It's a question I've asked dozens of times in the last year. Once again yesterday morning the words tumbled from my mouth. It had been a rough two weeks when getting on top of the pain and confusion had taken more effort than usual and the "ups" weren't nearly as up as I had hoped, and they had not lasted very long.
I stared at Ann Voskamp's book on my coffee table. One Thousand Gifts. I had not made it to a thousand, and I couldn't remember when I had blogged about my gratitidue. In the last six months there had been so much pain and loss, and my gratitude was over such insignificant things such as hitting the green light when I was running later than I had intended or thanking God that dishes left in the sink did not make the world come to a halt. Petty things. Nobody really wanted to hear those.
But, they were my life preservers. They were the things that kept my head above water when I felt like everything else was caving down. They were...important to me.
The house got to hopping, and the thoughts were lost.
This morning I woke up to an email from a precious new friend a world away.
Hi JerriI woke up this morning thinking about you and God gave me a picture. So, here goes: I woke up and started praying for you and God gave me a picture of Paul and Silas in prison. Although the bible doesn't fill the story out you could imagine them thinking about the unfairness of it and wondering why? how? where is God in this? But the bible doesn't say that. It says that they sang praises to God and miraculously the prison door burst open and they were set free.I feel God is saying you are in a prison of emotional hurt and pain brought on by all you have been going through. He wants you to sing praise to Him and not ask why? What have I done to deserve this? how long? where is all the support? He wants you to praise Him and HE will miraculously break open that prison door. It doesn't say in the bible how long they were in prison before the doors broke open. Thats the tough bit. Its also not a logical solution according to the world. But in faith, Jerri, despite what you feel, by an act of your will, start doing it, even if you don't feel like it.
Confirmation from a world away.
And a reminder...and a love note.
"Jerri, I so want you out of this dark place that I am telling you again. The key is praise. I'm not condemning you for forgetting. I know the darkness can obscure the light, so I'm sending the answer again because I want you free. I want you out of the prison. I'm fighting for you...reaching out to you...in this with you."
I considered the prison I had been in, the one I struggled with for 19 years, and the key God was giving me out, the powerful message He was sending, not just for the struggle of the last two weeks but the truth of a lifetime.
An hour later my friend Lisa sent me an email telling me what the Lord spoke to her when she prayed for me yesterday.
"I keep thinking about Paul and Silas..."I laughed out loud.
"Jerri, do you get how much I am reaching in or how much I want to get you out? Grab hold of me. I am the answer."
I get it, Lord.
Thank you...for reaching in...for not letting go...for being here...now...with me...
And thank you for...
961. Anna's creativity--the newly decorated guest room is stunning
962. The ability to paint and redo the guest room
963. Robert's piano playing....my word...
964. Tracy...a world away but so close to Your heart whose courage to share Your word with me blesses me more than words can say
966. Sweet texts that give me a smile...especially right before I go to sleep
967. Brian Hearn, who always sees the anointed side of me
968. Painting with a Twist
969. Vanesa Stenberg...I could write a novel
970. A good night's sleep
971. Scott helping with the ceiling fan
972. Rae and her huge heart
974. Tina Cox and the others at my insurance company
975. Val Roach, who sees and understands and has incredible patience
976. Lisa Buffaloe, who calls from Idaho because she can't sit with me here
978. Amelia the Brave, who likes the same things I do
979. Morning moments with Robert
980. Mowing yards
982. Forney Fire Department
983. Forney Wallgreens
984. The Cavalry
985. A new book
987. Giving thanks
988. Ann Voskamp
989. Coffee with sugar
990. Sharilyn reminding me that healing is in progress, stay on the trail
991. Wendy and friend love. Really.
992. John--NP0s, C-collars, non-rebreather masks, and re-inflating my ego
993. Anna's signature--"Singer, Actress, and All Around People Lover (That means YOU)"
994. Danny and Paige Granberry and the light being on for us
995. LDS church teaching people to serve and being the feet and hands of Jesus...even to those not in their church
996. Men's groups who trim limbs and fix floors
997. A REALLY GREAT DAY
998. Lori Moore and her prophetic encouragement
999. Being a blessing
1000. Being "a saint"
1001. Kenneth and Joy Jordan
1002. Texts from Kenneth
Me: We had a really great day.
Kenneth: *clinches fist with arm outstretched then pulls to his side* YESSS!
1003. Temperatures in the 60s
1004. Learning the in the hard places
1005. A good van
1006. Text messaging
1007. Emails from all over the world
1008. Infinite gifts
And thank you for sharing and rejoicing with me.
Blessings to you as you enjoy YOUR gifts.