Thanksgiving Keeps Me Close to God

This week, I experienced a striking healing which was so clearly the Holy Spirit. I’ll share the story someday but I think it best fits into the context of all the struggles, all the ways God helped me grow, leading up to it. So I’ll save it for later.

This week I have been absolutely overwhelmed by thanksgiving–and not just because of the holiday named for it. Thanksgiving for healing, for Abba doing something so beautiful and radical in me, for the priest who prayed over me, for Silvio, for my family, for this cozy cabin my family lives in, for the life Abba has given me and the circumstances He’s put me in. This week I have even more obvious reasons than I generally do to be overwhelmed with thanksgiving. But I always have endless reasons.

I try to always be in a constant habit of thanking Abba. When I do have this habit, I am closest to Him. I can tell a tremendous difference. But sometimes I’m not so good at it. And then I’m more likely to get stuck in a cycle of self-pity, at which point I’m certainly not focused on Abba’s presence in an accurate way or His goodness to me. And once I’m there, it’s so much harder to get back to a cycle of thanksgiving.

Today I read in Mark 14 where Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane with His disciples and He tells them, “You will all fall away.” This applies to me, to all of us. I fall away all the time. At this moment, that’s hard for me to imagine because I am so excited about what Abba has done in me lately and how close I feel to Him. I feel like Peter: “Even if all fall away, I will not.” But the fact is, there are always ups and downs. Life won’t always be filling me up from every angle and I won’t feel naturally close to Abba all the time without trying. But there is one thing I can do, which, if I keep very disciplined, will keep me from falling away: keep thanking Him for everything. The people I love, the things that make me grow, beauty, His closeness to me whether I feel it or not, and also the people and things I struggle with. Just thank Him. It always keeps me close and even makes me feel better on a natural human level. It is sometimes a challenge, even an overwhelming burden to start, but it always is worth it.

“For the mountains may go away and the hills may totter, but my faithful love will never leave you, my covenant of peace will never totter, says Yahweh who takes pity on you.” – Isaiah 54:10. He is ALWAYS there for me. It is completely my choice to stay close to Him, and thanking Him constantly will not fail to keep me there.

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