“Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.”
This verse always rattles me. It haunts me. I see it written on so many rustic farmhouse plaques and platters this time of year; cutely written in perfect cursive as we walk into a seasonal celebration dinner. In my mind, this is depicting people with palm fronds and joy covered faces – shouting praise and thankfulness to God. Their hair is also perfectly beautiful. It’s an impossible picture to imagine myself a part of. That is not me.
It’s hard to be thankful and praise God in the darkness. Not just a storm that hits suddenly, and for a season, but the pervasive, unending darkness that so often rides beside me. It’s hard to even see God, much less come close enough to Him to enter His courts with praise and palm fronds.
And then, like I am wont to do, I feel guilty. Why can I not easily see the things in my life that I should be Thankful for? Why is my constant reaction to see the negative, the downside, the impending disaster?
I, unfortunately, don’t have an answer.
I do however, know that God Loves me just the same. And when I remember that, I send up a tiny prayer of thankfulness. Thankful that His Grace is sufficient to make up for my shortcomings.
And once I’ve made that tiny prayer, it’s easier to make myself think on it a little longer, it snowballs into a bit more:
Thankful that He has given me friends that walk beside me and encourage me.
Thankful that I found peace about medication to help me.
Thankful that I didn’t give in to that pervasive darkness the oh-so-many-times I considered it.
Thankful that I have found my voice.
Hopeful that it may help someone else.
And just like that, He is close to me, and I am Thankful. It’s not fancy, or with perfect cursive swirls, my hair isn’t done and in 15 seconds I’ll be worrying about something else, overwhelmed and distracted. I still have my depression beside me, and my anxiety on the other side. I haven’t suddenly become victorious over my mental health issues.
But I am Thankful.