IMG_0206Overflowing with Thanksgiving by Colonel Dorothy Smith

I committed my life to the Christ when I was just a little girl at age 6. I did not know all that would mean then – but with the faith of a small child, I gave Jesus my heart.

As I grew in height, leaders in my corps helped me and other teens to grow in the faith – as the Bible became the alive to us. Our leaders – college students themselves – nurtured us and showed us how to apply the Word to our lives. They showed us how to pray, how to witness, and how to have fun. Their lives were rooted in Jesus Christ and they shared their lives with us. With each decision I made, my roots reached deeper in Him, and he strengthened me to live in him. He showed me how much I needed other Christians around me to help me stand faithfully. And he gave me my husband who is my best example of holiness I know.

Then one day I was hit by a storm.  An event so overwhelming that my roots felt like they had been yanked out of the ground, the tree toppled and limbs crushed. On August  2, 1981 I had a stillborn baby. A daughter who lived inside me but never breathed the oxygen of our world. Whose absence left me empty, a guilt-ridden failure at the most basic function of a woman and mother – to protect the life I was given.  Each day I couldn’t wait until darkness and sleep so that I could forget for a few hours.  And I wondered if I would ever be happy and whole again.

Healing  first came through the care of family and friends; a grief group held at the hospital monthly; a change of life situation; my sweet three year old, Shannon, who kept me grounded and never let me forget that I was still a mommy. Slowly, I understood how deep the roots were and how strong God is when I hold onto faith in Him through the storms of life. Those storms do not come often – or maybe they aren’t   overwhelming anymore – because I know that God is strong and he is with me in the storm.

And for that and everything else about Him I am overflowing with thankfulness today.

Remember Paul’s words. They are for me and for you too.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord,  continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught,  and overflowing with thankfulness.”    Colossians 2:6-7.