Last month I received a phone call from my brother. It was one of those phone calls that you never really expect: his youngest daughter had died. She was 8 months old and we unfortunately never had the privilege of meeting her. I was shocked to say the least. I sat for several minutes and just cried with my brother over the phone.
After talking things over with Dave, we decided it would be best for me to fly back to the states for the funeral. It certainly wasn’t how I imagined going back for the first time since moving to Portugal - leaving Dave and the kids behind. The kids were full of all sorts of advice for me: “Don’t forget to eat at Culver’s!” “Buy me some candy bars!” and “Give grandpa and grandma hugs for me!” (I did remember to do all of those things :)
Looking back, I am thankful I was able to go even though it was difficult for me. I was an emotional mess. I didn’t have the right words to say as we tried to process what was going on in our lives. But I was there with my family and it truly was the best place to be.
I flew back to Portugal a week later and I was really struggling. I was angry, heartbroken and anxious. I tried to pray over and over but I felt like God was far away from me.
This past Sunday evening I needed to go the store for some groceries. It was late by the time I got home but I still took extra time outside getting my groceries from the car. There was such a wonderful calm as I looked up to the sky and I felt the need to pour my heart out to God right then and there. He began to bring some important truths to mind - mainly that I had forgotten to be grateful. It was such a simple thing, but I began to thank God for all of the wonderful things He has done for me. He had allowed me to make it to the states for the funeral, to return safely even in the midst of COVID-19, and he had kept Dave and the kids safe. I had chosen to focus only on the negative and forgotten how good God is to me.
I confessed my sin and made a commitment to God that I would choose to focus on His goodness even when I didn’t like my circumstances. I am grateful for His presence here with me and that He always does what is best!
“I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.”
- Psalm 9:1