All month, I’ve been watching friends on social media share, each day, what they’re thankful for. They’re thankful for hot cocoa, macaroni and cheese, a good babysitter for date night with their husband (for whom they are also thankful). I’ve enjoyed watching these little thankfulness laundry lists. They remind me to be thankful, as well, for the small and not-so-small things in my life. For my family and my friends (who are often more like family to me than ‘only’ friends). For Reese’s Pieces and Kleenex while I’m sick. For a puppy that curls up in my lap when I don’t feel good and could really use a hug. But when it came time to sit down and write a blog post about gratitude, I felt I had to dig deeper.
What am I REALLY grateful for? What is it that I’m so grateful for that when I think of it, I am so grateful that I can’t help but weep?
And here it is:
I am grateful for a God who holds me in the darkest watches of the night.
My darkest night began on an afternoon when I was about eight years old and some of the neighborhood boys began to sexually abuse me. For years to follow, I would lie awake each night, fearing and reliving and trying to forget. The shadows were ferocious and the nights were long and hard and lonely.
In those years, I didn’t know the God Who had held me and created me in the palm of His hand, in the workroom of Heaven. I didn’t know that He had written my name on His hand and promised never to forget me. I didn’t know that He knows the number of hairs on my head and the swirls and whorls that are my fingerprints. I didn’t know that He catches each of my tears and keeps them in a bottle.
When did I first realize that He was there in the night? I can’t quite remember. But now, some of my most precious times are when I’m alone, in the silent dark and hear Him whispering my name.
I learned a long time ago that life isn’t simple or painless. Bad things happen to the good and the innocent. The Bible says that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. But above all—He is there.
And for that, I am truly grateful.