those special people who rallied together with me to prepare for the Night of Worship - thank you for your heart and your willingness to sow your time and talent into the vision. I’m thankful to my Pastors for giving me a platform to share what God has put in my heart, and to my church family for celebrating that with me. To the beautiful ladies who kept the merchandise table running smoothly, I’m amazed by you. Those who were involved in the audio/tech/video for the night - what awesome gifts you bring. Everyone who documented the night with photographs, thank you. To friends and family who traveled long distances just to worship with us and celebrate His goodness, thank you. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by such a beautiful team of people who give of themselves just because it’s who they are. I am truly blessed to know you all.
Friends, I will leave you with this. There is never a point in our lives where we are too far away that God can’t pick up our scattered pieces and restore what we’ve lost. My life speaks of His restoration power and His faithfulness, and for that I will forever be bursting with gratitude.