How Do I Say Thanks?
by Angela West
Where do I begin?
Do I start when I found out I was pregnant and not married? Do I start when my marriage was falling apart? Do I start when I knew he was cheating? Do I start when I was almost raped at 14 and again at 30? Do I start when my house was broken into and I was assaulted? Do I start when I almost died in a car accident in 2004? Do I start when I redeployed from Iraq, coming back to a home condemned, bank account emptied, no car, no job, and no love? Do I start when all I had was a blow up mattress, my dog, and my clothes? Do I start when I was in over my head in debt? Do I say thanks for three miscarriages, and doubt that I can never have kids? Do I say thanks for Systemic Lupus? Do I say thanks for losing all of my hair and my confidence? Do I say thanks for bullets flying over my head and past my face while I was in Iraq?
What kind of question is this, how do I say thanks? Thanks for all the times I was left for dead under someoneís car. Thanks for the emotional scars deep in my core that enraged me to act out in sexual behavior and to self-destruct. Years of bad choices in men while separated from my husband. Thanks for the divorce that left me lonely at nights and crying out for a manís affection and touch no matter how I got it or how long it lasted. Do I say thanks for believing that because of my past I feel I will never find my mate? Or how about the weight gain from the steroids. What man will want me now?
Thank you for abandoning me when I needed you the most. I took away my growing pains with alcohol. I pacified my hurt, doubt and sorrow in myself with pleasures of the flesh. How can I say thanks? When I was so angry inside. I didnít know how to survive, but I made everyone around me think I was ok. My mask of horror hiding behind the laughs, the smiles, the hugs.
How can I say thanks?
By getting mad at myself to end the destruction. To be accountable for my actions, to be responsible in my decisions. To protect my body from harm. To gain nourishment from your word. To surround myself with people who care about my well-being. To praise your name even when I canít see my way out. To rejoice in every moment and opportunity you have given me to stay on the path of righteousness.
To fully and completely surrender my life to you. Thank you. Thank you, for the reality check with my divorce, showing me that the man I wanted to be with was not the man you promised me. Thank you for allowing me to embrace my gift of singleness, for I have all the time to serve you and grow as your child. Always seeking your face. The marriage and children I seek will be given to me, your promises show me and taught me that I shall not want, for you will always have provision and your grace will always be present in my life. Thank you for the VA disability percentage from my Lupus claim that was back paid an entire year and allowed me to be delivered from debt within a day. Thank you for knowing every hair on my head and allowing the growth to cover my scalp once again.
Though I am left with scars I will never forget how you gave me back my confidence of my inner beauty not just the outer. Thank you for not giving up on me, helping me transition from sinner to soldier to civilian to Christian. Thank you for the new car I now have, that provides me the ability to do your work. Thank you for humbling me when I had nothing, that now that I have everything I can share with others and never forget where you brought me from. Thanks for the men who hurt me, for they taught me what kind of woman I do not want to be. As a child of Christ I have learned to love myself.
How can I say thanks?
Isaiah 43:2-3 says when you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burned up. The flames will not consume you, for I am the Lord your God, the Holy one of Israel, your savior.
I say thanks, for being my Father, that even in my mess and mistakes you caught me with your love, kindness, faithfulness and forgiveness. You never left me. You stayed by my side fighting for me. I say thanks for my new life, and with your grace and mercy I will serve you.
So Lord, this is how I say thanks.