Life

Thankful: 25 reasons for my heart to sing

Happy (day after) thanksgiving! What a wonderful day filled with great food, family and sunshine. I sometimes catch myself complaining about having 80 degree Thanksgivings, but then I remember 1) I love sunshine and 2) life is just too dang beautiful to complain. 🙂 The homemade turkey and mashed potatoes on real china was certainly an upgrade from my typical chips and salsa on a Dixie plate in my dorm room. Even better than the food, though, was the company I shared it with. Being away from home makes me appreciate my family so much more than ever. I relished all the laughter that filled the dining room last night, whether it was in response to one of my grandma’s stories of Alaska, or because of our traditional card game of 31, or just reminiscing on fond memories. Ahh, sweet day.

As I finished my quiet time this morning, my heart swelled with thankfulness. Not because life is perfect and I’m always happy, because that’s so far from the truth. Honestly, I went into my quiet time with a lot of doubt and anxiety. My soul had been going through a bit of a dry patch, and I was just feeling eh. I felt my mind racing and felt like my soul was being pulled in all different directions. I prayed, “God, I’m struggling right now. That spark in my heart for you feels like it’s being blown out. I know You’re good, You’ve proved it to me over and over again. I just want to be so secure in You again, and right now I’m struggling to trust You with it all.” Here’s where it gets good. Sometimes when I do my quiet time, I’ll turn on the “Praise and Worship” playlist on Spotify and just have that playing in the background. My eyes shifted to 1 Thessalonians 3:3, which reads, “so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well you were destined for them.” It was then that I looked up, reflecting on those words, that I tuned into the music playing in the background.

Even when it hurts like hell, I’ll praise You.
Even when it makes no sense to sing, louder then I’ll sing Your praise.                                                        -Even When It Hurts, Hillsong United

Even when life gets tough and I feel dismayed, God has me in the palm of His hand and has intentionally set me on a unique path of life. He has gone before me, and He works in mighty ways. He is ever faithful, and the Prince of Peace meets me right in the midst of my struggles, and today was no exception.

Your love surrounds me when my thoughts wage war. -Prince of Peace, Hillsong United

My thoughts were waging war, being tugged in what seemed like a million directions, and He met me right there and enveloped me in a Peace that only comes from Him. And for that reason, my heart is so utterly full of thanksgiving for His patience, love, tenderness, and faithfulness towards me.

In this spirit of thanksgiving, I’ve decided to make a list of 25 things I am thankful for.

  1. Sunshine. The promise of new day. Also, vitamin D comes from the sun, and vitamin D makes you happy; therefore sunshine equals happiness 🙂
  2. Mom and Dad. I love you guys more than I could ever express.
  3. My brother. I can’t even imagine my life without you. You are and always will be my very best friend.
  4. Health. I look at where I was 6 months ago, and I praise the Lord that He put certain people and certain doctors in my path to help me recover from the gut issues that had plagued me for years.
  5. Legs. I can run. I can walk.
  6. The ability to read and write. I think that’s something I take for granted far too often. It’s a blessing.
  7. Dark chocolate.
  8. All my past and present teachers and professors. Thank you for introducing me to new knowledge and new ways of thinking.
  9. My roommate. I’m so thankful for our friendship–I can’t imagine my freshman year of college without you!
  10. Seven Rivers. You are family to me.
  11. The clearance rack.
  12. Florida State University. ‘Nole and proud.
  13. Humor. Laughter is the best.
  14. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It’s my favorite devotional at the moment and it has transformed my quiet times. The verses for each day always either are or lead me to exactly what my heart needs to hear.
  15. My Bible study. I never would have thought that I would make such close friends in such a short amount of time. I love you all and I’m so thankful for your friendships and your love and encouragement! You guys have made FSU home to me 🙂
  16. The USA. In all the craziness that’s been going on in this country, I am proud to live in America, and I am so thankful for the freedoms I have.
  17. A roof over my head and food in my stomach. Another thing I continually take for granted. Thank you, Lord, for providing.
  18. Music. It has a way of conveying emotion when words alone can’t.
  19. All of my family. Grandma H, Grandma T, aunts, uncles, and cousins, I’m so thankful that you are in my life. Though I don’t get to see you as often as I’d like, I think about you all the time and I love you all so very much.
  20. The FSU Navs. I can confidently say that you all have made such an incredible impact on my life in just the few months I’ve known you all. You are the most loving and welcoming community I think I’ve ever met, and I am so thankful that God placed you all in my life!
  21. Coffee. I really, really like my coffee.
  22. Creativity and uniqueness. I admire that every single person has a different way of looking at the world. It reflects a most artistic Creator.
  23. Reunion. The sweetness of reconnecting with someone I haven’t seen in a while is cheeks-hurt-smile worthy.
  24. Challenges. I would not be who I am today without those points in my life where I couldn’t see the end, where I felt hopeless and insecure. Coal does not become a diamond without pressure. “See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” -Isaiah 48:10
  25. The Cross. My solace, my hope. What once was ugly and scorned, Jesus has made a beautiful promise of salvation and peace. He has paid the ransom for my sin, and has covered me in His righteousness. Not because of what I have done, but because out of His wonderful love He CHOSE to give me that gift. And for that I am eternally grateful.

I hope you all had a beautiful thanksgiving day! There is so much to be thankful for!

Love always,

Shannon

 

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