February is Black History Month. Therefore, this past weekend I chose to listen to a podcast, which highlighted the life of Harriet Tubman. Every time I read or listen to her remarkable story, I come away amazed by what I have additionally learned. Despite the challenges she faced while living in a life of slavery, her devotion and love for God was like no other.
After I listened, I continued along with my tasks for the day, which almost always seem endless. But as I shared with my daughter on a quick call on Saturday, what brings me contentment are the things I strive for. My chores and tasks certainly do, specifically in the vein that it is only I and God who leads me to completion.
The month of February is also recognized as American Heart Month, the month my sister’s birthday is celebrated (Yay!)-the time when we become the same age, until my birthday, a month later-, and the month in which Valentine’s Day is acclaimed. With these events in mind, I thought well to express the significance of loving God with this beautiful hymn written many years ago. The hymn is called Thanks to God for my Redeemer.
Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a mem’ry,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!
Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!
Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav’nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!
-August Ludvig Storm (1891)
Some of you may know this hymn. Yet, it is a beautiful reminder of the importance of noticing God’s wonders in our everyday lives. Wonders come in His many people. It comes in cultures, belief systems, food, prayer, worship, togetherness, otherness, chores, quiet moments, and so much more. Wonder also appear in people I consider my opponents. Knowing God at His fundamental self, encourages the processes of love for myself and prime self-care…be them mental or physical. When these courses are applied, I am better able to view those who see me as a threat, the ones who judge me based on my speech, those alarmed by my intelligence, those who say my skin is too light or those who see my skin as too dark. Those who just oppose.
My ability to love this group comes from the gentleness in my heart because I know the captor who desires to control these souls. The captor I am equally aware of, who will gleefully take my soul too, if I am not careful. Yet, God is love. He is gentleness, He is care, He is compassion, He is empathy, He is peace, He is Joy, He is abundance, He is tranquility, He is grace, and He is hope. God is all things good, and this never changes.
The Apostle Paul wrote: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.”
1 Corinthians 12:4
As I stroll into this month of February, I remain thankful, I uphold grace. I welcome the representations of God’s gifts he consistently distributes in my own life and the forthcoming opportunities to share them. I most certainly know His love. I pray for peace for all nations, for equity of all kinds. To continue to see that of God in everyone, as elements His love, binds. And, I pray that all relationships continue to grow to the greatest extent of transparency, through all and every moment of eternity…