“Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth…”
Last night I decided to brave the rain. I grabbed the woven basket I used for shopping and drove to the produce market. It’s a small family owned store with big tables and bins of fresh fruits and vegetables. The first thing I notice when I walked was the delicious smells! The sweetness of the fruits at the entrance was heady and rich, an intoxicating blend that no perfume could ever match.
As I walked among the tables, I marveled at the different shapes, colors, textures and sizes of the fruits and vegetables. I picked up the produce I wanted and held it in my hand, appreciating it’s beauty and nutrition that would fuel my body. Suddenly, in the midst of the little store, I felt God’s presence in a big way. I smiled. “I know you are here,” I whispered as I pushed my cart past the avocados. I looked at the faces of the strangers around me. I made eye contact with an elderly woman, and she grinned at me as if we both knew we were seeing the God in each other. I nodded to her, acknowledging our little secret.
I made my selections and paid. I decided not to pull up the hood on my coat as I walked to my car. I wanted to feel the rain wash over my skin. I looked down at the beautiful food in my basket and felt incredibly happy to be alive, to be a part of God’s glorious world. I drove home with a prayer of thanksgiving on my lips and a deep peace in my heart. His abundance is so awesome.
“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”
~2 Corinthians 9:15
My garden needed tending today. I sat on the ground and pushed a trowel deep into the dirt, liberating spent summer annuals from the soft earth. Soon, I’ll plant spring bloomers to fill the barren spaces. The air was delightfully crisp, the sky so blue that it appeared as if someone had painted it.
My thoughts turned to my challenges ahead. As I tried to work out solutions for them in my mind, God tapped me on my shoulder. “Don’t think about the things you fear,” He encouraged me. “Just be glad you are here.”
“Thank you, for reminding me,” I said and plunged my trowel deep into the earth again. It’s a waste of my time and energy to worry about the future. I’m here, right now. That is all that matters.
I looked at the beauty all around me in the garden. I felt the winter’s sun on my skin. I felt the breeze brush past me. What a gift, this breath, this heartbeat. I’m here! So are you. Today, don’t think about the things you fear, just be grateful that you are here.
For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
“You’re a runner,” my daughter told me years ago. I knew what she meant. I ran from anything that scared me. When I couldn’t physically get away—I’d swallow some distance—pushing my fears down to the bottom of a wine bottle. I had other exit strategies as well, none of them healthy. All of that changed when I traded in my running shoes for faith in God. With God’s help, I turned towards the things that scared me and embraced them. By stepping into my fears, instead of stepping around them, I found compassion and forgiveness. I learned to love people who had hurt me and I learned to love myself. Most importantly, I learned how to love God.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving today, I encourage you to hold God’s hand and turn towards the things that scare you. Embrace them. Step into them. Be thankful for them, for they hold great gifts. You may not be able to see the gifts now, but they are there. God will reveal them to you.
Of course, I am grateful for my many blessings: my family, my friends, my Soul Reminders readers, and my benzo buddies—but I am most grateful for the lessons I’ve learned from facing the things that scare me. That is where God showed me how immense He is. That is where He introduced me to my true self, the person He created me to be.