Welcome to Day 9 of the Thankful Hearts giveaway! Just as a reminder – You can keep up with all the posts in the giveaway series by clicking on the Thankful Hearts giveaway graphic in the sidebar. More chances to win each day!
Today, I have the privilege of bringing you Joanne Bischof’s thoughts on thankfulness and brokenness.
These days, thankfulness holds a meaning I might have missed had life been easier or more perfect. Instead, it’s in the messy, broken places of life, that I am discovering a deeper meaning of this word.
True gratitude is in holding out our hands in thanksgiving, even when they feel empty. Because when it comes to the empty…it’s all perspective.
It could be something very “every day.” Thanking the Lord for a car to drive and healthy kids in the back seat when we’re late to sports practice and the phone bill got lost.
Or it could be in the extraordinary. Like Corrie ten Boom thanking God for the fleas in those barracks of a concentration camp in Germany. The fleas that kept soldiers at bay so these poor, tortured women could have a moment of peace, even if it meant living among vermin.
Why, oh why, do we so often set the prerequisite so high? Waiting to give thanks, if God would just…
Thanksgiving, in its most humble form, is an incredibly vulnerable place to be. Because it doesn’t mean extending thanks for the things that make us most happy in this life. It means extending trust that in the trials, good will come. It’s a trust that brings an astounding joy. And it’s right there that the first breaking through of happiness occurs.
Thanksgiving is raising hands in brokenness. It’s tear-stained cheeks finding a smile because God is good. It’s a faith that breaks through the bonds of this world and of the enemy. One that says, “but even amid this trial, You oh, Lord, are good.”
But perhaps, easy to say for the girl who has a new book out. The circus one that just made a big splash. Oh, the thanks I have to give. Yet, walk deeper with me, my friends and behind the smile you often see is a broken heart so raw and fragmented that if I were to bundle the reasons up, place them in a box, and place that wrapped box up for grabs, people would beg me to take it away. I know I am not alone in this. Countless others are experiencing brokenness of the most acute kind.
I say that only to paint a picture for you…of how much I understand. That I give thanks because without it, even breathing would seem impossible. And it is there in the shadows and there in the rain, that there is something to give thanks for. I thank our God for the times that He reminds me of this and for the times that His grace pours down, wraps around, and floods hope into even the darkest of nights.
And just as words of thanksgiving have been lifted up all over this world, I swipe tears and whisper my thanks.
I believe that giving thanks is the very receiving of grace. That in those moments, we lock eyes with God and He knows that we are beginning to know. That his sacrifice was great. That it is why we lift up our gratitude. Because we get to peer upon the One who gave all. To be heard by him. To be loved by him. And that will always be a reason to give thanks.
Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 9-10)
One of the books included in the Thankful Hearts giveaway is Joanne’s latest novel, The Lady and the Lionheart.
Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.
As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.
A Carol Award and two-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children.
Comment on this post by answering the question below and then head over to the kickoff page to claim the new entry for today!
Question for giveaway entry: How has God been good even in your brokenness?
Tomorrow we’ll hear from Jennifer Rodewald – plus another chance to win!