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In this time of flux and uncertainty, when our nation and our neighbors are in turmoil, searching for peace and prosperity or just a chance to catch a breath, you remain constant and sovereign.
You are King over our sorrows as well as our joys. You are Lord over all that concerns us in the daytime, all that keeps us awake at night, all that drives us to our knees. In that, we can rest and trust and renew our strength. In that, in your sovereignty, we can give you thanks.
Thank you, Lord, that you never say, "Oops." Nothing surprises you, nothing is out of your control. Nothing is too hard for you, no sin you won't forgive, no sinner you won't welcome home.
Thank you, Lord, for welcoming this sinner home.
Thank you, Lord, for my church, for thoughtful and intelligent pastors who lead with humility. Thank you for their transparency and vulnerability and for the grace to say, "In this church, the biggest sinner is me."
Thank you, too, for church members whose selfless service to one another mirrors Christ's compassion, which inspires me to want to be more like them. More like you.
Thank you for co-workers who are friends, for lunches at El Ranchito and 4 p.m. walks. Thank you for conversations about cute shoes and troublesome moms, life and food, our work and sometimes even our faith.
Thank you, Lord, for the toothbrush and toothpaste left out on the bathroom counter, the smell of mineral spirits and the kitchen trashcan (missing a liner) because that means my husband is home and alive and well.
Thank you for Sunday drives and Saturday night video trivia, for red bowls of popcorn, "Welcome to Moe's!" and bike rides on the trail.
Lord, you continually surprise me with your kindness and your mercy. You remain faithful when I'm not, and I'm not - a lot.
You continually call me to be still before you, and I run. You tell me to ask you for what I need and want, yet I'm forever attempting to answer my own prayers.
You thwart my puny schemes and frustrate my deceptive manipulations. And then when I raise my fist in anger, you reach down from heaven and pull me close to you.
Who are you that you would allow your creation to rail against you? You are holy, yet kind, majestic yet merciful, all-powerful yet all-compassionate.
Sometimes, like in the mornings as the sun barely peeks over the horizon and the sky turns from melon and fuchsia to streaks of violet and then to azure blue, I gasp. You could have decorated the world in shades of sepia or gray, but you chose vibrant colors - you created the world with an exclamation point!
Thank you, Lord, for crashing ocean waves, the exuberant dance of a Jack Russell terrier, the squeal of pink baby pigs.
Thank you for the sweetness of a roasted yam, the crunch of a kosher dill pickle, the fizz of a cold Diet Coke. Thank you for cheesy grits and cheesy grins, for awe and wonder, silence and solitude, for rose-colored lipgloss and that my name is written on your hand.
Life is often hard, Lord, but you are always good. Your mercy is often severe, yet your grace is always more than enough.
Thank you, Lord, for your greatness, your bigness, your all-mightyness. You, who hold the universe in your hand and allow no random molecule to escape your notice, also hold me.
In this insane world, you are saneness and stability, truth and wisdom. You are tranquility and peace, consistency and safety.
Your arms are big enough to encompass me as well as all those I love - and your heart is even bigger. You are too wonderful to comprehend. All I have, all I am, I owe to your hand of blessing. This I know well.
Any thanks I may have to offer you seems inadequate at best, and even that comes first as a gift from you. So, I give you my gift, my thanks and my praise. It's not nearly enough, but it's all that I have.
Be merciful to me, a grateful sinner, your grateful child.