A few days ago I was chatting with a dear friend (Cathy) who has suffered the loss of several loved ones in the past 2 years. The most recent being her sister who, after a lengthy battle lost her fight with cancer. Cathy knows all too well the different emotions that I am going through since my mom having been diagnosed with lung cancer over the holidays. I mentioned to Cathy that I want my faith to remain strong regardless of what the outcome is. I want to trust God no matter what and not lose sight of knowing there is a bigger story at hand. I want to cast all my worries to Him and focus on all that is still good and not turn my back on Him just because my story feels less sunny and more cloudy right now.

Cathy asked if I head read the book, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. Though, I own the book, I’d never read past the first few pages. (It’s a bad habit I’ve picked up..somehow I end up reading several books at once; which means I don’t REALLY read any of them well and/or often don’t finish them at all). At any rate, Cathy suggested I read it; so I pulled it off my bookshelf and began it once more. I am grateful to say that it is already speaking to me.  Here is an excerpt that I have found to be utterly beautiful. It has provided me with a little more knowledge, which has equated to a more positive transformation of my mind as well as a greater awareness of how the light of all that is good can makes its way through the darkness if I allow it. (And there is ALWAYS good to be found). From the book:

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them…” (Luke 22:19 NIV)……

In the original language, “he gave thanks” reads “eucharisteo.”….The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning “grace.” Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks.  He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks.

But there is more, and I read it. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning “joy.” Joy………Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the euCHARisteo —the table of thanksgiving.  I sit there long..wondering…is it that simple?

Is the height of my chara joy dependent on the depths of my eucharisteo thanks?

So then as long as thanks is possible….I think this through.  As long as thanks is possible,then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible.  Whenever, meaning—now; wherever, meaning—here. The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience.  The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be–unbelievably–possible! The only place we need see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now…..

Charis. Grace      Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving     Chara. Joy

A triplet of stars, a constellation in the black.

A threefold cord that might hold life? Offer a way up into the fullest life?

Grace, thanksgiving, joy. Eucharisteo.

A Greek word…that might make meaning of everything?

After reading the words above, it felt as though the layers of film had been removed from my eyes. Despite the circumstances surrounding my mom’s health, I am able to see more clearly all that there is be thankful for and to have joy. I have been awakened from a slumber that I didn’t even know I was in.

Our God is good. He is gracious; and true joy is found when we honor Him with thanksgiving and praise.

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