Give Thanks with a Broken Heart

A photo I snapped on our walk today.  Someone small who fills me with BIG gratitude!
A photo I snapped on our walk today. Someone small who fills me with BIG gratitude!

Today I was overcome by gratitude.  It came from the most surprising place.  Not from sunny toddler dispositions or sudden good news.  Instead it peeked its head out of broken-heartedness.  Have I mentioned that lately I’ve been a little brokenhearted?  I’ve been reading Psalm 23, wondering how God would refresh and restore my soul in this season.  I think I expected Him to refresh it with joy, and instead He refreshed it with sorrow.  He gave me a glimpse into the lives of two women relentlessly pursuing Jesus in the reality of their suffering.  One of them prayed over me in a parking lot.  The other touched me through a computer screen.

You will probably never meet the beautiful woman who loved me like Christ in a parking lot.  But you can meet Larissa, the one who touched me via technology.  I heard her story for the first time last year, but watched it again today when it ran through my Facebook feed.  This time I found her blog and cried as I stepped into her world–a world so different, and yet so similar, to mine.  Larissa is married to Ian, the love of her life who suffered a traumatic brain injury while they were dating.  I was moved by their video (posted below), but even more so by their blog.  While the video shares the big moment of their wedding, the blog shares all the hundreds of small moments to follow.  The small battles for contentment, faith, and gratitude in the wake of tremendous loss.  I’ve never been closely related to someone with significant disabilities, yet Larissa’s journey to see God in the reality of her life is so like my own.

As today wore on, I found myself overflowing with thankfulness.  I praised God for using believers to refresh the hearts of one another (Philemon 1:7).  I praised Him for messy lives that bring Him great glory.  For His never-ending love.  For the hot water in my shower and the pillow on my bed.  It’s like my eyes were opened, and everywhere I looked I saw thanksgiving.  A garment of praise instead of despair, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a crown of beauty instead of ashes (Isaiah 61:3).  Isn’t God incredible?  Who else could pour sorrow over sorrow and turn it into joy?

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4 thoughts on “Give Thanks with a Broken Heart

  1. Jeanne, You wisely know where to go with the brokenness and need. Your description of how these two women ministered to you is uplifting and well worth sharing. Praying for refreshment daily as you continue to mother, encourage your husband, and look to the Lord for each step of your life.

  2. Thank you for this opportunity to not only see marriage in a different light, but to remember to thank God in every storm, every sunny day, and every moment I am given. What a blessing your sight has been in my life, thank you for being willing to share your life so others may become closer to their Father, giver of life and all things good!

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