Please And (Mostly) Thank You
There are two simple phrases being highlighted this month in Sunday worship and in our staff blog, “Please” and “Thank You.” Kara Hackert, our Director of Children’s Ministries, is the writer for this holiday week. Thanks to Kara, who begins with a prayer… Pastor Gregg
Thank you, Father, for my family and our times together. Thank you that we get to go to the zoo this weekend. Thank you for the chocolate in my kid’s Halloween bowl. Thank you for being here with me. Thank you for guiding me in my work and my ministry. Thank you that I get to share your love and story every week.
This is my new daily list.
When I cannot sleep, when I feel anxious, when I am driving in the van, I’ve been having these little moments of thankfulness with God. I start listing all that I am thankful for and almost instantly, I breathe slower, and I feel more peaceful, more connected to him.
It all started two months ago at a children’s ministry conference I attended. I had my session classes all picked out and was ready to go. After a great opening of praise and worship, I paused to make plans where to meet colleagues later and headed to my first break-out session. I didn’t realize that the break-outs fill up--and filled up quickly. By the time I got to my first choice, the door was closed with a sign saying “session full” taped to the door. I froze for a second, looked at my map, found where my second choice was, and made a mad dash. I prayed, Please, Father, let the door still be open as I sprinted down the hallway. No. The door was closed when I got there. But, the room next to it had an open door. I glanced at the title “Soul Care” and headed in to find a seat.
Although I could attend my first-choice sessions later in the weekend, I was disappointed. I had my plan made. I knew what I wanted to learn. I forgot for a moment that what I wanted to learn might not be what God wanted me to learn. Where I wanted to be, might not be where God wanted me to be.
So, I took a deep breath and turned my attention to the speaker. He reminded us that we belong to Jesus, that Jesus wants us to set our affections on him, and that Jesus is enough. The speaker said that when we worry and get anxious about the future, we rob ourselves of the peace and communion we can find with God. Instead, he challenged us to say thank you to God every time worry or doubt creeps in. He then gave us time to list everything we were thankful for. He said to just start writing and fill up the page.
I started with the all of the familiar ones: family, time together, my home, good food. And then as I wrote, I branched out as I wrote: Thank you for your story, your protection, your comfort, your grace. Thank you for making me just the way you did and for filling my life with meaning, filling my life with your love, and for filling my life with people that I get to continually share that love with.
The last thoughts I wrote were: Thank you that the other doors were closed. Thank you that I am right where you want me to be.
I needed that reminder most of all. I am right where he wants me to be.
So now, when I start to feel anxious, when I start to worry about what is next, I remember I am right where God wants me to be and I thank him for that. I start my list of thankfulness and feel God’s peace fill me and wrap all around me.
Last week in children’s worship we looked at Psalm 100, a Psalm of Thanksgiving. Verse 5 always stays with me:
“For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
And his faithfulness continues to each generation.”
The Lord is so unbelievably good. He loved me yesterday. He loves me today. He will love me tomorrow.
Thank Father for your faithfulness and for placing me right where you want me.
- Kara Hackert