I am beginning to find that I live my life in seasons. Spring in Minnesota has been a season of cold and fragile warmth, of steadily falling rain and jackets and boots.
Spring in my life has been a season of death - of my grandpa Jerry - of marriage - of my brother, Kevin, and my new sister-in-law, Bianca - of change, as I leave my job as teaching pastor of Easter Lutheran Church and move into a new season of steady book promotion.
We are in the season of Kindergarten, for Jacob; the season of 3 and a half, for Josh; the season of yard work and planting flowers and Mother's Day and 34 years old, for me; and eight years of marriage, for me and Ben.
No matter how many times I wander the harrowing road of Lent to the Cross, only to find that it is the ignominious death of Jesus on the Cross that leads to resurrection on Easter; I so easily forget that I worship a God who transforms rather than destroys; a God who reveals rather than directs; a God who whispers rather than shouts; a God who walks through the valley of the shadow of death with me, into a morning of new life that I never saw coming.
This God leads me from painful relationships to surprising and delightful new and old friendships. This God walks with my family through grief and uncertainty to the revelation of our unsurpassed love for one another.
So today, three days removed from my final sermon as a Pastor at Easter, I find myself dwelling in an unexpected place of thanksgiving and peace. Thus is the transformational power of Thanksgiving, in this cold and warm spring.
Today, I am thankful for:
1. My boys: Jacob, Ben and Josh - who are always overjoyed when I walk in the door.
2. My mom and dad: who support me just as much as an author as they did when I walked through the doors of Kindergarten
3. My publishing company, Fortress Press, and its dynamic marketing team who shares in my excitement for Red State Christians
4. My writer and artist friends, who can relate to this strange world of rejection, acceptance, lows and highs
5. The Circle of love at women's Bible Study on Wednesday mornings at Easter, and the news that they are planning to continue to meet all summer!
6. People whose stories remind me that nothing good comes without God's transformative power
7. All the people who read early versions of my book
8. Everyone who will be receiving an advance reader copy
9. Trader Joe's refrigerator pasta
10. White wine, because it's springtime - even if the temperatures don't match that!
A strange thing happens when you start listing what you're thankful for. All of a sudden, the bad doesn't seem so insurmountable. You realize that you are surrounded by love. Suddenly you can't stop writing. I had to stop myself at 10. I encourage you today, to make your own list.