In Everything Give Thanks!


At the start of each year I often ask the Lord to give me a verse that I can focus on during it.  New Year’s Eve He laid on my heart 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” and gave me an idea for a picture to go with it.

So the next night I ended up in my art room again with the black paint, but this time I was making waves with it until the whole page was covered.   Then I picked up the red paint and started making waves with that, covering over the black until the whole page was filled.  Now the wonderful thing about good paints, when they are layered you often end up with a totally different color!  Was I ever surprised to find my page ended up looking the color of rich soil.

So after I took out my white paint and wrote “In everything give thanks” at the bottom of the page, I mixed up some green and started making squiggly lines on the page – and you know, they ended up looking like a garden with new shoots just starting to poke through!  And as I painted it was on my heart to write under “In everything give thanks”  you never know what the Lord might be growing!

What a thought!  I can’t even begin to tell you the hope and joy that filled my heart!  What an incredible encourager the Lord is!

Do I ever love how He’s meeting me through art journaling giving me a whole new perspective!  This really is a powerful tool for helping to process grief, listen to Him and embrace hope!

And it really is amazing how the pictures help these truths stay with me.

Now you have to know I can barely hear anything in church.  If our pastor didn’t go out of his way to give me his sermons typed out each Sunday, I’d just be sitting there for most of the service.  And while I take my Bible and the Lord is so faithful to meet me through it directly, it can feel very lonely and isolating to be in a large group of people and you’ve no idea what’s going on except when you get to sing words which are on the screens overhead.  That next Sunday our pastor was out of town and after such an intense week it was extra hard to not be able to “hear,” especially when the Scriptures were being read and they weren’t listed in the bulletin so I couldn’t even follow along with that – I felt so shut out!

But then the Lord brought this verse to mind, “In every thing give thanks…” and laid on my heart, instead of being down because of what you can’t hear, why not let this spur you on to be even more thankful that most Sundays you do get to “hear” because of receiving the sermon typed.  Did that ever bring a quick perspective shift!

You see, there’s a new book out by Andrew Davis entitled An Infinite Journey which I’ve just started reading and it has been highlighting for me there are two journeys we are on – one is to help advance God’s kingdom and His gospel, but the other is a journey of personal transformation.  You don’t grow in gratitude by memorizing a verse, but by applying it…

Oh the depths of the wisdom of God!   Does He ever know just what I need to grow and traverse that second journey well!


So close…


When you have a progressive hearing loss periodically you go through times of grieving, where you come face to face with the reality of the things you can no longer do and mourn their loss.  These can be challenging times, not just wrestling with the loss of abilities but also deeper issues – what do you really believe about God, life, your future…  and you don’t get to pick when you deal with all of this!

This year the grief descended right after Christmas.  It’s hard to sit at a table when your son and his fiance are visiting and you can’t hear what they are sharing.  It’s hard to not be able to talk on the phone and even when you Facetime to only catch bits and pieces.  And then there are holiday parties…

On the way home from Jim’s Christmas work party he asked me, “How much could you hear?”  And I responded, “Maybe 10% of what was said the entire evening.  I don’t even know why I go!”  But then he replied, “You know how when people are hurting they say it’s not your words that make a difference, but your presence?  What if it’s your presence that’s making a difference Deb?”  Talk about an encouraging thought!

But still, God has created me to be a relational communicator and both are seriously impacted by my hearing loss.  No getting around that.

For whatever reason, grief came and it wasn’t pretty.  The night before New Years I couldn’t sleep so went into my art room, took out my black paint and painted a sheet of paper black.  But then the Lord brought to mind Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, ” declares the Lord, “Plans to comfort you (some versions say “prosper” – I’ll take both!) and not to harm you.  Plans to give you a hope and a future.”  And I sensed him asking, “Do you believe this Deb?”

So I took some white paint and painted that verse on top of the black.  As I did, a glimmer of hope entered my heart and I was able to go to sleep feeling much more peace than I’d felt all day.

How true it is the Lord is close to the broken hearted, even in our darkest times of struggle.