How can I say thanks for the things You have done for me? This is the first line of a song written by Andre Crouch: To God Be the Glory. Yes, it’s impossible to ever say it enough, but I need to live my life trying.
As I think about living a life of thanksgiving, I can’t help but think of the last month of my sister’s life. She was a woman on the go pretty much till she took her final earthly breath. She’d texted these words to many of us two weeks prior to that day: “I ain’t down yet!” And, she wasn’t.
Kimberly and I had a phone conversation a month before she stepped into eternity that I’ll never forget. I’ll never forget it because she asked me a question that shocked me. It shocked me because it was coming from someone whose life was fading because of terrible cancer. Her question was, “Have you ever felt like God was giving you the desires of your heart?”
I think I kind of stumbled around trying to formulate my answer. I said, “I guess so, but many times those desires aren’t material but spiritual.” I was having trouble with her question because we’d prayed so much for her healing over many years and it wasn’t being answered the way we wanted. That was the main desire of my heart and I know it was hers. And yet it seemed she was living on a different and higher plane than I by asking me that question. Now I can’t help but wonder if she already had one foot in Heaven. She probably did.
Kimberly went on telling me many things God was giving her and doing for her. I was blown away by what she was saying and with the joyful attitude she was saying it. So, I asked her for a favor. I asked if she would write down these blessings in a journal so she could share them in person with me since I was going out to see her soon.
A few days later I got a text from her saying she was just going to text these blessings to me. These are some of the things she wrote the last weeks of her earthly life:
- Today I am SO blessed! This is the day the Lord has made! I’m having coffee in bed. I slept 7 hours!
- Today I’m really resting. I’m in bed with pillows propped up, have a food tray, TV remote in hand that “I” control, Jesus going before me like a hurricane!
- Today I’m headed to Arkansas for a wedding. I got a portable breathing machine. My breathing is 100% better!
- God keeps doing so much for ME minute by minute. “I will sing to the Lord because He has dealt bountifully with me.” God is in control!
- I’m having a fun snack: chocolate chip cookies, lime potato chips.
- Let us rejoice because JOY is in this morning
How was she able to live her last days with this kind of joy and attitude? She was joyfully fighting to live and make it to one of the most important days on her calendar – the wedding of her son. She was fighting not with her own strength but with the strength of her beloved Jesus. At the time she said Jesus was going before her like a hurricane I had no idea what that meant. Now I do. She loved contemporary praise music and the song she must have had on her mind was “Fierce” sung by Jesus Culture.
Before I call
Before I ever cry you answer me
From where the thunder hides
I can’t outrun this heart I’m tethered to
With every step I collide with You.
Like a tidal wave
Crashing over me
Rushing in to meet me here
Your love is fierce
Like a hurricane that I can’t escape
Tearing through the atmosphere
Your love is fierce.
Kimberly experienced Jesus’ powerful love in ways she’d never known before. She had spiritual eyes that could see the Lord Jesus at work in her life during the most difficult journey she’d ever taken. She found joy in that last leg of her journey because of His love – the most powerful energy there is in the Universe.
We can never say thank you enough to the One who gave His all so that we can really live. But we can live trying. It makes a difference in the way we look at our yesterdays. It makes a difference in the way we view today. It makes a difference in the way we view our tomorrow.
Thanksgiving allows joy to take over instead of despair. With the apostle Paul we can say, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”