In March, of 2013, our family was at Chuck E. Cheese celebrating my niece’s seventh birthday. Over the years, I have come to realize that there are three groups of people who go to this establishment: In the first group, there’s the kids (and some adults) who tirelessly run around, enthusiastically playing all of the games, wining tickets for prizes, eating lots of pizza, and generally having the time of their lives. In the second group, you have the parents and caregivers; chasing their kids around, replenishing their token cups, purchasing food, wiping away tears, talking their children out of selecting the caffeinated soda, and attempting to get five minutes of uninterrupted adult conversation before being summoned to replenish the token cup once again.
As I sit here, sipping my coffee, on this early, crisp, and Fall-ish morning, I can’t help but be grateful. You see, there was a time – not too long ago – that I couldn’t get out of bed without a fight. Mornings were spent replaying the last eighteen years of a life that is no longer mine. Very rarely did the mornings come without a wish that they hadn’t come at all.
When did my pillow stop being soaked from my tears? When did I stop sleeping past the sunrise?When did I stop having to take a sleep-aid? When did I stop having night terrors, and when did the replay in my mind stop reeling? The truth is – I’m not exactly sure. But, this morning I’m thanking God for it. The God that I sometimes feel distant from – the God that I often wonder silently, ‘where are you?’ Then I ponder this – could it be that He’s been here all along? That He’s never left me – not even for a minuscule moment?
You may be thinking, ‘Shannon, you know what the Word of God says. You know He is never ever going to leave you. You’ve said yourself that He is with you in this darkness.’ And, you’re right; about all of it. But, sometimes I forget to remember. Sometimes I struggle to know that He is near to my broken heart. Sometimes, I feel lonely and afraid; like I’m hanging on by a thread. And, sometimes… I even doubt God.
But, this morning, I’m thankful. Thankful that God’s faithfulness doesn’t depend on me; thankful that He doesn’t love me the way I love Him; and thankful that He is constant – even in in my wandering. And, I am oh so thankful that, although I don’t feel Him in each moment, I can look back and know that He has carried me; that He never grows weary or tired of me. For, I am His and He is mine. Forever.