This past week was Valentines Day, and since I have never been a “mushy” person- I use to boycott the holiday.  Then God gave me a like-minded husband :)  and not too long after started multiplying our family like prairie dogs! Every time a “big event”occurred (like adoption court days or bringing home another baby)  it seemed to hover right around Valentines Day.  We wanted to thank the multitudes of people that had been instrumental in the expansion of our family, but we were stuck on just how to do it.  And quite frankly- that was just WAY TOO MANY thank you notes!!!  So we decided to transform the holiday into something that “fit” our personalities better. Thus was birthed the tradition of the Martin’s celebrating “Thankful Heart Day”.  It’s a little like blending thanksgiving and valentines day together.  A day to share your gratitude towards God and others.

This year I sat in my comfy chair and pondered.  It was quiet, in the wee hours of the morning, and I had time to think and pray.  I mulled over in my brain, “am I really I mean REALLY thankful?”  I wanted to be honest with myself and God.  As a mulled, I came to the eye opening conclusion that thankfulness is not just an emotion it is an expression of my spirit.

You see- if it were just an emotional state I would have to like or enjoy my circumstance in order to truly be thankful.  But it is NOT.  Sure emotions play a part, but it is so much deeper than that. 

So I pondered some more and prayed deeply to God about the things in our family that have happened- not just recently- but over the years—hard things- challenging things- bitter/sweet things of God’s divine providence that were many times beyond my understanding as a human. Again I asked myself, “Am I REALLY thankful?”

YES. I am thankful. Looking back at the way God has worked in our lives in the past, in the lives of others, helps me see the current circumstance more clearly.  God has ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS chosen the best for our lives. Sometimes at the moment it is hard to see, but our temporarily clouded vision doesn’t change the Truth of God. He works ALL things for His Glory and our benefit. I KNOW this in my mind even when my emotions are sad. I cannot allow my emotions to choose my gratitude—it is my spirit that must choose.  My spirit that has come to know the Sovereign Creator of the Universe, My God, My Lord, My life, and My Redeemer.  And I say with all my spirit, as Job did thousands of year ago, “I know that my Redeemer lives!”  He is alive and at work in our lives minute by minute whether we choose to see it or not.

So again, yes, I answer to God, yes I am thankful that Jocelyn died.  Tears roll down my face to even say it out loud to you God, but just because I am emotionally sad does NOT change the fact that I have deep and honest gratitude for the way you work in my life.  We continue to see over and over again how you, God, are glorified thru this sad event. How You, God, are using her death to bring other people life and hope when they have been living for years in sorrow, or bitterness, or withdrawal from Your love God.  Yes, I am grateful that you are building our family stronger in faith and trust in You, God. Yes, I am grateful that my children are gaining an understanding of Your sovereignty that far exceeds their age. 

Yes, I am grateful that I have been chosen by the Creator of the Universe to be the proud Momma of the littlest Missionary on earth!  We prayed for 9 months that her life would bring God glory.  We prayed that daily as a family. And it has been answered!  At 5 lbs 3 oz,  Jocelyn Theresa Martin is the littlest missionary I know—launching for our entire family opportunity to share God’s truth everywhere we turn.  Yes, I am grateful that You, God, have made us bold within our soul.  That we fear not to share the Truth we know about you.  We don’t hold back for time is too precious and our days our numbered, You have taught us that God and I am grateful.

So I ask the question again. Can I celebrate Thankful Heart Day this year- truthfully and fully- can I? Well, there is no party or gobs of chocolate harts strewn about, but yes- most assuredly YES! I can honestly say I am thankful.  And with more thanks I say that I am thankful that I have come to a place that I can be thankful!!!! Thank you God for the way fill my days, I wouldn’t change one minute of it- not one.

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