Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

Gratitude & Hope

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27: 13, NKJV)

“I knew calling you would make me smile.” I grin, listening to him flirt with me as I drive. More than the mere routine of letting him know I am heading home, I look forward to his jokes and the jovial lightness that greets me through the speakerphone. He laughs and proceeds to lay his playful banter on even thicker. And I giggle, allowing the day to fade, like the images in the rearview mirror, as I press my way toward home.

“Now, tell me about your day,” he commands.

I hesitate, not wanting to go back there. “Let me start with this,” I begin after a protracted silence. “So much has happened that the earliest parts do not even feel like they occurred today.” I perceive my body stiffening in the seat as I waffle between dumping the load of my day into his lap or staying in the blissful mist of being glad to have my husband waiting for me to walk through the door. I decide to lean into gratitude. “This morning you prayed that I ‘walk in my power, the power of God,’ and as I look back on this day, His power was surely working because everything that came up, we handled. I am thankful for that!”

There are days, Friend, where the world seems to pile obstacle after obstacle high on a plate and force you to eat every bitter forkful. There are moments when you look back over the landscape of the day from the vantage point of making it through that you question, “Is this the life I really want to live?” In times like these, two primary reactions are set before us: We can choose to wallow in self-pity, resentment, and anger, or we can choose joy.

The most sorrowful people I know routinely decide to sit on a dunghill of despair. Their problems are real and their concerns are valid, but their perspective is peppered with a pessimism and hopelessness that permeates from their pores. It’s infectious and dank, and as unappealing as it may be, those near them may find themselves ensnared in a web of negativity and gloom they cannot escape, and sadder still is when that disconsolation latches onto the unsuspecting other, who then begins, sometimes intently and other times without awareness, to pollute his own pool of unwitting victims.

This life is hard, overwhelming, and tiresome, but I refuse to bow out of it a loser. I don’t know if in the next second God will call me home or if I have another 40 years to live, but I do know some things for sure. While I’m here, circumstances and turmoils will not suck the life from me. I believe I was created for purpose. I believe there is yet still light for me to let shine. I believe that I have been placed exactly where I am “for such a time as this!” And as a result, I elect to be grateful. I decide to live dangerously and defy the oversaturation of cynicism and bleakness with radical faith in God. And when I am weak, I choose to run to the Word of God and hear wise counsel who check me and correct me in love that I may be encouraged, edified, and equipped for the next leg of the journey. While I am not perfect in my walk or even in my heavenly perspective, I serve a perfect Savior, who stands in the gap for me and every believer. So I choose to be grateful, and I follow the advice of the Hebrew author: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10: 23, NKJV).

Be grateful, Friend, for the hope of the Lord!

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