Welcome to “Grow”! These stories are from the hearts of regular, everyday women just like you in the GT Community. They are boldly sharing how God has grown them, met with them, strengthened them, and taught them solid truth as they have discovered anew that Jesus is our everyday Savior! Today’s story is shared from the heart of Shannon Vicker.
As 2017 comes to a close and I reflect back on the year, my walk with the Lord, and all He has taught me, I see distinct areas that God has grown me this year.
Just over 3 years ago I began on a journey of publically thanking God for something each and every day. My inspiration came through watching two dear friends make this choice.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
I had read these verses before, but never truly put them into practice in my life until 3 years ago. I slowly began a journey that God has used to grow and teach me through.
God has grown my thankful heart abundantly this year,
and that thankfulness has also been tested.
This journey has opened my eyes to ways that God is at work that I missed before.
It has shaped who I am and how I see the world.
I have learned that in the best of circumstances, and the worst, there is always something to be thankful for if I will simply open my eyes look.
Before this year I do not know that I truly understood “giving thanks in all circumstances”.
This year has definitely had moments of heartbreak, sorrow, and extremely difficult times. Through each of these moments I have chosen to look for ways to express thankfulness in all circumstances.
I have learned that thankfulness is seen in big moments.
Like when a little boy fighting cancer I have been praying for is finally released from the hospital and able to go home.
I have learned that thankfulness is seen in the small everyday moments
that sometimes seem mundane.
As I walk with Jesus and draw near to Him, I am able to see circumstances through His eyes not my fleshly eyes, and my thankful heart grows.
The idea of drawing near to Jesus is the other area of my life God has grown me in this year.
I have discovered thankfulness and nearness go hand in hand.
In the difficult moments of my year, I had the choice to make whether I would attempt to go it alone or draw near to Jesus.
It is easy to think that if I am reading my Bible,
praying, and spending time with Him,
I am drawing near to Him,
but that isn’t always true.
I have learned that drawing near to Jesus is so much bigger!
Drawing near to Jesus is a choice I make in both good times and bad.
Drawing near to Jesus is pursuing deeper intimacy with Him regardless of what my current life circumstances look like.
Yes, it is reading my Bible and praying,
but it is also sitting in silence and letting Him speak to my heart.
It is storing His words in my heart,
so when the devastating and heart-breaking happens,
the Holy Spirit can stir up truth in my heart.
There are times where I delve deep into the Word of God and savor each word.
There are other times where I stare at the pages,
but the words blur together,
concentration is in short supply,
and tears form in my eyes.
I have learned there is nearness to God found in both.
One major event in my life this year that illustrates this came on October 1.
I am from Las Vegas and I have family and dear friends who are first responders there. The events that unfolded on October 1st and the days following, and how I chose to respond,
are a perfect example of how God has grown me this year.
Those days were mixed with tears, sadness, pride for a city I call home, confusion, thankfulness, and so much more. As I walked through those days, I drew near to God in silent, quiet moments where I didn’t know what to say or to do other than sit in silence with Him and let the Holy Spirit minister to my hurting soul. It was in those moments that God stirred up a simple Scripture in my heart and guided me to look at what came next.
Two simple, yet impactful words. In this verse, Jesus is weeping because His friend, Lazarus, is dead. Then the Holy Spirit whispered to my soul “what happens next”.
I went back to that passage in Scripture and was reminded that immediately following His tears, Jesus went back to the work His Father had called Him to.
In those moments where I chose to draw near to Jesus,
He worked in me reminding me I have a role to play;
a role that happens as I draw near to Him and grow in Him.
I saw God’s hand and activity all over the city I call home,
and there was a great deal to be thankful for.
As I look back at 2017, I see many other situations where God has drawn me near to Him and poured into my soul as I have chosen to draw near Him and,
out of that nearness,
thankfulness and gratitude abundantly overflow!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!