Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks!

Rejoice always,
Pray continually,
Give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thesolonnians 5:16-18

It was a sunny and warm day in June 1985 that we tied the knot. The ceremony began at 7:00 P.M. as was customary in the 1980s.

Our Pastor performed the ceremony without a snag. He united us in holy matrimony before the face of God and man. We had said our vows and signed our marriage covenant, which we keep LORD helping.

The weather was perfect, and the setting was lovely. Family and friends supported us wholeheartedly.

There was that lovely honeymoon to St. Lucia, and then home to open our gifts.

Now what comes after a perfect Wedding Day and a breathtaking honeymoon? Well, reality, of course.

It took a few weeks, then even a few months before we settled in to the new pattern of living together 24/7. We were young, and in love, naïve, and full of hope and faith. That is a good way to start.

We held to the words of our wedding day which are written above. We rejoiced, we prayed, and we tried hard to give thanks in all the circumstances that arose.

Some days, as you will know, it is hard to rejoice, pray, and give thanks in the circumstances. We still remember the time we lost two babies to miscarriage before we had children. But we lifted our faces toward the sky and prayed, hoped, and rejoiced with others who had children. Not that we didn’t cry, sorrow, grieve our loss, and have a hard time giving thanks without God’s help. But that is what we did.

Looking back, we still remember the exact dates of the loss of our babies (October 15, 1986 and April 23,1987), but we can rejoice in God’s goodness towards us then and as the years went by.

Oh, we had other obstacles, sure. Four children were born in six years. This was never an obstacle. It is and remains our greatest blessing, next to God, who is always number one. The hurdle was learning to provide and care for four dependant littles and still keep my husband first in a balanced way. As a new mom, I learned to be stretched and challenged in ways I had never been before. My husband had his own challenges, leading the family, providing for us all, and doing work in our church.

We rejoiced, we prayed, we fought, and above all, we thanked God in all circumstances.

Then there was the time we changed churches. That was a big one. We learned to adjust and leaned in hard on God. As always, God worked all things together for good. We have much to be thankful for in the lessons we learned along the way. Surrendering to God’s plan and not our own stubborn wills is always best.

God led us to a new land, away from all that we knew when we moved to Niagara. I could relate to the story of Abram\Abraham. We had followed where God led, twice now. We did not know where we were going, but trusted God all the way between tears and heartfelt prayers. All worked together for the good, and it has.

We rejoiced in every situation as much as we could with God’s grace. We prayed. On our knees, we thanked God. Times of surgery, times of testing, and some days we remained distant. We had to work through some emotional baggage on both sides, but by God’s grace, He freed us from that as we allowed Him to break us, and remake us in His power.

Through it all, and over the years, we clung to our wedding text, which we had to learn to live out. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.

It has been 38 years and five months since we made our vows. We are thankful God showed us the way to lean on Him and continue to pray and live out the passage we chose for our wedding day. Has it been easy? Nothing worthwhile ever is.

It makes me wonder sometimes how much we had to learn! Yet, learning is good and God is even better. He helped us through and I can say by His grace alone we can live out the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 today.

So what have you been through?

I have only given you a surface glimpse here of our married life. That’s not even covering our childhoods.

Perhaps you have lost a loved one, encountered marriage problems, struggled financially or all of the above.

Maybe there is much more you have had to deal with? Perhaps you don’t even know where to begin?

God does.

He will bring you through, as He has us in His faithfulness. Not that you won’t struggle.

This Christian life is not exempt from suffering.

But the knowledge of having God on our side, walking with us, helping us, hearing our prayers and giving us the strength and grace and fortitude to live our life with Him as the champion over our problems that is the key.

So won’t you rejoice with me, pray with me, and give thanks with me in all circumstances to the God of our lives?

His promises are for us.

Yes, and Amen.





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