Home Away from Hope: Learning to Give Thanks

“Eucharist (thanksgiving) is the state of the perfect man. Eucharist is the life of paradise. Eucharist is the only full and real response of man to God’s creations, redemption, and gift of heaven.” -Alexander Scheming

It seems unreal that it’s been just over three months since I packed up my Northeast Minneapolis home, loaded my car with my essential items for living (read: every single pair of shoes I own), and wished Minneapolis a temporary good-bye. I left Minneapolis knowing I would return one day soon, but my heart was heavy nonetheless. I was moving to Philadelphia to begin an eight-month position working for a university in the northern suburbs recruiting for study abroad programs and learning about the field of education abroad. I was happy and sad. I was excited and terrified. I felt joy and sorrow. I feel like I’ve been living life in juxtaposition since July, but through that God has been teaching me incredible amounts about who He is, whom He created me to be, and the purpose behind this move.

I’d be lying to you if I said this move has been easy. I’d be lying to you if I said this move was exactly what I wanted. I even prayed to the Lord after my interviews to not allow a job offer to happen if it wasn’t exactly where I was suppose to be in this season. Well, imagine my shock, excitement, and horror when my now boss called me to offer me the position. I spent many days talking with friends and family processing through the offer, and spent seemingly countless nights lying awake trying to figure out what I had gotten myself into. In the end, I did accept the position (obviously—I kinda spoiled that at the beginning) and I did move out to Philadelphia and God is graciously teaching me about lots of things, especially thankfulness.

I’m in the process of reading 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I started this book while I was on a plane, after a long week of lots of travel for my job. I was feeling tired, cranky, not excited to be flying back to Philadelphia…just very unthankful. Her words smacked me directly between my eyes.

“The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live…He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything.”

“The only real fall of man is his noneucharistic life in a noneucharistic world.”

“…the only way to be a woman of prayer is to be a woman of thanks.”

These words brought me out of my broken, selfish, unthankful self to a place where I could see my sin and the ugliness of living life in a noneucharistic way.

With the traveling nature of my job and living in a brand new place, I have the temptation to close up, have the mindset to just “get the job done,” then come back to Minneapolis where I can begin to live again. Friends, let me tell you, this is not how God lets us function. Jesus is good to us for not letting us hole up in ourselves for too long. He is good to us for letting us read words that will speak directly to our core. He is good to us for showing us that there are things to be thankful for in this life.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

So what does this mean for the rest of my time in Philadelphia? It means that I get to have God continue to redeem me into a more whole Kari. This means that I get to fight through the times I would much rather live a noneucharistic life in a noneucharistic world because it seems easier. This also means that I get to scream EUCHARISTEO! to the ends of the earth and worship our Lord, our Lord who gives us the good days, shows us through the hard days, and loves us unconditionally.

Check out http://www.womenathope.com for more stories from Jesus-loving, God-fearing women.

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