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I’m thankful. I’m thankful in large ways and in small ways. I’m thankful in loud ways and in quiet ways. I’m thankful in ordinary ways and in spectacular ways.

I’m thankful.

I’m thankful for yesterday and for the lessons it taught me. For the easy ones that were like sipping lemonade on a hot summer afternoon. I was very gracious with those lessons. In fact, I was a perfect lady. I wore a flowery dress, put on white gloves and carried a sporty purse. Inside that purse I even had a hand-embroidered hankie. I smiled at the proper times and agreed to change certain things about myself.

I’m thankful for the hard lessons, too, although they were more like trying to walk on ice with crutches during a white-out blizzard in the dead of night. Less gracious in learning these lessons, I wore my old blue jeans, mud-encrusted boots, and wiped my nose on my shirt sleeve. Less genteel and more in the kicking-and-screaming mode most of the time, I may have occasionally sported a sneer.

But the hard lessons are the ones that dropped me to my knees and drove me to prayer. They made me examine my life and cry out for help. In fact, often my prayer was simply, “Help, Lord.”

I’m thankful for that. Talking with the Lord is always a good thing. Crying out to him, while kicking and screaming, is still communication. He, of course, is always the truly gracious one. He listens with love and compassion and then offers correction with love and compassion.

Yes, most of the best lessons I’ve learned were by far the hardest ones. The ones I do not forget. The ones that taught me how to live. Who to lean on. Who to put my trust in. Not people, like I had a tendency to do, but the Lord.

Something unexpected and wonderful that happens as we follow the Lord is that he gives us that special peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and joy (Psalm 30:5b) that only he can give. Others who do not know him cannot understand such calm in the midst of chaos. They know there’s something different, but they don’t understand. That’s when our lives following the Lord can be the best Gospel message of all.

All the lessons, the easy ones and the hard ones, have one thing in common. My pride and stubbornness got in the way. Once in a while, they still do. I have to watch for that. In fact, I regularly ask the Holy Spirit to search me and point out the areas in which I need to improve. Those places where I am presently falling short. I pray for God’s will to reign over my own will. He knows what’s best and also wants the best for me. If I seek him and trust him, he’ll lead me where he wants me to go. I’m thankful for that.

In an uncertain world with changing laws, morals, customs, and beliefs, one thing never changes. It’s the Creator of heaven and earth. The Lord God Almighty. The Alpha and the Omega. The Beginning and the End. He says in the Bible in Malachi 3:6, “For I am the LORD, I change not.” In Hebrews 13:8 it reads, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

I’m so incredibly thankful for that.

I’m thankful for today. Another day of life. Another opportunity to serve the Lord. Another chance to reach out to those who do not know Him. Oh, they may have heard of the Lord, but they don’t follow Him. It’s like you’re on a cruise. You’re having a wonderful time, but then you suddenly and accidentally fall overboard. You’re in deep water dog paddling. No one sees you. You’ve heard of a life raft, but you don’t know it well. You’ve heard others talk about it as a life-saving device, but you’ve never seen one. Then one appears out of nowhere. You can either grab onto it with all you might and be saved, or ignore it and drown. In this life, we are all one heartbeat, one breath, one accident away from eternity. We all must decide. Do we hold onto Jesus, our lifesaver or do we drown?

I’m thankful for tomorrow. I’m thankful that even if my tomorrow here on earth comes to an end, I have tomorrow and eternity in heaven. So whether I live another day or not, I live in hope.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

I’m thankful.

Kathy Yoder is a devotional writer. She may be reached at kathyyoder4@gmail.com.

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