When Freedom Comes by Thanks

The wind tousles the trees. Shadows sway on the lawn, and all is infused with the coming of autumn. My heart infused with thanks. Thanks for our small garden with red ripe tomatoes. Thanks for the golden hill just beyond our house that I want to run in like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. Thanks for whispers of change in slanted morning light.Joy


IMG_8062At the beginning of summer I felt discontent in my home – so much so, that I thought I needed to move in order to get away from all the shadows in my heart. A neighborhood in a new town sounded ideal. I was tired of being tucked in the trees, away from civilization. I’m sure some of the post-pregnancy hormones played a part in my misery, so that one day I cried an extreme prayer, “Lord, if I live here any longer I’m going to die.”

Later, on my way to pick up the kids from VBS, I listened to a podcast in which the preacher shared a quote by John Knox, the great Scottish reformer, who prayed, “Lord, give me Scotland or I die!”

The Lord replied in his heart, “First die, then I’ll give you Scotland.”

At a red light, I grappled for my ipod and hit pause, allowing the words to settle in my spirit. I didn’t feel them deep inside. I didn’t sense God saying anything loudly. I just knew I’d prayed a similar prayer – except mine was very unspiritual.

And as I thought upon the words of John Knox, I knew the Lord had answered me – not by changing my circumstances, but by showing me to surrender my desire to Him. To choose gratitude, and He’d restore my joy.

Maybe I thought it couldn’t happen in this house, but He was saying it could.

In Matthew 16:24, Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

And this picking up our cross is daily. A daily laying down our lives and our wants – but it’s here in the dying to self, where freedom is lived and enjoyed.

Choosing gratitude in the midst of what I don’t want is a sacrifice.
The Psalmist offered the “sacrifice of thanksgiving,” (Psalm 116:17).

Maybe it seems small and trivial, but the Holy Spirit showed me my need- which was death to self- and then, empowered me to act.

I didn’t feel an instantaneous change, but it came. The reward of joy here on earth and one day, I’ll see the eternal reward in heaven.

And so today, as I listen to the wind, and feel the breeze of autumn’s coming, I welcome change. Not in circumstances, but in my heart.

And my spirit is alive.

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  1. Thank you for always being an encouragement. Even in your trials, you always are seeking the Lord and find a way to bring glory to Him. I love you so much and am so thankful for your friendship. By the way, I would like to come see you run through the hills like Julie Andrews! Maybe I can run with you, haha :)?

    • Haha! Yeah, let’s do it together next time you come up! We can even hold hands :) Thanks so much, friend. You know I love you, too – so very much!

  2. Such a great post Jacqui!
    I know, when it comes down to writing down those things that are making us unhappy, our burdens, it does feel trivial, which adds to the guilt of course! But I always think of that little verse tucked away somewhere in Ecclesiastics I think: “Its the little foxes that ruin the vineyard”. Especially when one is home full time all the time, Satan and self, are simply going to chisel away at what is right there: our home, our kids. I think I have shared before that it was Ann Voskamp’s 1000 gifts book and her teaching on Eucharisteo that finally was the breakthrough of how my complaining of what were actually awesome gifts, and the consequential guilt that ensued, since I knew it was hideous of me, that was triggering many (not all) of my problems. Gratitude is definitely life-altering. So simple and holy.
    Love your photos!

    • Leah, every time I write about giving thanks I think of Ann Voskamp. She’s basically said it all, already, and way better than I can say it. And I love that verse you shared – so, so true. Thanks so much, friend.

  3. My circumstances are hard, and I am learning that I must continue to praise Him and offer thanksgiving through it. For it’s only that my vision will change and I will be able to see beyond my circumstances. Blessings on this Saturday morning my friend.

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