A phone call yesterday morning delivered the news my friend’s home had burnt down in the middle of the night. She and her husband barely escaped with only the clothes they’d worn to bed. Thankfully, their children had spent the night elsewhere.
Everything else was lost. Everything.
I knew I had to immediately get to my friend. But, I was an emotional wreck. Driving the thirty minutes to get to her through the tears was going to be a challenge.
Mandi had given me the address where I could find her. With hands shaking and emotions trembling, I plugged it in to my GPS. Halfway there, I realized the sound was muted on Gertie (the GPS). I fumbled with the touchscreen volume and awaited assistance from her familiar and friendly voice. But, I was greeted with a thick, Hungarian-sounding ”Draai links in een myl.”
I knew immediately Gertie had been the victim of translation tampering. By my teenager. I envisioned Camden quietly giggling with Gertie, changing her language from English to Afrikaans.
And I busted out laughing.
At that moment of tense anguish, headed into the uncharted territory of bringing comfort to a friend who’d lost everything besides her family, I’d forgotten the truth.
…Do not sorrow. For the joy of the LORD is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
It is HIS joy. The Lord’s joy is my strength. And Mandi’s strength.
Here and now on the heels of running from an inferno engulfing a home. Her home.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
In everything. In the smoldering cinders. In possessions becoming ashes. In children losing pets to a fiery blaze. In sentimental memories going up in flames.
Whoever sacrifices a thank offering honors Me, and whoever orders his conduct, I will show him the salvation of God. (Psalm 50:23)
When I arrived and wrapped Mandi up in my love, I didn’t have to remind her of thanks living.
She reminded me.
Mandi shared her joy of having a family. Her eyes were on what she did have. Her heart was in tune with a melody of grace. She uncovered eucharisteo in ashes. Thanksgiving in loss.
On Mondays, those who are seeking to walk in gratitude share multitudes of blessings. We’ve accepted a challenge.
A dare to live fully right where we are.
My multitudes this day…
A friend who can live fully though her material possessions are emptied
A family who escaped blazes and finds thanksgiving in their heavy hearts
A church who immediately meets the needs of the hurting
The warmth of love finding its way in to a winter loss
The joy of the Lord bringing strength in weakness
A teenager who lives life with vreugde (that’s joy…in case you don’t speak Afrikaans) and who reminded his mom, through a GPS, to live life fully
For more inspiration on living life fully and with the practice of thanks living: