Encouragement life lessons

Turn Back to Praise

January 15, 2014

There’s a story in the Bible about 10 men who were healed. They all had leprosy. They all cried out for Jesus to have pity on them. They all walked away clean. Only one turned back to say thank you. I don’t know if it’s because I have a child of my own who I would do anything for or if it’s because I’ve seen Jesus do more amazing things than I ever thought possible. But whatever the reason, this story has been on my mind constantly.

I think about it when I pick Brynna up from school and all 20 kids leave, the product of their teacher’s outpouring of herself into them. Does she stand there in the wake somedays and wonder “do they realize what it takes to keep order with 4 year olds all day?”

I think about it each of the 73 times a day I help Brynna with a task she can’t do on her own. I wonder “does she realize that I stopped what I was doing to make sure she got what she needed?”

I think about it at church when I see hundreds of people stream past staff members, few of whom really understand what it takes to welcome them each week.

I think about it at restaurants, the movies, the grocery store…I think about the man who cuts my grass and the precious woman who cleans my house. Do they end somedays wondering “do the people I served today have any idea what it cost me?”

I never want to be one of the nine. I don’t want to raise a child who’s one of the nine. I never want to go on with life as usual, overlooking the blessing that I have only because someone sacrificed something of their own. I want to turn every chance I get, and like the one man who came back, throw myself at Jesus’s feet, praising and thanking him.

The past year has been a lesson in restoration. Our time in DC was difficult for many reasons, but our marriage suffered the most. Friends prayed; our therapist counseled. We are better because they gave of themselves, and I am so grateful.

Moving was a necessary part of that restoration. My mother-in-law spent 18+ hours in a car and one night in a shady hotel we still talk about. My parents spent 2 weeks away from their own making sure our new house was a place we can call home. They gave of themselves, and I am so grateful.

Two months ago my family was in need. My niece faced 2 life-threatening surgeries; we felt scared, hopeful and helpless all at once. People stopped their lives to pray with us. People Zoe may never meet fasted on our behalf. She is spending a week with her grandparents; she went to the beach. She can ride a bike, bend and stretch in ways that are nothing short of miraculous, and I am so grateful. Forever. Overwhelmingly grateful.

I am a broken, imperfect person who tries really hard but often messes up. I am “good” but can’t ever be good enough to get to Heaven on my own. God loves me anyway. He stepped in front of the bullet meant for me. He took the consequences so even though I’m not good enough on my own, I am with Him, and I am so grateful. Overwhelmingly, eternally grateful.

I never want to be one of the nine. I never want to go on with life as usual and overlook what it cost to get me here. I want to turn back often.

Turn back and say thank you.

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