she names herself thankful

She takes great delight in the beauty of creation, in the small, miracle gifts that show up in the everyday crazy. For those of us who know her story, it would be understandable if she weren’t able to appreciate the beauty of these small, simple gifts. She was hurt many years ago, hurt in the way that causes many women to rename themselves bitter, to hold on to anger and rejection and wear it like a cloak.

She chose a better way. She chose a life of beauty, of thanksgiving, of trust. She has lived that better way for many years alone. And so on Saturday, when it seemed God reached his long arm into the future and picked up the sweetest summer day, dropping it down right on top of us, no one at the wedding was surprised. On that borrowed day, we celebrated the kind of redemption that can only come from his hand, the kind that is made out of ashes and broken pieces. And we all accepted the fact that he had brought this impossibly beautiful weather just for her.

She didn’t know there would be a forever love in her future. But she trusted anyway. She lived beautifully anyway. All those many years ago when her heart was broken up, the Lord knew this day was yet to come. He knew, and he took her by the hand, even then, and led her forward. There in the past, he was here in the future, and he knew. And this weekend, we joined him in the place he already has been, and we celebrated together.
It may feel comfortable to drown in the sorrow, to rename yourself bitter, to decide that your life is already decided. But what if the future isn’t so gloomy? What if there are plans we know nothing about? Even better, what if we believed that we don’t have to wait for joy and goodness and love to show up later? What if we believed they were available to us right now?


  1. says

    love it. so happy for her and here’s to trusting. “Trust” was my word for the year. After all we’ve endured the past two years, I felt a tug….I was trying to control way too much myself. And, what is the number one thing God has? patience. If He doesn’t answer our prayers quick enough, we try to take matters into our own hands….which usually results in more pain.

  2. says

    What a BEAUTIFUL reminder! No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind can comprehend what God has planned for those who love him. I will hold this promise in my heart today.

  3. says

    Just introduced to your blog. This is a timely post. Conversation with a friend yesterday on “letting go”. The Lord dealt with me recently on issue of anger and pride. I did not want to become bitter. I was sharing these things and we were discussing how to help a mutual friend who is in turmoil over rebellious daughter. It is a choice, an act of the will to trust. It is about control, as the previous commenter said. Thank you for this post.

  4. says

    “We join him in the place he has already been…” How I long to remember He goes before me, He knows how the story will end and He walks with me until that time. When I do that perhaps it will be easier to name myself thankful. Beautiful reminder with lovely photos – as usual.

  5. says

    This is beautiful. Just…beautiful! And even without including details, these words that you’ve recorded speak of a powerful testimony. Choosing joy now.

  6. says

    Such a wonderfully painted story, dripping with the sweetness of our Savior. Thank you for the reminder of His presence and faithfulness. :)

  7. says

    Your last sentence reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver. “If you suddenly and unexpectedly find joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it.” Thanks for the story of grace, of choosing joy. How completely beautiful!

  8. Cathryn says

    This is a beautiful post. Congratulations to your sister & your family. May God bless her marriage abundantly.

  9. says

    Oh, how often we rename ourselves according to an event in our lives. Man! What an over-the-top, thought provoking post, Emily!
    Of course I do not know the people in the photos, nor do I know her situation, but a reader doesn’t have to. The truth of your words witnesses with my spirit……and God teaches me from it.
    Great job and thanks for sharing!

  10. says

    she definitely chose to be thankful and joyful, even when we would have all supported her in her bitterness. she’s such a blessing to be around, and i’m so excited for this new chapter in her life. i saw more than any other wedding, how much a blessing weddings truly are.

  11. Sissy says

    To know her is to know a joy that comes from the Lord, to be sure. I have always thought so highly of your sweet SIL and was so thrilled to hear of this news. It gives me hope in my darkest places and her example of trusting is to be admired. I hope I grow up to be her one day! :)

  12. Destiny says

    I don’t know “her” and I don’t know her story, but I understand her redemption, her restoration, and so I cried and cried, for her — for me… This is a beautiful post and I believe the start of a beautiful happily ever after.

    Thank you for sharing. This is quite possibly my favorite post ever…

  13. says

    I’m 28 and sooooo very single. Sometimes it seems old to me and other times it still seems young. :) This was a great reminder for me that God has my path planned for me, even if the road seems dark.

    The book “Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye” by Carolyn McCulley changed the way I viewed my single life.

    Thank you for sharing this lady’s story. It’s great to hear about happy weddings.

  14. says

    I only heard something this morning that was talking about the root..or cause of bitterness being the refusal of us to forgive. He went on to say that as we are fully forgiven..completely, totally..then we don’t have the right to refuse another of forgiveness. Are we better than God that we can judge another …no matter what has been done to us..and refuse to forgive. Doesn’t Jesus, when asked, forgive anybody of anything? Yes, so forgive and trust Him for healing emotionally and in every way once we have forgiven. It is only our pride over being wronged that stops us from forgiving.

  15. Charlene from DoodleBirdsNest says

    I am new to your blog. I read this post yesterday morning and have sat quietly with your words since then. I read it again this morning and still—I just can’t come up with words to express the feelings that you have given me with your writings. I don’t believe in “accidents” because like you have said, I also believe in a God that knows even the things we don’t yet know about ourselves. Because of that, I also know that your blog has a purpose in my life and I’m super excited to find out what it is! I do need to learn so much….
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  16. says

    I want to choose the better way, too. This post spoke right into my heart, Emily. I hope that a happy ending lies ahead for me but I want to live beautifully even if certain dreams don’t come true.

  17. says

    Yes yes YES! I love this, because it makes all the difference in how we live our lives. I coach people on how to change their circumstances by discovering their strengths. When they do, they can rename things about them that they find frustrating, finding the hidden strengths in those things. It changes everything! I love that you shared this today.

  18. says

    Oh wow. This makes me happy. And gives me hope–when I remember that God’s timing is not our own and that He is able to do so much more than we imagine. It’s a story to be shared, thanks for sharing it.

  19. says

    that couple in the middle picture seems so happy:) this post really made my day happier 😀 now I can go to work smiling, even though it’s cloudy outside :(

  20. says

    Up for a midnight nursing and now crying over this beauty. He sees. He knows. He is already in our future. So beautiful and powerful. Thanks.Emily.

  21. says

    wow. every single solitary word i have read on this site so far has resonated with me on the deepest level, and i’ve only been here for about 20 minutes! but this, this made me catch my breath and hot tears sprang to my eyes. i’m actually having trouble seeing the screen…ahem…ok….so i’m using this as a reminder to Him….if you can do it for her you can do it for me! thank you for reminding me that He does like the big finish, the grand gesture, for us to GET that it was Him all along…and so i will stop with the impatience and whining (it’s been 2 years, and i’m ooolldd soon) and crying and such and once again place it in His hands, in His time. you can’t know what a blessing and a relief this is to me today. this week. thank you.
    all the best to you and yours,
    amy rehnae

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