“The grateful heart that springs forth in joy is not acquired in a moment. It is the fruit of a thousand choices.” (Nancy L. DeMoss)
I woke up early this morning to the very shocking and sad news that a close high school friend, Mark Jones, went to be with His Savior. He was one of the best people I have ever known. Kind, gracious, loving, wise, and more. His velvety voice ministered to me (and many others) as he shared it on Facebook each Sunday morning. I am so sad. It’s only been two weeks since we talked on Facebook messenger and I told him I was praying for him.
My first thought is that I am not going to post this today. I just sit in bed and cry. For a while. In the moments that pass, I recall what Ann Voskamp calls “the hard thanks,” giving thanks when you don’t want to, when it’s difficult, offering sacrificial thanks. It almost seems inappropriate. But deep in my spirit, I hear a voice that reminds me that it is right and good and healing. Ann says, “Lean into the ugly and whisper thanks to transfigure it into beauty.” Mark was a gift to me. My life would not have been as good without him. Thanksgiving truly wells up in my soul as I think of him. His mantra was “God is good all the time. All the time God is good.” He was beautiful.
So dive deep and continue with me on this never-ending journey of giving words to the gifts that have been strewn to us by a generous hand and loving heart, treasures from a God who longs to speak His presence into our very souls (and today, they seem way out-of-place because I wrote this yesterday, but still I give thanks).
- BurgerQue Enjoyed a mouth-watering burger on a salad (no bun because, of course, I am skipping the carbs on an endless venture to lose five pounds…don’t worry, I ate a brownie for dinner on Sunday and gained it right back). Best part was sharing this meal with good friends.
- Rachel’s piano and voice recital (she’s only been playing for one year, but she killed it…check it out here) #proudmama #samsmithlaymedown
- A husband who is loved by and loves his children. (huge shout out to Allen Goetz) “My father didn’t tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it.” (Clarence B. Kelland)
- Our power-washer (with the help of Jared) that made our deck sparkly-clean.
- Getting the last child graduated from high school. WHEW! (snarky aside: we did not need seven speeches from people who hope that what they say in their three minutes of fame will change a life forever…wow, that didn’t sound thankful) #gowatchunghillswarriors
- This morning’s rain storm and the happy dance I am doing because I don’t have to water all the hanging plants and deck planters. Yippee!
- A text from a good friend reminding me of her love and thankfulness for me. All just became well in my soul!
I would love to be drawn me into your world and the treasures you have been given. Please comment below. We will share the easy and the hard thanks together. One thing does not cancel out the other. They just sit there next to each other. I am off to cry some more.
9 thoughts on “TT (Season #01, Episode #02)”
When I heard about Mark this morning, I was very sad. Then I read your blog!! He was truly a man of God and he will be missed by many!!
It’s strange how life can be both happy and sad, good and bad, up and down, all in the same moment. God is good all the time. All the time God is good. Thanks Jeri!
Oh Esther, I am so sorry for the loss of this beautiful man, for the loss of your long time friend from such an intimately connected community.
I do remember his rich voice and joyous spirit from Thanksgiving services at MB.
I am glad you went ahead and posted this, it was generous and brave . . . it is such an authentic example of navigating through the beauty, pain and wonder of real life, right now. with much love to you my friend ❤️.
Thank you Annie… joy and sorrow walk side-by-side.
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Easy thanks? JoAnn, a God who loves me, a job I love, great family, faithful and true friends… Hard thanks? The seemingly senseless and incomprehensible death of one of the purest-hearted men I ever had the privilege of knowing and working with.
Thanks Glenn! Easy and hard side-by-side. Much of life. It’s easy for me to be thankful for you and JoAnn!
Leaning into the ugly ….. what a concept ! I am still crying and sad over the sudden loss of such a sweet man. Finding the beauty in knowing that all the days he had were written down before any even came to be. He was not snatched away even though his death was so sudden and painfully hard. A loving God called him home …. that gives me comfort knowing this God whom I love and trust had this day appointed from the beginning of time. Nothing separates us from the love of God….. not even death. Now we are left to grieve and lean into the pain but His love is under it all. Even under the ugly……
Beautiful Jo! Nothing separates us!