how to thrive

Image of plants growing

Many years ago, before my husband Frank and I were married, we sought God’s wisdom and direction. There was an important decision that could change our lives. Frank commented that he thought he knew how long the Lord was going to take before He answered. He also said he was not going to share that info with me. Frank knew that I would just be waiting for the time to be up instead of seeking the Lord’s will and spiritually growing while in this difficult place of seeking.

i dig in and grit my teeth

It was like a gut-punch of truth. Frank understands that I like to know the plan, work the plan, and achieve the goal. I have a tremendous ability to dig in, grit teeth, and white-knuckle my way through challenges.

It’s been nearly three years since my adult son, Anthony, suddenly went to Heaven. Since that day, I have been exiled to the deepest, darkest portion of the Valley of Death’s Shadow. Initially, I had to talk myself through each breath, then each moment. Just do the next thing. Eventually, I’d mark that I had made it through another day, week, month, and year. One year closer to leaving the pain of this life behind and seeing Anthony again.

to not just survive, but thrive

As time has passed, I came to know that there’s no way to dig in, grit teeth, and white-knuckle my way through this sorrow and grief, waiting for the time to be up. I will carry this loss for the rest of my life. I pray for wisdom on how to keep moving forward but I’m not strong enough. So how do I do this when I know that God wants me to not just survive but thrive?

you will prosper

God, in His gentleness, reminded me of the exiles. The Jewish people were exiled to Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar and had been removed from their families and lives they had known. Living in this foreign land, everything was different from their previous lives in Israel. They mourned the loss of life as they had known it, longing for return to their true home. Yet in this place of captivity, the Lord told them through the prophet Jeremiah, “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:5-7)

how to live

This same passage declares God’s good plans for the people’s hope and future. He promises to bring the exiles back to their home one day. Until then, God commands the people to call on Him and pray. God guarantees to listen and be found. He will be with them, even in this place (Jeremiah 29:10-14). He tells them how to live: not to just survive, but to thrive.

i want to thrive

Like the Israelites, I no longer have the family and life I had before. I long for my true home: Heaven. Fully, I feel the grief and loss. Although I am not yet able to dance on the grave of my sorrows, I daily do my best to fully surrender to the Lord, call on Him, and pray for increase and prosperity in my new land. I don’t want to just survive. I want to thrive.

pray to learn to thrive

Where do you find yourself today? Why not follow Jeremiah’s instructions and continue to call on God and pray as you wait? Seek peace and prosperity in whatever place you find yourself, trusting with hope in God’s plan for your future. Endeavor to not just survive but thrive until the Lord’s promise to take us home is fulfilled.

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